Twenty of UT's 24 opponents in the coming season participated in 2011 postseason play appearing in the NCAA or WNIT Tournaments. In all, UT will be facing competition from nine different conferences in the coming year including the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Colonial, Pac 12, Southeastern, Southern, Sunbelt and West Coast conferences.
"This is an exciting schedule for the coming year," said Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt, who is beginning her 38th season at Tennessee and is the NCAA's all-time winningest coach starting the campaign with a 1,071-199 overall record. We'll see a couple of new opponents in Pepperdine and Miami and travel to play 2011 Final Four teams Notre Dame and Stanford on their home courts.
"The non-conference schedule is really challenging and should help us to prepare for anything we may see come post-season play."
The season gets underway with a pair of exhibition tune-ups in Knoxville as Carson-Newman comes to town on Nov. 1 and former NAIA National Champion Union University (Jackson, Tenn.) heads to Rocky Top for a game on Nov. 8.
Following the dress rehearsal contests, the Lady Vols officially open the season at home taking on first-ever opponent Pepperdine on Nov. 13 and follows that game with another new opponent at Thompson-Boling Arena taking on the University of Miami (Fla.) in the STATE FARM TIPOFF on Nov. 15. The game with the Hurricanes will mark the 187th opponent in Lady Vol basketball history.
The remainder of the November schedule features an away game at Virginia (Nov. 20) and contests at home against Baylor (Nov. 27) and Middle Tennessee (Nov. 29).
"I think our great fans will be treated to a tremendous home schedule this season and I'm thrilled that we have the opportunity for 17 home dates (including the exhibition games) in our arena," said Summitt.
Tennessee begins and ends the month of December at home taking on Texas (Dec. 4) and Old Dominion (Dec. 28). In between, the Lady Vols will face DePaul at the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 11 and then travels to Rutgers for a Dec. 13 meeting.
Prior to the Christmas holidays, UT will head out west to face a pair of Pac-12 foes in UCLA (Dec. 17) and 2011 Final Four participant Stanford (Dec. 20).
In January, the Lady Vols open the 2012 side of the slate with a New Year's Day showdown with SEC rival Auburn on The Plains on Jan. 1. The Lady Vols will briefly step out of the conference to face UT-Chattanooga in Knoxville on Jan. 3 before resuming a steady diet of SEC play as Georgia rolls into town for a key match-up on Jan. 5.
Other January home dates include Vanderbilt (Jan. 15) and LSU (Jan. 19) while road SEC dates have the Lady Vols traveling to Arkansas (Jan. 8), Kentucky (Jan. 12), Alabama (Jan. 26) and Georgia (Jan. 29). UT concludes the 2012 portion of the non-conference schedule with a national marquee game at 2011 Final Four runner-up Notre Dame on Jan. 23.
Tennessee starts the month of February enjoying home games against South Carolina (Feb. 2), Auburn (Feb. 5) and the "Play for Kay" breast cancer awareness game versus Kentucky (Feb. 13). UT travels to Vanderbilt (Feb. 9), Mississippi State (Feb. 16) and Ole Miss (Feb. 19) before wrapping up regular season play for 2011-12 at home with contests versus Arkansas (Feb. 23) and Senior Day against Florida on Feb. 26.
In the 16-game SEC schedule, the Lady Vols play home-and-home games with Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky this season, to go along with its annual home-and-home traditional rival contests versus Vanderbilt.
"The SEC is always a tough league," Summitt said. "Every team has improved from last season and wins will be even tougher to get ... especially on the road."
In the postseason, the 2012 SEC Tournament stays in the Music City in Nashville, Tenn., March 1-4. Tennessee will find out its March Madness fate when the NCAA Tournament bracket is announced on Mar. 12.
NCAA First/Second Round games will be played at 16 sites from Mar. 17-20. The NCAA Regional Championships will be contested, Mar. 24-27 and the season will culminate with the 2012 NCAA Final Four in Denver, Colo., April 1 and 3.
Additional Information: The UT athletic department will host "Meet Your Seats" events at Thompson-Boling Arena Sept. 6-7 - before the public sale begins - during which fans can see the available inventory for both men's and women's basketball season tickets and "test drive" their seats.
The event runs from 4-7 p.m. ET each day, free parking will be available in the G-10 garage (directly east of the arena) and the ticket office will process all new orders on site.
Season tickets for the public will go on sale Sept. 8 at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be purchased online at UTtix.com now.