It’s February and that means that ESPN’s Joe Lunardi is putting out new bracketology updates every day. After knocking off LSU 88-68 on Wednesday night, the Vols made a significant jump.
Lunardi bumped up Tennessee to the one-line as the lowest rated No. 1 seed after their win over the Tigers. According to ESPN, Purdue is currently the No. 1 overall seed followed by UConn, Houston and then Tennessee.
However, the Vols’ time as a one-seed may be short lived. Arizona travels to Salt Lake City to face a strong Utah team on Thursday night. If the Wildcats knock off Utah, they’ll leapfrog Tennessee and claim the final No. 1 seed according to Lunardi. Arizona is 5.5-point favorites in the Pac 12 matchup according to ESPN Bet.
Tennessee basketball is 17-5 (7-2 SEC) at the midway point in conference play. The Vols are one of four SEC teams (Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina) atop the conference standings with two losses.
Rick Barnes’ ninth Tennessee team has a pair of elite wins in conference play, dominating Alabama at home and knocking off Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The Vols two losses came at Mississippi State and home against South Carolina. Both teams are currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Vols are currently 9-5 against Quad 1 and 2 teams this season and are looking to become a one-seed for the first time in program history.
Tennessee is in the thick of the SEC Championship race and has a number of marquee games remaining including home matchups against Auburn and Kentucky as well as road games at Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina.
The Vols return to the court on Saturday night where they’ll face the Aggies in College Station. Tipoff between Tennessee and Texas A&M is at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.