Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- It’s been so automatic, but for the first time since 1976, the Lady Vols are not in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.
This is a new era of Orange in Knoxville. Holly Warlick is gone, and former Lady Vol point guard Kellie Harper takes over as head coach this season.
Big Orange fans were able to see Harper make her unofficial coaching debut on Tuesday night, as the Lady Vols beat Carson-Newman in their lone exhibition game 70-44. They will open up their regular season next Tuesday, at East Tennessee State.
The Lady Vols might not be ranked, but they were ranked No. 25 in ESPNW’s preseason top 25.
As for SEC teams making the top 25, Texas A&M is ranked the highest at No. 6 in the poll. South Carolina begins the season ranked No. 8, while Mississippi State comes in at No. 10. Kentucky and Arkansas are the only other two teams ranked to begin the season. The Cats start the season at No. 13, while the Hogs begin the year ranked No. 22. This is the first season since 2002 that Arkansas begins the season ranked.