The undercard: Tennessee men vs. Presbyterian, 7 PM EST
Look, I'd be lying if I could tell you anything about Presbyterian. They're bad. Like, go to the Pomeroy ratings, hit "end", and boom they're there bad. I'm not a subscriber, so I can't show you graphs that tell you how bad they are, but I can tell you they're 344th in Pomeroy's ratings and Tennessee ...isn't. They're not even close. And the game's at home. So ...well, there's an open thread down below for this, but if this isn't an unholy beatdown (jokes!), I don't know what to tell you.
The main event: Tennessee women at Baylor, 8 PM EST
Here we go again. This Baylor team is mortal, at least in theory, since we can point to a loss they had against Stanford (wait, the Ladies play Stanford after this?) as evidence that they can be beaten. Now, can this Tennessee team beat them? Well, that I'm not so sure of.
Make no mistake; this is the same team that lost to Chattanooga only because I'm pretty sure they didn't get possessed by aliens. (Well, Meighan Simmons might've been possessed against UNC, but I digress.) The Lady Vols have done a great job since then, coming off consecutive wins over ranked opponents, most recently a Sunday win at Texas to the tune of 94-75, putting them at 4-0 for the year against ranked opponents.
They've also played nobody ranked higher than 18th in either poll. Baylor's ranked 3rd. There's a bit of a gap between the teams they've played and this Baylor team. Oh, did I mention Baylor's returning all their starters from a team that's gone 48-1 in their last 49? Yeah. This might be an upset if the Ladies somehow pull it out.
Honestly, I don't see it. Baylor may not be that deep, but they don't have to be. They have Brittney Griner, who averages what I'm guessing is 145 points, 298 rebounds, and 312 blocks (bump that to 175 points if she's getting every call, which is pretty frequent at it turns out) per game. Odyessy Sims is a fairly excellent player, but she's overshadowed by the tall Griner (jokes!) who can dunk (jokes?) and you might hear about that about 450 times during the game as well.
Some of Baylor's rotation numbers are weird, but the general idea is that Griner and Sims play. A lot. So does Jordan Madden (no relation, I think), Destiny Williams and Brooklyn Pope manage the rest of the interior (they're bored a lot, because Griner guards inside the 3-point line), I seem to remember Kimetria Hayden going off for like 30 the last time these two played, and Niya Johnson (must improve: everything?) is getting a ton of minutes, so good for her.
As far as how to beat them? The answer might look like "hope Griner spends the entire game in foul trouble, Sims gets lost on her way to the stadium, and Simmons somehow goes off for 35+". I keep thinking quick ball rotation to open shooters should work - Griner isn't the most mobile, contain your shock - but I haven't seen that happen yet. The one thing in Tennessee's favor, such as it is, is this is the first time Holly Warlick's gotten a free crack at this particular Baylor squad. ...good luck.
Beyond that? Well, Isabelle Harrison (who will play, at least from what I can tell) has to have the game of her life, Bashaara Graves needs to do the same, Massengale needs to do a good job denying Sims the ability to have entry passes, and there needs to be a bit of bad shooting among the non-Griner players. So ...well, I'd love a win. But I wouldn't expect one is what I'm getting at.
So yeah. Basketball and lots of it. Woo.