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ESPN: Best/Worst Cases SEC Basketball

TENNESSEE Best case: Few teams lost quite as much as Tennessee did this offseason, but it's a testament to the Volunteers' depth -- and the job done by coach Bruce Pearl after the loss of Tyler Smith on Jan. 1 -- that most expect the Vols to be in the NCAA tournament yet again. That appearance will rely on more efficient play from highly touted junior Scotty Hopson, senior guard Melvin Goins, late-blooming senior Brian Williams, and a talented duo of newcomers in Tobias Harris and Jordan McRae. An SEC title is far from out of the question. Rather, the Vols probably expect it. Worst case: The NCAA tournament expectation is legitimate and likely, but like any SEC East team, Tennessee will have a tough road to get there. Pearl will likely look to change his team's style from defensive to offensive, and that transition could be tricky. But even if the Vols falter in their conference schedule, they should be in the tournament.

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