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Tennessee Basketball Remains As Projected One-Seed Despite Kentucky Loss

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball concluded the regular season with a disappointing 85-81 loss against Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.

But despite the disappointing home loss, the Vols remain on the one-line in the NCAA Tournament entering conference tournament week according to both CBS Jerry Palm and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

According to Lunardi, Arizona would have surpassed Tennessee for the final one seed if they would have beaten USC on Saturday night.

Instead, a bad USC team barely broke a sweat in a 78-65 victory over Arizona. The road loss marked the Wildcats fifth conference loss in a bad Pac 12 and their fourth loss in Quad 2 and Quad 3 games this season.

While Arizona hurt itself more than Tennessee did on Saturday, North Carolina asserted itself as a true contender for the final one-seed with a win at Duke. The Tar Heels now boast a 25-6 (17-3 ACC) record and have a 7-4 record against Quad 1 opponents and two losses against a Quad 2 opponent.

More From RTI: Tennessee ‘Way Too Emotional’ Early In Loss Against Kentucky

There was double bad news for Tennessee basketball’s NCAA Tournament resume on Saturday. In addition to losing against Kentucky, Florida’s loss at Vanderbilt moved its home win over the Gators from a Quad 1 to a Quad 2 win.

Tennessee ends the regular season with a 24-7 (14-4 SEC) record and a 7-6 record against Quad 1 opponents and a 6-1 record against Quad 2 opponents. Though Florida remains right around the No. 30 ranking in NET and could still end up being a Quad 1 win.

Still, the Vols enter conference tournament week as a one-seed and control their own destiny as they look to earn the first one-seed in program history.

Tennessee opens up play at the SEC Tournament at 1 p.m. ET on Friday afternoon against either Mississippi State or LSU. Mississippi State would be a Quad 1 win opportunity while LSU would be a Quad 2 win opportunity. If the Vols get past either the Bulldogs or Tigers they’ll likely face either Auburn or South Carolina in the SEC Tournament Semifinals.

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