Saturday is a big day not only for Tennessee basketball, but for Tennessee athletics in general. The basketball Vols are playing for the team’s first SEC regular season title in a decade. And it would be the first title of any kind for any of the Vols’ three main men’s athletics programs since that last men’s basketball SEC regular season title in 2008.
The Vols are fighting for a title on Saturday, and they’ll be looking for another next week once the SEC Tournament begins. And according to one site, the Vols are the favorites to win that tournament.
TeamRankings.com has attempted to predict how the SEC regular season will finish out today and how the upcoming SEC Tournament will play out. According to their calculations, both Auburn and Tennessee will win today and will split the SEC regular season title. That would give Auburn the No. 1 seed and Tennessee the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament because the Tigers beat the Vols head-to-head earlier this season.
But once the tournament comes, those same calculations view the Vols as slight favorites to win it all.
According to Team Rankings’ predictions, the Vols have a 20.15 percent chance of winning the SEC Tournament. That slightly edges out Auburn who has a 19.59 percent chance of winning the tournament. Their predictions give Florida a 17.88 percent chance of winning the title and Kentucky a 16.25 percent shot. The rest of the SEC has less than a 10 percent chance, and Ole Miss has the lowest odds at .2 percent.
The Vols haven’t won the SEC Tournament since 1979 when they defeated Kentucky 75-69 in overtime to bring home the title. Since then, the Vols have only made it to the finals twice (1991, 2009) and have failed to win at least one game in the tournament 16 times over their last 38 appearances since winning in 1979.
Tennessee rarely has good luck in the SEC Tournament. But these predictions believe this year will be different for the Vols.