SEC Tournament Semi-Final
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
There are steps you have to go through to build a winning and successful program in SEC Women's Basketball. First, you have to commit to doing that very thing. Enter Mitch Barnhart. He was determined to make more than just UK Men's Basketball successful at Kentucky. He hired Mickie DeMoss, a Pat Summitt disciple, thinking she was the building block he needed. She made headway, showed that UK could win in the SEC, but then ultimately gave way to Matthew Mitchell, who may turn out to be the hire of the century in Women's Basketball.
The rest of the steps after the jump.
Mitchell is a different kind of Coach here at UK. First off, he is fearless. He will take on anything, and he will do it with style and fun , and a work ethic that is second to none. He has turned UK into a fast paced, pressing style of team, much like the Wildcats under former Coach Rick Pitino. The press allows you to overcome your shortcomings as a team, and Mitchell knew that he needed time to get the very best of the best coming to Kentucky, so he put a fan-friendly and opponent-frustrating defense in place that is now referred to as "Forty Minutes of Dread". Add to that, shooters who can nail threes when the opportunity arises, some big time talent in the middle and a player that refuses to lose, and you get a formula for success.
And just what should have happened to UK happened. They started winning. And winning, and winning, and winning. Two of his first three seasons UK has been undefeated at home. now in his third year he has his first Regular Season SEC Championship in hand, he has the Freshman of the Year in the SEC, the Player of the Year in the SEC, and this team is playing like a winner. This year gave UK it's first #1 Seed in the SEC Tourney, and that brings us to the next step. Last year UK got all the way to the SEC Tourney Final only to fall to their Arch-Nemesis and SEC Champion Tennessee Lady Vols. This year they must eclipse that mark if they want to get to the next level. but to get back there they have to defeat the LSU Lady Tigers.
By the way, LSU thinks they are good enough to win it all too, and they have one victory over UK already this year to go on their resume. LSU is 21-9 and they are good enough that they should be well seeded come NCAA Tournament time themselves. They beat UK by 10 points down on the bayou earlier this year, and truthfully the game was not that close. they are coming off of a very low scoring affair with Arkansas which saw their defense prevent the Lady Razorbacks from making their first 16 attempts at the basket. They then trailed Arkansas for almost 19 minutes of the second half before taking the lead with :41 sec to go. They know how to run, as they did in their game with UK at home, and they also know how to grind it out if the need arises. LSU Head Coach Nikki Caldwell has herself a team, and it is a team that can play with anyone.
The next step is simple. Beat LSU. Survive and Advance, in the words of the late Jim Valvano. Get to the next round and worry about it then. Because you can only do this thing one step at a time. And the next step is here.