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Biggest Questions Facing the Vols Heading into NCAA Tournament

Can They Defend the Three?

(Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics)

Tennessee has one of the best interior defenses in all of college basketball this season. But when it comes to their perimeter defense, teams have been able to burn them fairly often.

The Vols were one of the worst teams in the SEC at preventing opponents from connecting on three-pointers, and they’re in the middle of the pack nationally when it comes to opponent three-point percentage. As a whole this year, UT’s opponents have made 33.7 percent of their threes when they’ve faced the Vols, but that percentage is even worse over the last month and a half of play. Teams are making 36.8 percent of their three-pointers against the Vols since February 2nd. Tennessee ranks in the bottom 50 teams in college basketball in three-point attempts allowed (812) and in the bottom 100 in three-pointers made by opponents (274).

These issues were especially obvious when the Vols faced Auburn this season. The Tigers nailed a combined 28 threes in their two wins over Tennessee this year, hitting on 37.8 percent of their 74 attempted threes.

On the season, Tennessee has given up 10 or more three-pointers 10 different times, and they’ve allowed at least eight made threes in 20 of the 34 games they’ve played this season. Three of Tennessee’s five losses have come this year when they’ve given up at least eight three-pointers.

Unfortunately for the Vols, eight of the other 15 teams in their region in this year’s NCAA Tournament rank inside the top-100 nationally in three-point shooting percentage, including their first round opponent, Colgate. The Raiders are making 38.8 percent of their threes this season.

If Tennessee wants to make a deep run this year, they need to make sure they shore up their three-point defense. If they don’t, their time in this year’s tournament could be cut short.

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