Tennessee March Madness: NCAA Tournament Seeding Prediction for Volunteers

Tennessee Volunteers March Madness

Getty The Tennessee Volunteers, who project to be a top seed in March Madness

With the regular season coming to a close and March Madness on the horizon, the nation starts to turn its attention to some of the top contenders to win the NCAA tournament. Enter the Tennessee Volunteers, who come into Tuesday night’s matchup with the Mississippi State Bulldogs as the fifth-ranked team in the nation with a record of 26-3.

Heading into a home matchup against the Bulldogs, Tennessee sits tied with LSU for the top spot in the SEC regular season standings. At 14-2 in conference play, the Volunteers have only dropped conference games to LSU and Kentucky. Outside of conference play, the Volunteers’ only loss has come at the hands of Kansas, one of the hotter teams in the country.

Tennessee is led by the veteran duo of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield. While both are athletic wings with plus size and shooting ability, Williams tends to take on the leading scorer and alpha dog role. However, Schofield offers an excellent second scoring option and is the Volunteers most reliable volume shooter from deep.

Tennessee Volunteers March Madness Resume

Coming into the matchup with the Bulldogs, the Volunteers have a 7-3 record over quadrant one teams. Despite having three losses on the year, all three of those losses have come at the hands of not just any quadrant one teams, but some of the top NCAA tournament contenders in the nation. Moreover, they avenged the Kentucky loss when they matched back up in the Volunteers’ backyard and only lost to LSU by two on the road.

The Volunteers have put together an impressive season on the back of notable victories over number one seed Gonzaga, Kentucky, Louisville, Florida (twice), and Ole Miss. With their matchup tonight against Mississippi State and their final regular season game against the Auburn Tigers, Tennessee has the chance to add two more strong wins to its resume before the conference tournament.

Despite their quality wins, Tennessee’s resume doesn’t stack up as well compared to some of the other contenders. ESPN’s BPI has them ranking just 59th in strength of schedule, trailing every other top ten team outside of Gonzaga. BPI also projects the Volunteers to likely drop one of their two games, projecting them to end SEC regular season with a record of 15.3-2.7.

Tennessee Volunteers NCAA Tournament Prediction

Much of Tennessee’s seeding and prediction is going to based off how they perform in the SEC tournament. Tennessee has a tough test to end the regular season and will almost certainly have to face either Kentucky for the third time, LSU for a second time, or a combination of both during the SEC tournament. Should the Volunteers win out and bring home the SEC title, they will almost certainly secure themselves a number one seed heading into the tournament and will be in prime position to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Even if Tennessee doesn’t win out the regular season and falls short in the SEC tournament, they will likely still find themselves as a top-four seed heading into the tournament. While not having as easy of a path as a one seed, the Volunteers would still be primed to make a run to at least the sweet sixteen before running into the tournament’s more dangerous teams.

Despite the strong play we’ve seen out of Tennessee on the year and the fact that they are one of the more experienced teams in the nation, the fact remains that they have faltered when faced with playing top 25 caliber teams. Despite beating number one ranked Gonzaga, the Volunteers dropped games to a number two ranked Kansas team, a number five Kentucky team, and a 13th ranked LSU team, Tennessee is just a measly 2-3 against top 25 teams on the year. Furthermore, those two wins both came at home, a luxury they will not have in the NCAA tournament.

Tennessee should likely breeze through the early rounds of the tournament, but when forced to face a top 10 team on the neutral court of the NCAA tournament, they will be facing a much tougher challenge and one that they’ve shown to have some trouble with. Despite their high ranking and the chance of a top overall seed, don’t expect the Volunteers to bring home the national championship.

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