I can see both sides of the argument as to Tennessee's position regarding the NCAA basketball tournament. On one hand, UT has an impressive RPI and strength of schedule. On the other hand, those numbers don't mean much if you don't beat the good teams you're playing. Are the wins over the likes of Memphis, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Vanderbilt and Kentucky (at home) cancelled out by the losses to Butler, North Carolina, Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Kentucky (on the road)? One can almost call the game in Columbus a "good loss," but is it balanced out by the really bad loss at Auburn?
Umm...maybe? But maybe not. What works in the Vols' favor is the fact that everybody is losing on the road in the SEC. So losing at the lowest-RPI'd team in the SEC (Auburn is 108) isn't as bad as losing at the PAC-10 school with the lowest RPI (Arizona State, 246).
So I would say that for all intents and purposes, Tennessee is a lock. It would take catastrophe for the Vols to miss out on the NCAAs, something like a 6-10 SEC finish or 7-9 with a loss on the first day of the SEC tourney. But if UT plays out the string anything like they played against UK on Tuesday, they should find themselves dancing this March.