Mar 21, 2022 - Sports

1 big showdown: Tennessee vs. Belmont in the Big Dance

Belmont guard Nikki Baird (23) during Belmont's game against Oregon at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.
Belmont guard Nikki Baird (23) during Belmont's game against Oregon at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. Photo: Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel/USA Today Network

The Volunteer State is guaranteed to have at least one women's team reach the Sweet 16 despite an overall disappointing opening weekend of March Madness.

  • No. 12 Belmont notched a double-overtime upset over No. 5 Oregon in one of the most memorable first-round games of the NCAA Tournament.
  • The Bruins will now face Tennessee in Knoxville on Monday night in a David vs. Goliath matchup straight out of central casting.

Why it matters: The Lady Vols are one of college basketball's most revered programs, with 18 Final Four appearances and eight national titles.

  • UT is seeking a return to glory by enjoying one of its best seasons since iconic coach Pat Summitt retired a decade ago.
  • The Lady Vols haven't reached the Sweet 16 since 2016 and haven't gone to the Final Four since 2008, when they last won the championship.

The intrigue: Bruins coach Bart Brooks has quietly built a mid-major juggernaut on Belmont Boulevard.

  • The thrilling win over Oregon gave the Bruins a first-round upset for the second year in a row.
  • Belmont has made the tournament five times in the last six years.

🏀 What's next: The Bruins and Lady Vols tip off at 6pm Monday on ESPN.

Meanwhile, all three teams from Tennessee failed to reach the Sweet 16 in the men's tournament.

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