Tennessee got back on track on Wednesday night, stopping the skid with a huge win over No. 1 Alabama. The Volunteers had been in the midst of a slump, taking losses to Florida, Vanderbilt and Missouri — two of which came on buzzer beaters. Tennessee went from the No. 2 spot in the AP Poll, all the way down to No. 10 earlier in the week.
Tennessee appeared to be right on track for a No. 1 seed before all of that. After the losses, the Vols looked like more of a No. 3 or No. 4 seed. Now they’re back on the rise.
Tennessee’s latest Bracketology (2/17)
CBS: No. 3 seed
ESPN: No. 2 seed
Bally: No. 2 seed
USA Today: No. 2 seed
Tennessee ranks third in the NCAA’s NET rankings with a 6-2 mark in Quad 1 games. Interestingly enough, they’re just 3-4 in Quad 2 matchups. The Vols are certainly being helped out by a volatile year of college basketball, with no team able to gain any separation at the top.
As wild as it sounds, Tennessee is still in play for a No. 1 seed, but they’ll certainly have to earn it. They’re set to face four NCAA Tournament caliber teams in their final five games, starting this weekend at Kentucky. Texas A&M, Auburn, South Carolina and Arkansas are left on the schedule after that, followed by the SEC Tournament.
We saw Tennessee struggle mid-season last year, and those struggles have come a little later in the year this time around. But the Volunteers still have a chance to get healthy and hot at right time, just as they did a year ago. Things could have easily fallen apart after those two gut-wrenching losses last week, but this veteran core bounced back and beat the best team in the country instead.
Can they keep it rolling this weekend in Lexington?