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SEC WBB Championship: Tennessee vs. South Carolina

South Carolina goes for its first-ever SEC Tournament championship. Tennessee goes for their 17th.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports


Radio: so proud, you guys

Stats: ain't nothin' but numbers

When we last left Little Rock, Tennessee was toughing out an 11-point win over Kentucky while LSU hung tough with South Carolina until the Gamecocks turned on the burners, winning 74-54. At 3 PM, they play for the SEC Tournament championship.

South Carolina hasn't won a SEC Tournament championship ever, but this is also the best the South Carolina program has ever been. Dawn Staley has crafted a program across her tenure out of not much, and there's little sign of it slowing down. When we last left South Carolina, they beat Tennessee in Columbia, 71-66, locking down what we thought at the time was a SEC regular season title. Turns out they did, but thanks to some eleventh-hour help from Kentucky the Lady Vols managed to get a split title.

Tennessee has not beaten South Carolina this year. The Gamecocks are deep, talented, and strong. If Tennessee is to win today, it'll be thanks to willpower and--quite frankly--a little bit of luck. South Carolina is a deeper team than Tennessee at this point in the season and can handle the three-games-in-three-days routine better than Tennessee. Cierra Burdick, Ariel Massengale, Andraya Carter, and Bashaara Graves all broke 30 minutes yesterday, while only three South Carolina players--Aleighsa Welch, Alaina Coates, and Tiffany Mitchell--even broke 25 minutes.

The good news: Graves and Massengale didn't have great games yesterday, which means they're going to be motivated to correct it. The bad news: Mitchell, the SEC Player of the Year, also had a bad game, and A'Ja Wilson didn't do much more than that. This will be close, but South Carolina holds the cards.

Tennessee is 10-0 in SEC Championship Games as the 2 seed. I think that streak ends today. I'd love to be wrong.

PREDICTION: South Carolina, 73-61, after Tennessee runs out of gas late.

MATTINGLY ALERT: Gee, thanks Hooper:

So I think we’re clear of Enterline today, but that’s not the bigger news. The bigger news is that he reffed Ohio State’s games both Friday and Saturday, which means theNCAA doesn’t have a rule against refs working consecutive games for the same team (or it can at least have exemptions). Knowing this, there’s suddenly a nonzero chance of getting Mattingly again today. We have all been warned.

I have no idea about Kantner. She did the SEC tournament for Auburn/Florida, then Vandy/Kentucky. Then she did the ACC tournament for NCState/Louisville and Duke/Notre Dame. So she’ll likely do one of the two today, but I have no idea which.

Most likely case is that the SEC gets one of Kantner/Mattingly, and the ACC gets the other. Place your odds at the window.

MORE TIME FOR MOORE: 6 minutes, and I really wonder how she'll hang in this game. Same goes for Alexa Middleton, who Kentucky took advantage of when she was on the floor. It'll be the same thing, only worse this time around.

NCAA SEED UPDATE: A 1 seed is still in play. Tennessee doesn't really need the RPI boost from playing South Carolina, but if they win today, they're getting a 1 seed. A loss coupled with a Maryland win complicates things; Charlie Creme has Maryland as the last 1 seed right now, but I'm not sure how much stock I'd place in Tennessee's location in UConn's region unless the selection committee does some weird things with the S-curve. There's a chance, I suppose, if all of this happens:

- Tennessee loses huge today (think 30+ points)

- Florida State upsets Notre Dame in the ACC championship

- Baylor wins by something huge against whoever else they're playing

- the selection committee forgets Louisville lost to Florida State yesterday

More likely: they're in Maryland's region, locked out of South Carolina's region, and I don't see a way they end up as 7th or 8th overall on the S-curve. so no Notre Dame or Connecticut Then again, Creme's had Tennessee there two days running; the only reason I can come up with is Oregon State getting bounced by a 15-16 Colorado outfit in the Pac-12 tournament, but then again, Stanford just beat Arizona State. Your guess is as good as mine.