Lady Vols get back to practice

The Lady Vols practiced Sunday after two days off and will work on the court again Monday before getting the news they really want – where, and against what team, will they play next. Go inside with Inside Tennessee for the latest on the team.

The day before the Selection Show always feels a bit like Christmas Eve to Tennessee, and this time what's under the tree is a complete mystery.

"No idea, none whatsoever," Assistant Coach Dean Lockwood said Sunday. "We're going to be all equally surprised."

The Lady Vols hosted the past two years so they knew they would open at home, but that won't be the case this coming week. They also had solidified cases for a one seed, but with eight losses this season, they can't even be certain of a two seed, though the No. 1 strength of schedule and No. 4 RPI boost the resume for it.

So, on Monday evening, after a meal at Pat Summitt's house, the players and coaches will gather for the Selection Show, which begins at 7 p.m. Eastern on ESPN, and learn seed, place and next opponent.

The unveiling of the brackets means the assistants will head back to campus that evening and begin to gather film of the three other teams in their first and second round sub-regional. The three assistants will each take a team for scouting purposes, and that evening they will have DVDs in laptops so that practice plans can be formulated accordingly.

Michael Fahey, the team's video coordinator, has been building a library of film all season from televised games and online ones.

"It's miniscule the number of games we can't access," Lockwood said. "Holly and Mickie and I will get together and divvy up who's scouting what."

The coaches won't limit their viewing to the assigned scout. They also will check out the entire bracket. Summitt will watch the next opponent.

"It becomes a tape marathon," Lockwood said. "My life ceases to exist."

The coaches gave the players three days off this past week, but the assistants didn't take breaks. They were on the road recruiting at various times with just Lockwood left in town last Thursday to run practice.

"We put some miles on," Lockwood said. "It was a lot of recruiting. A lot of people are in state tournaments now, so it was a chance for us to get out and see people."

The players, who were off Monday, had a two-day break Friday and Saturday and then reassembled Sunday at Pratt Pavilion. Without an opponent, the session was Tennessee-centric.

"An us day, really cleaning stuff up," Lockwood said. "Today was a lot more offensive execution. We worked on our zone offenses. We worked on our sets and sharpening those up. We worked a little bit on zone defense and some pressing.

"So it was really an us day. It was pretty good overall."

Postseason practices are similar to preseason ones in that Tennessee doesn't focus on an opponent yet with one major difference. Sessions in March are shorter – typically under two hours – to preserve legs and guard against injury risk. All 11 players were available for the session.

"Everything has been good with that," Lockwood said. "There are a few nicks and pings, but this time of year you're going to have that. Everybody's got something."


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