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Former SEC Coach Says Tennessee Can Win It All

Can #5 Houston Make The Elite Eight (+350)?

After receiving a three-seed slot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, the Vols have been widely considered one of the most intimidating teams in the field of 68. A team that could have been fighting for a one-seed, but definitely should have been in consideration for a two-seed, will now use that as motivation as they enter the tournament.

For as badly as Tennessee was seeded, though, No. 1 seed Arizona and No. 2 seed Villanova should be much more worried. Both Arizona and Villanova have to deal with a Top 5 team in the AP Rankings in the three-seed slot, and Arizona has already lost to Tennessee on the season.

Again, for as badly as Tennessee was seeded, the route isn’t horrible by any stretch. The Vols are a lockdown defensive team that won’t be intimidated because of the leadership in the locker room.

On Monday night, former Georgia head coach Tom Crean had an encouraging comment for his old SEC East foe.

“Not to mention that [Tennessee Basketball] could win the [March Madness tournament] as a 3 seed,” Crean posted to Twitter. “Teams don’t want any part of [Kentucky] or [Arkansas] either.”

Crean, who was the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs from 2018 to 2022, was let go by Georgia’s administration on Mar. 10.

See Also from RTI: Committee Snubs Tennessee in NCAA Tournament Seeding

In addition, Crean wasn’t the only former head coach from the NCAA to make a prediction for Tennessee.

Former Arizona head coach Sean Miller has also made a prediction, except his has Tennessee losing in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

“Colorado State is the team that’s going to go to the Sweet 16,” Miller said on the Field of 68 Podcast via KnoxNews. “They’re so hard to defend. They’re going to play Michigan, and when they beat Michigan, I think that’s where Tennessee bows out because of Tennessee’s offense. I just think Colorado State will score on Tennessee, even though Tennessee is an elite defensive team.”

I understand potentially being worried about Tennessee’s ability to score throughout the entire tournament knowing the team is still prone to three to four-minute scoring droughts. However, it seems difficult to make the prediction that anyone will have a relatively simple time scoring on Tennessee.

Kentucky couldn’t do it twice. Arkansas couldn’t do it. Auburn couldn’t do it, either. The Vols have only let up more than 68 points on one occasion in their last 12 games, which was during a 78-74 win over Arkansas in Knoxville. Make no mistake about it – Tennessee’s defense is their biggest strength heading into the tournament.

A lot of teams have tried to put up points on Tennessee’s defense, and not many teams have had much success in the past month of play.

The Volunteers enter the NCAA March Madness tournament as a No. 3 seed in the South Region. The Vols’ first matchup will be against Longwood on Thursday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. ET.

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