Because really, I haven't made enough Brittney Griner jokes on this site over the last four years, let's get in one more round of digs. Thanks, bracket-makers!
Okay, annoying personal slights aside, the good news is that after some concern, Tennessee wound up as the 2 seed in the Oklahoma City region. The full bracket can be found thisaway; some assorted highlights of other SEC teams:
- UGA picked up a 4(!) seed and LSU snagged a 6 seed, both in the Spokane regional. Should both teams advance from the first round, UGA plays Iowa State (who I frankly know nothing about) and LSU would play Penn State (who had slipped a bit, but were in contention for that last #2 seed). Interestingly, Gonzaga draws the home slot in UGA's subregion and LSU drew the home slot in theirs (long story short: instead of neutral sites for the first two rounds, the games are played on-campus of one of the teams in the four-team pod. Normally it's the top seed, but not always.) Of course, Stanford and Cal are the 1/2 seeds in this region, which makes no sense to me, but I digress.
- In Bridgeport (aka the UConn regional), Vanderbilt snagged an 8 seed and Kentucky got a 2 seed. Good get for Kentucky, but I don't see them clearing UConn. The Della Donna / UNC matchup in the second round for the right to play Kentucky looks especially dangerous; this is not an easy 2 seed by any stretch of the imagination once you get clear. Obviously, Vandy plays at Storrs, but oddly, Kentucky plays in Queens, making their entire tourney run strange.
- Lastly, in Norfolk, South Carolina pulls down a 4 seed and Texas A&M draws a 3. South Carolina plays at Boulder, but TAMU is one of the three SEC squads to get home games the first two rounds. (The other school is Tennessee, of course.) This is also the ND/Duke 1.5 #1 seeds region, so, well, good luck with that. South Carolina could frustrate ND, but this is a terrible matchup for Texas A&M.
As far as Tennessee goes, they're the only SEC school in their region. They'll open with Oral Roberts then - assuming they win, of course, because we don't want to do stupid things like jinx them horribly (I'll probably pick a 25-point win but I digress) - face the Syracuse / Creighton winner. The Knoxville pod (aka Tennessee's pod) will advance to face the winner of the Columbus pod, which is notable because oddly enough, Ohio State's in it. Alyssa Brewer and UCLA are, however - they're the three seed. That would be a pretty neat coda to Brewer's career, assuming both teams advance far enough. Your other threats here are 6-seed Oklahoma, 11-seed Central Michigan, and 14-seed Stetson (who I'm guessing are still the Hatters and not the Lady Hatters or Hatettes, because really that's just overkill).
And then, yeah, it's Baylor in the Elite Eight. ....yup. There's a whole other half of the bracket, but whatever. I'm just going to get depressed talking about this. Let's move on.
Given how this season's gone - especially compared to expectations - Elite Eight would be a wildly successful season for this retooling Lady Vols team. The question mark - as has been the case the last couple of months - will be the health of Isabelle Harrison. Harrison was last seen against Texas A&M (the first game, not the tournament game) and adds a dimension a still-thin Lady Vol squad lacks. Honestly, I don't think it'll matter against BRITTNEY GRINER, but her health would matter before then. Getting her back and healthy for a tournament run is the biggest challenge facing Holly Warlick, with the second biggest challenge - I'd guess - figuring out a way to ensure Meighan Simmons shoots 45% from the floor at worst in each game.