Tennessee basketball is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight time, landing as the four-seed in the East Region.
The Vols will face 13-seed Louisiana in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday in Orlando, Florida. If Tennessee gets past the Ragin’ Cajuns they’ll run into the winner of five-seed Duke and 12-seed Oral Roberts in the Round of 32 Sunday.
Other top teams in the East Region include Purdue, Marquette, Kansas State and Kentucky.
The Vols and Ragin’ Cajuns face off at 9:40 p.m. ET Thursday night on CBS.
Tennessee lands in the NCAA Tournament after posting a 23-10 (11-7 SEC) record in the regular season and conference tournament. The Vols landed a five-seed in last week’s NCAA Tournament where they lost to Missouri in the quarterfinals.
The Vols started the season fast, earning impressive non conference wins over Kansas and Maryland. Rick Barnes’ eighth Tennessee team was playing its best basketball in the end of January when the Vols knocked off Texas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
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Tennessee climbed to No. 2 in the AP Poll before disappointing down the stretch of the season. After knocking off Texas, the Vols posted a 5-7 record down the stretch of the season.
Barnes’ team battled injuries all season long with Josiah-Jordan James and Julian Phillips missing extended time while Santiago Vescovi and Tyreke Key each missed a handful of games. All four players are healthy in time for the NCAA Tournament, however, sophomore point guard Zakai Zeigler is sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
The Vols are 2-2 since Zeigler suffered his knee injury but have struggled in end of game situations.
Stay tuned as Rocky Top Insider will have complete coverage of the Tennessee’s run in the NCAA Tournament.