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NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Tennessee firmly in the field as SEC play begins

The latest projections.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers have wrapped up the first two months of play at 9-2. The non-conference schedule provided plenty of obstacles and tests for this group, but the Vols got past plenty of those roadblocks as SEC play looms.

Key wins against Purdue and N.C. State in the Bahamas opened plenty of national eyes. Near misses against Villanova and North Carolina opened even more. Road tests were passed at Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.

Now the fun is really set to begin.

But first, let’s take a look at the latest NCAA Tournament projections from Joe Lunardi. Tennessee has been in his field for the past several installments of Bracketology, rising each week.

This current projection reflected the Vols coming up just short against North Carolina, but Lunardi didn’t punish the Vols. He kept them firm as a six seed, getting the winner of a play-in game among eleven seeds.

Tennessee had a shot to really step into the national spotlight and earn a big time ranking, but they faltered down the stretch against the Tar Heels in a game that will likely hurt for some time. They’ll need to figure out a way to close out games and not let those fall through their fingertips before March.