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WATCH: Barnes Previews SEC Tournament

Betting Futures: SEC Champion

Tennessee is a day away from opening up play at the SEC Tournament in Tampa where they’ll face the winner of South Carolina and Mississippi State’s matchup.

The Vols are the No. 2 seed in the tournament earning a double-bye for the fourth straight SEC Tournament that’s been played — the Vols were the No. 8 seed in the cancelled 2020 tournament.

The double-bye and six days off between Tennessee’s final regular season game and first postseason game gives the banged up Vols time to rest.

“We were able to hopefully get some guys on their good side of being healthy, just some nicks and bruises, and some of them weren’t little, but we were hoping so,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. We needed a good day today and make sure we need back with timing and everything, but we just felt like getting a couple guys healthy was more important the last couple days.”

Tennessee went 3-0 against the Gamecocks and and Bulldogs this season, earning a pair of 20-point victories over South Carolina and a road win at Mississippi State.

Both teams — particularly South Carolina — has played better as the year’s gone on.

“Both of those teams are 9-9 in the league now and they both have had to really fight and scratch like everybody in the league,” Baernes said. “I don’t think they have changed a whole lot in what we have looked at in the last two days. Whoever works out, hopefully we will be ready.”

If Tennessee wins its Friday night matchup, the Vols will face either Vanderbilt, Alabama or Kentucky in Saturday’s semifinal. Advanced models are high on Tennessee’s chances to make a run in Tampa.

In his Wednesday media availability, Barnes also discussed what makes his backcourt so effective, Josiah-Jordan James belonging on the SEC All-Defensive team and more.


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