It’s December — you’re probably not thinking about the NCAA Tournament just yet. However, conference play gets going in full this week, meaning we’re just a couple of months away from tournament season. So let’s check in before Tennessee dives into SEC play.
The Volunteers are in really good shape following their huge win last week against Arizona. They were lacking a signature win before that, but thanks to John Fulkerson’s efforts, Tennessee now has one to hang its hat on.
Now at 9-2 on the year, Tennessee is currently a projected No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, per ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. They have a projected matchup against 14th-seeded UC-Irvine, landing in No. 1 overall seed Baylor’s region.
Purdue, Duke and Gonzaga are the other projected one-seeds.
Tennessee’s two losses on the year, Villanova and Texas Tech, are both solidly in the field. Villanova is also a projected No. 3 seed, while Texas Tech is a No. 7 seed. North Carolina, Tennessee’s second best win, is a No. 8 seed.
The Vols now rank 8th in the NET Rankings after the Arizona win, currently 2-2 against quad-one teams.
Per Lunardi’s projections, the SEC currently had eight teams in the big dance. That trails only the Big Ten, which has a projected ten teams in. Tennessee’s next opponent, Alabama, has slipped to a projected No. 5 seed after taking a loss to Davidson last week.
Tennessee has a loaded few weeks ahead here, including trips to Alabama, LSU and Kentucky. The Volunteers and Crimson Tide will get things started on Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa (9 p.m. ET/ESPN2).