How Deep of a Run Can They Make?
All of these previous questions lead to one big, final question: Just how far can the Vols go in this year’s NCAA Tournament?
Since 2000, Tennessee has made it to the Sweet Sixteen four times and the Elite Eight once. When you consider the Vols have only earned 10 NCAA Tournament bids in that span prior to this year, that percentage is actually fairly good. That means Tennessee has advanced to at least the Sweet Sixteen half of the time they’ve made it to the tournament in this millenium.
But making it to the Sweet Sixteen this year won’t be good enough. It won’t be enough for these players, this coaching staff, or the fan base. A lot of fans wouldn’t even consider making it to the Elite Eight the true ceiling for this team.
The Vols don’t have an easy draw in the NCAA Tournament, but they’ve certainly faced much tougher throughout the years. Getting to the Elite Eight seems very possible, but losing in the second round is also feasible. Purdue or Villanova would likely await Tennessee in the Sweet Sixteen if they get there, but first they would likely have to face a gritty Cincinnati team just 90 minutes from their own campus.
All this is, of course, assuming the Vols get by a Colgate squad that can shoot lights out from three in the first round.
Advancing deep into the NCAA Tournament is never easy, and it’s been especially difficult for the Vols in their history. But this year’s team has already broken multiple records, so who’s to say what the limit is for them?