Despite active lobbying by Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt for a number one seed, the Lady Vols received a No. 2 seed in the Cleveland Region of the NCAA Women's Tournament Monday night.According to the WATE Sports Blog, Pat Summitt told her team this was “a slap in the face” for them and their program. After winning the SEC Tournament in Little Rock, and beating Auburn, Georgia and LSU (a number one seed) to do it, the Lady Vols felt they had done enough to deserve a top seed.
Summitt tried to make a case for a number one seed, pointing out Tennessee's number two ranking in Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and number one ranking in schedule difficulty.
Though they are the most successful team in tournament history, the Lady Vols haven't won it since 1998.
You know, Pat, far be it from me to tell someone like you how to coach your team but if you spent a little less time worrying about the NCAA relying on your past glories to guide the seeding and a little more time working on the fundamentals and team focus that were lacking in losses like the one on the road to Kentucky you might have a better seeding.
That's a slap in your face," Summitt said after watching the selection show with her players at her Knoxville home. "It's a slap in our program's face. I guess it's my fault for putting together the toughest schedule in the country year in and year out. But as far as I'm concerned we got no respect and I don't understand it."I'm typically as much a Pat Summitt fan/apologist as the next person, but we've seen a noticeable downturn in intensity, player talent and overall quality of the Lady Vols basketball program in recent years. They let Geno "Guido" Auriemma and the UConn Huskies take over as the preeminent program in the country, stepped back several places in the average national rankings, etc. I just think it's time to not worry about "respect" and being "dissed" and worry about proving the seeders wrong.
Joni Comstock, the selection committee's chairman, explained on ESPN that the RPI is only used as a tool for seeding. She said Tennessee's four losses hurt a chance for a top seed.
The Lady Vols lost at Duke, at Kentucky, at home to LSU and at home to Florida. The losses to Kentucky and Florida marked the first time Tennessee has ever lost to two unranked teams in a season.
Get to it. Shore up the play, jack up the intensity and win the games. Then the respect will come. Don't keep relying on the memory of Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings and the 3 straight NCAA titles of the late 90's to keep you going. Make your own history. Now's the time.
And while your at it, make sure the men's team does the same? Thanks.