Memphis Regional Primer: Motivated Lady Vols team to beat
Last year, Ball State bounced Tennessee in the first round. Last year,
But this isn't last year. The tough lessons Summitt taught seem to have sunk in. Her team is still young, but balanced, with five players averaging in double figures. And the Lady Vols may be peaking at the right time -- they lost once in non-conference play to Stanford and to Georgia in January.
Tennessee relies on the potent outside shooting of
This is the 20th time Tennessee has been a No. 1 seed. And after what happened last year, the Lady Vols may be more motivated than they've ever been. Which is a scary thought.
Texas is a quality team with an excellent coach coming out of the toughest women's conference in the land -- the Big 12 -- which is sending seven teams to the tournament. Oh, and they're playing in Austin at the Frank Erwin Center, known as "the Drum." Coach
Baylor is the region's No. 4 seed but the Bears come in with an awful lot of baggage. Not only is there the punch that made headlines around the nation -- one for which freshman
Unless you think Tennessee is ripe to be knocked off in the first round again -- and I wouldn't hold my breath over that one -- the best matchup is probably the battle to see who will play the Lady Vols. No. 8 Dayton takes on No. 9 TCU in Knoxville. Dayton is deep. TCU beat Big 12 champion Texas A&M earlier in the season.
If No. 2 seed Duke is going to do damage in this bracket, they're going to have to do it on the shoulders of
Do you even need to ask? Baylor freshman Brittney Griner has been under the microscope since she was in high school, as a 6-8 force who could dunk and intimidate in the paint. The fact that she punched an opponent in the face and broke her nose earlier this month hasn't exactly removed her from anyone's radar. The only way Griner can make the punch a secondary storyline is by playing well in the tournament, handling the scrutiny with grace and helping her team advance.
Those are the magic numbers for No. 15 seed Hampton.
Are you kidding? You think I would pick against the ice-blue stare of Pat Summitt? Not when her team has a home state path right to the airport gate departing for San Antonio. Even though the Memphis bracket is potentially the toughest of the four, Tennessee is still the team to beat. One off year is shocking enough for the Lady Vols.