Knoxville, Tenn.(WVLT)— UT's second "We Back Pat" branded game of the week occurs on Thursday night, as Tennessee (12-6, 1-5 SEC) steps outside of SEC play to welcome No. 1/1 Notre Dame (18-1, 6-0 ACC) to Thompson-Boling Arena for a nationally-televised contest. Tip-off is slated for 7:02 p.m. ET, with the game being carried by ESPN, the Lady Vol Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Thursday's match-up represents the second contest in a grueling three-game week for the Lady Vols. LSU, which is idle Thursday night, comes to Knoxville on Sunday for the annual "Live Pink, Bleed Orange" breast cancer awareness game at 1 p.m. Interestingly enough, Arkansas also had seven days to prepare for the Lady Vols, meaning both SEC foes this week had extra prep days prior to playing UT.
A youthful Lady Vol team has endured some tough lessons in SEC play, falling in five straight contests. Four of those five setbacks, however, have come by a combined total of nine points. UT fell to Arkansas, 80-79, on Monday night in Knoxville and suffered two-point home losses to Missouri (66-64) and No. 16/16 Kentucky (73-71), and a four-point road loss at Georgia (66-62).
Notre Dame, meanwhile, comes to Rocky Top on an 11-game win streak and remains perfect in ACC play. The defending NCAA champion Fighting Irish suffered the team's only loss of the season on Dec. 2, as UConn went to Purcell Pavilion and handed Muffet McGraw's squad an 89-71 setback. The Irish squad has been on a tear since then, however, with its closest game being a 14-point victory (82-68) over current No. 4 team Louisville on Jan. 10.
Thursday's match-up provides a similar scenario to the last time these teams met in Knoxville. On Jan. 16, 2017, an unranked Lady Vols squad toppled No. 6/6 Notre Dame, 71-69, on a jumper by Jaime Nared with just over 10 seconds remaining.
"WE BACK PAT" WEEK
"We Back Pat" Week is celebrated by all 14 teams in the SEC, and many other basketball programs around the world take time to observe the occasion as well. The initiative, which utilizes promotional public address announcements, video endorsements and television exposure to share a very important message, focuses on raising awareness of Alzheimer's disease and The Pat Summitt Foundation's role in fighting it.
Fans are encouraged to wear a "We Back Pat" shirt to the game. "We Back Pat" shirts are available for sale at the Vol Shop. Each shirt contains a special code for a discounted ticket to both UT "We Back Pat" games (Arkansas & Notre Dame).
Orange and purple shakers, courtesy of the Pat Summitt Foundation, will again be available Thursday night for fans to pick up from the Fan HQ table at Section 129 while supplies last.
There will be a check presentation from the Pat Summitt Foundation to the Pat Summitt Clinic at UT Medical Center during the first quarter of the Notre Dame contest.
To learn more please visit www.patsummitt.org, like the foundation on facebook.com/webackpat, and follow it on Twitter and Instagram @webackpat.