KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee coach Pat Summitt would love for her Lady Volunteers to grab a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
She also knows that may be wishful thinking.
The Lady Vols (22-10) could be on the verge of their lowest ever NCAA seeding after losing to Auburn in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Saturday. They will learn their fate on Monday night.
"I'd love it if we did, but I don't know that that's going to happen," Summitt said. "Obviously, it'd be great to be a four seed but I don't know if we helped our situation in the SEC Tournament."
Tennessee has only been seeded as low as fourth once — that was in 1986. The last time the team took 10 losses into the tournament it grabbed a No. 3 seed and won the title.
The Lady Vols have been a fixture atop the bracket since the first NCAA tournament in 1982. They've earned a top seed 19 times, a No. 2 seed four times and No. 3 three times.
Summitt hopes a strong schedule and high RRI will help them make a strong case to the NCAA selection committee. Tennessee and Oklahoma have alternately held the strongest schedule throughout the year, and the Lady Vols are currently seventh on the RPI list.
"Clearly in the past when we've known we were going to be a top seed, we could speculate, but we still didn't know. I think with the season that we've had, it's just up for grabs," she said.
At risk is Tennessee's unblemished streak of reaching the regional semifinals in every NCAA tournament.
One thing could help Summitt's youngest squad in history: a first- and second-round spot near home — such as Chattanooga, located just 100 miles away, or Bowling Green, Ky., 155-mile trek.
Lady Vols fans travel well, and the team has played much better when they're around. Eight of the team's 10 losses have come on the road.
"There's not many ways you can get an advantage other than bringing it yourself and playing at a different level or have the backing, the fan support that will help inspire you when you need it," Summitt said.
With better bench play and a strong SEC performance by shooting guard Angie Bjorklund, she's feeling a little bit better about the way her team is playing.
Still, there are no guarantees that the improved play will hold up.
"There's always a 'wait and see.' The last thing I wanted them to hear when they departed the bus when we got back to Knoxville was that we've got to become a 40-minute team," she said. "Having those lapses and not being able to depend on individuals from time-to-time has been very, very costly for us."
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
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