The Tennessee Volunteers continued their surge on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena, finding a way to win an ugly basketball game in the closing moments. The win brought the Vols to a 18-5 overall record. It was their first win at Kentucky since 2006 and their first season sweep of the Wildcats since 1999.
Tennessee now sits at 8-3 in the SEC. They’re alone in second place, just one game off of the Auburn Tigers.
This second half of the season run has the Volunteers in great shape as the NCAA Tournament approaches. They hovered around a four to five seed for most of the season, but they now have a decent shot of landing one of the top seeds in the entire bracket.
According to ESPN’s BPI, Tennessee has a 34 percent shot at landing a No. 1 seed on selection Sunday.
After beating Kentucky last night, Tennessee's chances of earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament are up to 34%, per BPI.@SabinAnalytics & @SethWalder discuss Tennessee's rise this season and whether the Vols deserve a spot on the top line https://t.co/BZnX9ZDrdv— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 7, 2018
According to the resume section of ESPN’s BPI, Tennessee currently sits 7th overall as a No. 2 seed. How? It’s their strength of schedule. Tennessee has played the 4th toughest schedule overall and the 3rd toughest non-conference slate. Interestingly enough, Clemson — a team that Tennessee beat in the preseason — is ranked 6th in resume. Too bad that win didn’t count.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi kept the Vols as a three seed in his latest bracketology projection yesterday.
After Tennessee’s tricky game in Tuscaloosa tomorrow, the schedule will let up once again. The Volunteers will finish with South Carolina, Georgia (twice), Florida, at Ole Miss, and at Mississippi State. If Tennessee can handle those games and make a decent run in the SEC Tournament, a one seed is absolutely possible.
Not bad for a team that was picked to finish 13th in the SEC.