CBB Top 25 Breakdown
The pre conference slate for Tennessee basketball is over. The Vols went 9-2 before Christmas building a strong resume with wins over North Carolina, Colorado and Arizona.
Tennessee’s two losses came to strong opponents, Villanova and Texas Tech, while a COVID-19 outbreak in the Memphis’ program cancelled the rivalry matchup.
That start to the season has put Tennessee into a strong position heading into conference play. ESPN’s bracketology specialist Joe Lunardi has the Vols as a three-seed — the highest of any SEC team — playing UC-Irvine in Greenville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
According to Lunardi, if the Vols won their first round game they would face the winner of Seton Hall and Davidson in the round of 32.
Arizona — who Tennessee beat 77-73 at Thompson-Boling Arena this week — is the two-seed in the South regional while Baylor, Lunardi’s No. 1 overall seed, was also in the Vols’ bracket.
Tennessee is one of seven SEC teams that Lunardi has making the field. LSU and Kentucky are four-seeds, Auburn and Alabama are five-seeds, Arkansas is a nine-seed, Florida is a 10-seed and Mississippi State is an 11-seed in a play in game.
Four teams Tennessee has played are in ESPN’s bracketology including No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Villanova, No. 7 Texas Tech and No. 8 North Carolina.
The last non conference opponent on Tennessee’s schedule — Texas — is a projected six-seed in the bracket.
Tennessee opens up conference play Wednesday night at the defending SEC champion Alabama.