Where Tennessee Basketball Stands In Early Bracketology

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    Photo Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

    Tennessee basketball is a four-seed in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s post NBA Draft declaration bracketology. 

    Lunardi’s bracket has Tennessee facing Liberty in the first round with No. 5 Michigan State and No. 12 UAB across from the Vols in the East Region.

    Rick Barnes’ Vols are coming off an 18-9 season that saw Tennessee earn a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament before losing to No. 12 seed Oregon State in the first round.

    Tennessee’s strong non conference schedule shows up in the ESPN personalities projected NCAA Tournament bracket.

    The Vols’ first early season test will come against Villanova, a projected No. 2 seed, in the Hall of Fame Tip Off in November. The other two teams in the event, Purdue and North Carolina, are two and five seeds.

    Tennessee also has non conference matchups with projected six-seed Texas Tech in Madison Square Garden, projected eight-seed Memphis in Nashville and projected 11-seed Colorado in Boulder. 

    Potentially the biggest out of conference matchup for Tennessee is Barnes return trip to Austin to face Texas— where he spent 17 seasons as head coach— in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Longhorns are a projected two-seed under first year head coach Chris Beard.

    The Vols will host Arizona to Thompson Boling Arena in December. Lundardi’s bracketology has the Wildcats in the first four out under first year head coach Tommy Llloyd.

    The SEC is expected to be strong this season on top of the Vols’ strong non conference schedule.

    That shows up in Lunardi’s bracketology as Kentucky is a No. 2 seed, Arkansas and Alabama are also No. 4 seeds, Auburn is a No. 6 seed, LSU is a No. 8 seed and Florida is a No. 9 seed.

    Thanks to strong additions in the transfer portal, Mississippi State is one of the first four teams out. 

    In total, Lunardi has 11 Tennessee opponents making the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.