So we start with the most important piece of information: Beat LSU.
All of these scenarios involve Tennessee winning out. We'll preview the Tigers tomorrow and Vanderbilt for the weekend, but if Tennessee wants to go anywhere this postseason, they need to take care of business this week. The Vols are 16-13, but just 15-13 in the eyes of both selection committees because the win over D-2 Chaminade won't count. That means not only must the Vols keep winning to improve their NCAA Tournament chances (which really means to improve their SEC Tournament chances), but the NIT is no lock at this point - if the Vols lose both games this week, they would have to win one game in New Orleans just to stay above .500 without the Chaminade win.
We explored the history of NIT at-large bids back on February 4, but a quick recap: last year the highest RPI to make the NIT was Nebraska at 89; in 2009 with a larger at-large field available Washington State made the field with an RPI of 92. The Vols are right there, at 91 as of this evening. A split this week would keep them in the neighborhood.
But remember: any regular season conference champion who fails to win their conference tournament and does not earn an NCAA at-large bid gets an automatic NIT bid. As conference tournaments begin this week, the more favorites win, the better the odds for Tennessee. That means you need to cheer for the following teams this week:
- America East: Stony Brook
- Atlantic Sun: Belmont
- Big Sky: Winner of Weber State/Montana tonight
- Big South: UNC-Asheville
- Colonial: Drexel
- Horizon: Valparaiso
- MAAC: Iona
- Missouri Valley: Wichita State
- OVC: Murray State
- Patriot: Bucknell
- Southern: Davidson
- Summit: Oral Roberts
- Sun Belt: MTSU
- West Coast: St. Mary's