Consider this the thread for both the Lady Vols opener against Austin Peay as well as the general thread for all tournament games prior to the Tennessee men's game. We'll have a separate thread for the guys. For the early games, here's the MMOD widget again:
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Tip-off: 12:16 PM EST
The Lady Vols open the tournament in one of the most domestic games they've had. Playing on their home court as the 'home' team (thanks to their higher seed), they play another instate team from the west side of Nashville - the Austin Peay Lady Governors. There's really not much to say about the matchup itself; whenever a 1-seed plays a 16-seed with an overall losing record (15-17), it's a little disingenuous to not expect a blowout. And, like nearly every opponent Tennessee has faced, Austin Peay gives up a tremendous height and length advantage to the Lady Vols. Where Tennessee is built of mostly super-6 foot tall gals, The Lady Govs have only three: two 6'-1" sophomores and one 6'-3" true freshman. The starting lineups give 22 inches of height to Tennessee, and the Lady Governors' interior will give up 5 inches and 7 inches to Alyssia Brewer and Kelley Cain, respectively. For perspective on that kind of height disparity, the Lady Govs have a total of 93 blocks as a team; Kelley Cain has over 100 on her own.
If the physical mismatch weren't bad enough, this is the same Lady Vols team that got run out of the tournament in the first round last year - an experience that none of them wish to relive. They know very well that, even as a #1 facing a #16, there is no room in the tournament for mercy, and their performance over the last few weeks suggests that they are in no mood to give any.
Relax and enjoy. Appreciate what Austin Peay did to even get to the tournament; they overcame a very rough start to end with a solid conference mark and an OVC tournament championship. They're already well above preseason predictions and are on their way to being yet another Tennessee mid-major team that outperforms.
Shortly after this game is over, the TCU-Dayton matchup will take place. They play at the same time that the men face Ohio, but I'll try to provide some scouting information on Tennessee's (assumed) second opponent.