Most every basketball analyst believes the Vols’ men’s basketball team will make it into the NCAA Tournament this season. Joe Lunardi of ESPN has the Vols in the Big Dance as a 6-seed in his most recent updated projections, and the 20th-ranked Vols have one of the best NCAA Tournament resumes around.
But one college basketball analyst not only thinks the Vols will make it into the tournament, but he’s expecting Tennessee to earn one of their best berths in school history.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports released his most recent “bracketology” projections on Friday, and he has the Vols not only making it into the NCAA Tournament, but he has them as a 3-seed in the tournament.
Palm’s projections has the Vols as the No. 3 seed in the South region of the bracket, and he has them playing 14-seed Georgia Southern. He has Villanova, the only team that’s beaten Tennessee so far this season, as a 1-seed along with Miami, Arizona State, and Michigan State. Miami is the 1-seed in Tennessee’s region of the bracket.
The team that Tennessee plays this Sunday, No. 7 North Carolina, is also a 3-seed according to Palm. He also has six other SEC schools making it into the tournament. He has Texas A&M as a 2-seed, Missouri and Arkansas as 6-seeds, Alabama and Florida as an 8-seed, and Kentucky as a 9-seed.
If the Vols did earn a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, that would be their second-best seed in school history since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Tennessee has earned a No. 2 seed twice in program history, and both times were under Bruce Pearl. The Vols were a 2-seed in 2006 and lost in the second round and earned a No. 2 seed berth in 2008 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen that season.
No. 20 Tennessee hosts No. 7 North Carolina at 3 PM Eastern on Sunday, December 17th. If the Vols can defeat the Tarheels on Sunday, then they stand an even greater chance of making Palm’s prediction come true.