Tennessee Basketball Remains High Seed In ESPN Bracketology

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    Photo Credit: Knoxville News Sentinel

    Tennessee basketball dropped from a four-seed to a five-seed in ESPN Joe Lunardi’s most recent bracketology.

    The only change to Tennessee’s roster since Lunardi’s last bracketology update was the addition of Handje Tamba, giving the Vols the nation’s No. 3 ranked signing class.

    According to Lunardi’s bracket, the Vols would get a rematch with 12th-seeded Loyola Chicago, the program that upset Tennessee in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. If the Vols get by Loyola, they’d face the winner of Ohio State and Buffalo in the Round of 32.

    Even with the NBA Draft past, college basketball recruiting never stops and rosters for the 2021-22 season are constantly changing. This is most notable at Memphis where Penny Hardaway convinced top 2022 recruit Jalen Duran to reclassify to the 2021 class and sign with the Tigers.

    Hardaway is in the midst of trying to convince another top prospect in the 2022 class— Emoni Bates— to do the same.

    The Tigers jumped from an eight-seed to a four-seed in Lunardi’s most recent bracket.

    Lunardi’s bracketology is full of teams Tennessee will face on the hardwood this winter. Out of conference, Tennessee’s Hall of Fame Tip-Off first round opponent Villanova is a three-seed. In the second game of the event, the Vols will play either No. 2 seed Purdue or No. 5 seed North Carolina.

    Tennessee’s SEC/ Big 12 Challenge opponent Texas is now projected to be a No. 1 seed after the addition of top transfer Marcus Carr.

    Tennessee will play a road game against projected No. 11 seed Colorado, a home game against next four out Arizona and a non conference matchup with No. 6 seed Texas Tech.

    While the Vols’ non-conference schedule is grueling, SEC play isn’t set to be any easier. Tennessee will play projected No. 3 seed Kentucky, No. 4 seed Arkansas and No. 8 seed LSU twice.

    At Thompson-Boling Arena, Tennessee will play projected No. 6 seed Auburn and No. 9 seed Florida. 

    On the road, Rick Barnes’ Vols will face No. 4 seed Alabama and No. 11 seed Mississippi State.

    In total, the Vols will play 16 games— out of 31— against teams projected to make the 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.