NCAA Tournament Simulations Have Vols as Final Four Dark Horse

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    Tennessee may not be playing their best basketball as of late, but one prediction site believes that the Vols are dark horse favorites to make it to the Final Four in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

    According to PredictionMachine.com, the Vols have a 12.2 percent chance of making it to the Final Four. Their data is based off of 50,000 computer simulations using bracket information from the latest bracketology update from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. According to Lunardi, the Vols will be the No. 4 seed in the Midwest region and will take on No. 13 seed Buffalo.

    And according to the predictions from PredictionMachine.com, the Vols have the best odds of any team with a No. 4 seed or higher to make it to the Final Four. Gonzaga comes in just behind Tennessee with 10.9 percent as a No. 5 seed in the West region, and Arizona is the next closest with 9.3 percent to make it to the Final Four out of the West region as the No. 4 seed.

    The 50,000 simulations give the Vols an 84 percent chance win their first game and a 53.4 percent shot at making the Sweet Sixteen. It then gives Tennessee a 26.5 percent chance of making the Elite Eight. But the Vols only have a 0.9 percent chance at winning the national title per the simulations. However, that number is good for the 15th-best chances at winning the championship. Virginia is currently the favorite in their projections with a 39.4 percent shot at winning it all.

    The favorites to make the Final Four according to those simulations are No. 1 seed Virginia (67.4%), No. 2 seed Duke (39.6%), No. 2 seed Michigan State (37.6%), and No. 2 seed Purdue (33.9%). The Vols have the 11th-best odds at making the Final Four.

    Tennessee has never before made the Final Four. The closest they’ve gotten since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 was in 2010 when the Vols made it to the Elite Eight and lost 70-69 to Michigan State. That was the first and so far only Elite Eight appearance in program history.

    The Vols have been on a bit of a slide recently, losing two of their last three and not looking particularly great in any of those three games. But Tennessee currently has a 19-7 overall record and has four top 25 RPI victories.

    Tennessee will have a chance to get back into the win column on Wednesday when they host a struggling Florida squad.