Most analysts and fans think Tennessee will take a step backwards this year on the hardwood — with good reason. The Volunteers will replace four of five starters this season, including two time SEC player of the year Grant Williams and standout players Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone.
The roster isn’t empty, though. Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner return in the backcourt, while five-star freshman guard Josiah James will be added into the mix. Will that trio be able to keep the basketball momentum going in Knoxville? Opinions are split on that, at least for this year.
Andy Katz is still a believer in the Vols, however. The NCAA.com analyst included Tennessee in his “deep run potential” column this week, placing the Volunteers fifth in the SEC. Kentucky, Florida, LSU and Auburn were each ahead of Tennessee.
Deep Run Potential from the @SEC:— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) September 25, 2019
2. @GatorsMBK #MarchMadness Bound:
Full SEC preview from @TheAndyKatz! pic.twitter.com/KKjYYffTpJ
Tennessee has been projected by analysts as a bubble team for the majority of the summer months. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Tennessee as a 9th seed currently, slated to take on the 8th seed Michigan in his latest projection.
Rick Barnes’ squad will have to navigate quite the early season non-conference slate. Tennessee will face Florida State, Washington, Cincinnati, Wisconsin and Memphis in the first two months of the season. By then, the battle-tested Vols might just be ready for SEC play, which begins on January 4th at home against LSU.
The conference schedule makers didn’t do Tennessee any favors down the stretch, backloading two games against Auburn, a road trip to Kentucky and a home game against Florida in the last five games. The Vols won’t be short on resume building games down the stretch, that’s for sure.
Where do you think Tennessee will land in the NCAA Tournament?
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