The Vols are going to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season. This time, they’ll be a No. 2 seed for only the third time in school history.
Just hours after Tennessee (29-5, 15-3 SEC) lost to Auburn (26-9, 11-7 SEC) in the SEC Tournament Finals, the Vols found out they had earned a two-seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Vols are in the South region and will face-off with No. 15 seed Colgate (24-10, 13-5 Patriot) in the First Round. The Vols and Raiders will play on Friday, March 22nd in Columbus, Ohio. They will tip off after the Cincinnati-Iowa game that tips off at 12:15 Eastern, so Tennessee and Colgate will likely play around 2:45 Eastern.
This year marks the first time since 2006-11 that the Vols have gone to the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years. It also marks only the third time ever that Tennessee has been a two-seed in the Big Dance. The Vols earned a No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2008 previously.
The last two times Tennessee has been a two-seed, they’ve failed to make it past the Sweet Sixteen. The Vols lost in the second round to seven-seed Wichita State in 2006, and Tennessee was blown out by three-seed Louisville in 2008 in the Sweet Sixteen.
Interestingly, Tennessee is 0-2 all-time against Colgate in men’s basketball. The Vols lost 87-83 in 1955 in Charlotte, and they fell again to the Raiders 76-73 in Pittsburgh in 1960.
The winner of the Tennessee-Colgate game will face the winner of the No. 7 seed Cincinnati and No. 10 seed Iowa game.
In the Vols’ region, Virginia earned the No. 1 seed. They were one of three ACC schools to earn a one-seed, with Duke earning the No. 1 overall seed and North Carolina getting the one-seed in the Midwest. Gonzaga is the No. 1 seed in the West.
Purdue is the three-seed, and Kansas State is the four-seed in the South region.
Auburn, the team that beat the Vols for the SEC Tournament title, earned a No. 5 seed in the Midwest region. They’ll take on 12-seed New Mexico State in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kentucky is also a two-seed like the Vols, and they’ll face Abilene Christian in the Midwest region in Jacksonville, Florida.
All in all, seven SEC teams earned bids to the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee and Kentucky are the top two seeds from the conference, and LSU earned a No. 3 seed. Auburn and Mississippi State are No. 5 seeds, Ole Miss is a No. 8 seed, and Florida earned a No. 10 seed. Ole Miss is the eight-seed in Tennessee’s region.
The only other in-state school aside from the Vols to earn a bid was Belmont. They’re in the play-in game for the 11-seed in the East region. They’ll take on Temple on Tuesday, March 19th.
Tennessee ended up playing nine teams that made it into the NCAA Tournament this year. The Vols played the aforementioned six SEC teams that also made it into the tournament, and they also faced one-seed Gonzaga, four-seed Kansas, and seven-seed Louisville.
Here’s a look at the full bracket for the 2019 NCAA Tournament: