The Tennessee Lady Vols have gone from being the No. 1 team in the country to being in jeopardy of not receiving a No. 1 seed in the Women's NCAA Tournament, Coach Pat Summitt said.
Unlike some years when the Lady Vols (27-2) already felt confident about having a No. 1 seed in the national tournament before the SEC Tournament, this year there is still work to be done.
"I think we've put ourselves in position right now to secure a No. 1 seed, but if we lose out the first game then we put that in jeopardy,'' Summitt said. "If we're in that championship game, I think that we're still in good shape."
Getting to the final means beating the Florida-South Carolina winner and then likely facing No. 21 Vanderbilt.
"If we're fortunate enough to get by our first opponent, then you've got Vanderbilt as a potential opponent,'' Summitt said. "That would be the third time to play Vanderbilt this season. I guess the one thing looking at the bracket that I didn't want to do was have to play someone for a third time. That's a challenge."
Tennessee beat Vanderbilt on Jan. 20 in Knoxville 79-63, and Feb. 17 in Nashville 81-68.
Late season slide
Beating Vanderbilt the second time was a big win for Tennessee, but the Lady Vols didn't exactly end the season with a bang. That's why Summitt is unsure about her team's standing in terms of a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
After recapturing its No. 1 ranking Feb. 11, Tennessee had to rely on an apparent clock malfunction to beat Rutgers 59-58 that night. Three days later, UT allowed a 19-point first half lead to slip away and lost at home to LSU 78-62.
Tennessee also trailed at halftime in Sunday's final regular season game against Georgia before winning 72-63.
"I'll be interested just to see how important the (SEC) tournament is to our team,'' Summitt said. "Obviously, with the loss to LSU, I would think there would be some motivation to try and win two games to get to the championship game."