Key points:

The resurgence of the UConn-Tennessee rivalry holds significance, yet Kim Caldwell must continue to make roster adjustments. Despite Tennessee’s addition of three transfers, further acquisitions are necessary to bolster the team. With the SEC poised to become more competitive next season due to the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, Tennessee’s streak of NCAA Tournament appearances will face a tough challenge. Coaching the Lady Vols involves confronting some of the nation’s top teams, a challenge Caldwell will face in her inaugural season with Tennessee.

In the upcoming season, the Lady Vols will host UConn, reigniting a rivalry that took a one-year break. Formerly a defining matchup between elite programs, exemplified by legendary coaches Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma, the rivalry has evolved alongside both teams. While it may not hold the same prominence as in the past, UConn is coming off a Final Four appearance, while Tennessee aims to establish itself in the basketball world.

As Caldwell begins her first season as head coach, the question arises: Are the Lady Vols ready to tackle the challenge presented by UConn?

In the recent episode of “The Volunteer State,” Blake Toppmeyer from the USA TODAY Network, along with Cora Hall and John Adams from the News Sentinel, share their insights on the revival of this historic rivalry.

They also evaluate Caldwell’s initial month on the job and her efforts to enhance the roster through transfers. Additionally, they assess Tennessee’s prospects of maintaining its NCAA Tournament streak in Caldwell’s debut season.

Here’s a summary of their analysis:

The Lady Vols will host UConn next season. What is the significance of the rivalry’s revival?
Toppmeyer suggests that these iconic programs should face each other annually. Once dominant forces in women’s basketball, their rivalry symbolized the sport’s golden era. As women’s basketball continues to flourish, reviving a rivalry that once defined the game makes sense. While both programs may not be at their peak, with UConn closer to its former glory, the importance of this rivalry persists, albeit not as prominently as before. Although it may have peaked, a rivalry that has shaped the sport remains valuable, offering more than no rivalry at all.

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