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Tennessee Paired Against Several Familiar Foes in Latest Bracketology Update

Tennessee Basketball
ORLANDO, FL – March 18, 2023 – Guard Josiah-Jordan James #30 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the second round game of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament between the Duke Blue Devils and the Tennessee Volunteers at Amway Center in Orlando, FL. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.

There’s a familiar foe in Tennessee’s projected region in ESPN’s Bracketology update on Tuesday morning.

Even with March a long way away, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi is keeping track of a potential NCAA Tournament field as the weeks go by. And after a strong win against Illinois last Saturday in Knoxville, Lunardi has Tennessee landing as the No. 3 seed in the South Region in Dallas, Texas.

Lunardi’s projections have Tennessee tagged against fourteen-seed McNeese State in Charlotte, North Carolina. The six-seed and potential Round-of-32 opponent in the region is none other than the Duke Blue Devils.

Tennessee and Duke squared off in the Round-of-32 in Orlando, Florida, last season with the Vols winning by a score of 65-52. The game in the tournament was the 16th matchup between the two teams as both have eight wins in the series.

Other top teams in the South Region include No. 1 Kansas, a team that Tennessee lost to in the third-place Maui Invitational contest, No. 4 Illinois, a team that Tennessee beat last week, and No. 5 Alabama, a team that Tennessee will play twice this season. Other SEC teams in the South region include No. 9 Ole Miss and No. 10 South Carolina.

Tennessee will host Ole Miss in early January and has a home-and-home with South Carolina this season.

More from RTI: No. 12 Tennessee vs. Georgia Southern: How To Watch, Betting Odds, Complete Preview

Tennessee landed at No. 12 in this week’s AP Top 25 rankings. Kentucky, the only other team in the rankings from the SEC, landed two spots behind the Vols at No. 14 in the poll. Lunardi’s projections have Kentucky as a six-seed in the East Region.

The Vols are 6-3 on the season with wins over Tennessee Tech, Wisconsin, Wofford, Syracuse, George Mason, and No. 20 Illinois. Tennessee’s only losses have come to No. 2 Purdue and No. 1 Kansas in the Maui Invitational and to No. 17 North Carolina on the road the following week. The Vols racked up those three losses back-to-back-to-back but have an opportunity to get on a big winning streak with the four remaining games leading into SEC play.

Tennessee will open their SEC slate against Ole Miss at home on January 6 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

The Vols will host Georgia Southern at 7:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday night in the Food City Center.

For a full look at Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology report, click here.

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