Knoxville,TN-- (utladyvols.com / WVLT-TV), Pat Summitt's Lady Vols boarded the bus bound for the airport amidst Thursday afternoon's rain shower on the UT Campus. Then it was time to catch the team charter for the flight to Iowa and this weekends regional play.
It is certainly a busy team for these players, who must juggle school, practice and last but not least, compete in NCAA Tournament play. Although the team is catching a bit of a break with UT students on Spring break this week.
The No. 2 seed Tennessee Lady Vols (26-8 overall) will face the No. 11 seed Kansas Jayhawks (21-12 overall) in the Sweet 16 in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sat., Mar. 24 at 11:04 a.m. CT on ESPN.
The Jayhawks earned the right to advance after upsetting No. 3 seed Delaware, 70-64, last night in NCAA Second Round action in Little Rock, Ark.
Also traveling to the Des Moines Regional are the 2012 NCAA Tournament overall top seed Baylor (36-0 overall), a 76-57 winner over Florida in the second round in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Lady Bears will take on the ACC's Georgia Tech (26-8 overall) who punched a Sweet 16 ticket to Des Moines with a 76-64 win over No. 5 seed Georgetown while playing in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Baylor versus Georgia Tech game follows 30 minutes after the conclusion of UT's contest versus Kansas at the Wells Fargo Arena.
The Lady Vols have a 2-0 record all-time versus Kansas. UT met KU in the 1996 NCAA Sweet 16 in Charlottesville, Va., and took a 92-71 victory. Tennessee went on to win the 1996 NCAA title a week later behind MVP Michelle Marciniak.
Both schools faced each other just a few months later in Knoxville in the Preseason National Women's Invitational Tournament in Thompson-Boling Arena where UT collected a 79-60 win.
Tennessee most recently faced the Yellow Jackets last season in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands where the Lady Vols recorded a 66-42 victory. All-time, UT is 4-0 over Tech in regular season meetings.
The Lady Vols and Lady Bears met in the "We Back Pat" game on Nov. 27, 2011 in Knoxville. Baylor claimed a 76-67 victory over Tennessee on a day when both teams sported purple "We Back Pat" shooting shirts in an effort to bring awareness to Alzheimer's disease.
Legendary UT coach Pat Summitt revealed on Aug. 23, 2011, who her toughest opponent was - early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.
Tennessee is 2-3 all-time against Baylor and has a 1-1 record in NCAA Tournament play. Tennessee beat the Lady Bears in the 2004 NCAA Sweet 16 game in Norman, Okla., 71-69, and eventually advanced to the NCAA title game losing to Connecticut, 70-61, in New Orleans.
Both squads met in the 2010 NCAA Sweet 16 game in the Memphis Regional where the Lady Bears came from behind to upend the Lady Vols, 77-62.
The winners of the Sweet 16 games will advance to the Elite 8 contest on Mar. 26 at 6 p.m. CT. The prevailing team will have its ticket punched to the 2012 NCAA Final Four, April 1 & 3 in Denver, Colo.