"As soon the game was over," said Mike Wooley assistant general manager for the Gaylord Entertainment Center, "we had our crew was arriving."
There's a lot to be done to gear up for a major event like a basketball tournament. The rehearsal hall becomes media central, with sufficient phone lines, lighting, and furniture to accomodate 225 credentialed representatives from the press. But the most visible transformation is from the ice of the NHL to the hardwood of Southeastern Conference basketball.
First thing to go is the glass surrounding the ice. "It's all tempered glass," said Wooley, "which means it weighs anywhere from 200 pounds to 350 pounds and all that has to be taken out with a special forklift. You can't take it out by hand so it's very labor intensive."
"So that comes out, then we cover the floor with an insulated fiber board. Then we put the basketball floor down and put the carpet around it, then the basketball risers at each end. And then we start doing our fine tuning, which is the tables, the skirting, the setting up of the scoring system, getting the basketball goals out, set, checked, making sure they're at proper height."
By early afternoon on Wednesday, the arena looks almost ready for basketball, down to the SEC logos on the basketball court. But no painters were required. "Those are actually removable panels," Wooley explained. "Those panels replace the Gaylord Entertainment Center name and logo that usually sits in the same place."
"When the SEC made their committment to Nashville and vice versa, they decided they would pay to have those panels done." They were first used last year's for the men's SEC tournament. And when this year's tournament is over, they'll take them out, ready to use again for the next women's tournament in 2004, and the men's tournament in 2006.
The painted basketballs, however, at the free throw lines and at center court became part of the permanent design of the court when the name of building was changed from the Nashville Arena to the Gaylord Entertainment Center a couple of years ago.
As Wooley surveys the arena for carpet that needs to be tacked down or seats that need to be fixed, there's a crew walking through the bowl cleaning up after the 15,000 hockey fans who filled the stands Tuesday night.
"We'll do a walkthrough with the SEC at 4 o'clock and they'll point out anything they see" said Wooley. " If there are things they want us to work on in a certain room, we have time between now and then to do it. It's an ongoing process until we open the doors at 11 o'clock Thursday morning."
FIRST ROUND - THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Game 1 #8 Alabama vs. #9 Georgia Noon CT SEC TV
Two teams making a last ditch effort to make the NCAAs. Bama's strength is on the perimeter, Georgia's in the post. The stakes are high in this one! Who will step up to claim them?
Game 2 #7 Arkansas vs. #10 Ole Miss 2:15 CT SEC TV
Arkansas has been coming on strong after a slow start, including an upset of Vanderbilt in Bud Walton Arena. Could the Razorbacks be this year's darkhorse to make a run deep into the tourney?
Game 3 #5 Mississippi State vs. #12 Kentucky 6 pm CT SEC TV
The Lady Bulldogs lost 3 of their last 4 SEC games, but their senior leader Jennifer Fambrough has returned from back surgery. Will that be enough to put MSU back on the winning track?
Game 4 #6 Florida vs. #11 Auburn 8:15 pm SEC TV
After a fast start, Auburn struggled after leading scorer and rebounder Tia Miller tore her ACL, and backup Brandi Hillman broke her foot. But Hillman's back now, and Auburn coach Joe Ciampi thinks she can make a difference. But can she neutralize Florida's Vanessa Hayden?
We'll know the answers Thursday night.
Gaylord gets ready for SEC Women's Tourney
VandyMania.com Top Stories
Vandy Coach: Defense gets you on the floor!Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White spoke with the media on Tuesday following the team's practice. The Vandy women open the 2016-17 season on Sunday with an exhibition game…
Three Keys Reviewed: Vandy vs. TSUVanderbilt defeated Tennessee State 35-17 on Saturday for homecoming. Prior to the game, VandyMania.com established three keys for the Commodores to be victorious. We will now…
VandyMania.comSunday at 12:27 PM
The Good, Bad, Ugly: TSUThe Vanderbilt Commodores won their second straight game for the first time since 2013 with a 35-17 victory over Tennessee State. Here is a look at some of the Good, Bad, and Ugly…
VandyMania.comSunday at 9:29 AM
Vanderbilt downs TSU 35-17Khari Blasingame ran for 100 yards and three touchdowns as Vanderbilt rallied from an early deficit to win its second consecutive game, 35-17. The win improved the Commodores'…
VandyMania.comSaturday at 9:04 PM