Sunday’s matchup between Tennessee and Florida is a big one for a few different reasons. Both teams could use the win to improve their standing in the NCAA Tournament, but both teams are also playing for a double-bye in the SEC Tournament.
Tennessee currently sits 5th in the SEC standings with just one game left to play. They trail Florida by just a half game now after the Gators dropped their game on Wednesday to Missouri.
So the scenario is as simple as this — the winner of Tennessee-Florida gets the No. 4 seed and the double-bye, meaning they wouldn’t have to play until Friday of the SEC Tournament.
Tennessee’s situation if they lose on Sunday is more complicated. They could tumble all the way to the No. 6 or No. 7 seed, pending results from Missouri (vs. LSU) and Ole Miss (vs. Vanderbilt). Those two games will be played on Saturday, so Tennessee will know the exact scenarios before tipping off against Florida.
Should the Vols secure the No. 4 seed with a win on Sunday, Tennessee would play the winner of the No. 5 vs. No. 12/13 matchup, which will be played on Thursday.
Tennessee certainly could use a couple of wins in the SEC Tournament to stop the bleeding. The Vols have dropped from a projected No. 3 seed, all the way down to a projected No. 7 see in Joe Lunardi’s latest at ESPN. Andy Katz has Tennessee as a No. 8 seed now, while Jerry Palm has the Volunteers landing as a No. 6 seed.
A win against Florida, another mid-pack seed in this year’s tournament, would be a really nice boost for this group that is just 6-6 since their last meeting with the Gators in January.