Day 3 of the SEC Women's Tournament is going to be interesting, to say the least. For UK, it brings the first of what may be two chances to right some wrongs, but it also brings the stiffest challenge of the Tournament, which is not easy to say after yesterday's nail biters.After the jump we will break down both games.
In the 4:00 matchup, UK takes on LSU. Yes, THAT LSU. The very same one that handed the HOOPS squad a 10 pt. defeat in Baton Rouge just last month, which was part of UK's only losing streak this season. The venue aside, LSU is physical, they play tough man to man (pardon the offensive gender-specific label ladies) defense, and they shoot well enough from outside to make your life difficult on a good day. Mitchell has to be asking himself why, in order to win the SEC Tourney, is he having to beat Florida three times in a single year, beat LSU, who should be ranked third in the SEC in my estimation, based on how they have played, and then possibly have to face the Lady Vols, who blew his team out in Knoxville. That is not an easy hill to climb. One thing is certain and for sure, if UK can win this thing, they will have definitely earned it.
LSU had their own problems getting here, as they needed a last minute three pointer to defeat a scrappy Arkansas team yesterday 41-40. The teams that I honestly expected to do well in the tournament have all had their hands full getting through some really tough games. The SEC should have 8 teams make the NCAA tourney, and that is a testament to how tough these teams really are. And that brings us to the second game of the day.
Tennessee and South Carolina face off in the second Semi-Final today in what should be a really good game. South Carolina has emerged as a well-coached and well disciplined team that just will not go away this season. They had the only true blow out to get here as they dismantled Alabama by more than 20 points. Tennessee, which had all it could handle and then some from Vanderbilt will face them. Vanderbilt made Tennessee earn every bucket yesterday after falling behind by 19 and then cutting the lead to one on several occasions. However the Lady Vols were not to be denied as they pulled away late to win by 11, 68-57. Tennessee had struggled with Vanderbilt earlier in the year, and they saw more of the same yesterday. Tennessee has not been challenged like this in the SEC in quite a long time as the emergence of Kentucky, South Carolina and others have brought more and more balance to a league that was once controlled by the Lady Vols.
So, in the words of the inimitable Jimmy Buffett, "The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful". Let's hope this day turns out beautiful for the UKHOOPS squad and Coach Matthew Mitchell.
The Tennessee-South Carolina game follows UK-LSU at approximately 6:00 EST on ESPNU. The U will be carrying both games today and tomorrow's Championship game moves to ESPN2 at 6:00 EST on Sunday.