Kentucky SEC's top seed, not necessarily favorite

TERESA M. WALKER AP Sports Writer Published:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Welcome to the wide-open 2012 Southeastern Conference women's basketball tournament.

Sure, No. 10 Kentucky won its first SEC title since 1982, and 13th-ranked Tennessee treats winning this tournament like an annual rite of March -- adding its 15th championship a year ago.

But SEC teams see plenty of opportunity in the tournament starting Thursday in a season where Kentucky lost three times away from home in league play, and the Lady Vols are playing through a season like no other.

Vanderbilt junior forward Tiffany Clarke says it will be a challenge but that it's literally any team's title this time around with every team so competitive.

The tournament opens Thursday with No. 8 seed Florida playing ninth-seeded Auburn, and the winner gets Kentucky on Friday.