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Bracketology: Tracking Tennessee Basketball’s Offseason Movement

Chaz Lanier
Tennessee signee Chaz Lanier. Photo via Chaz Lanier.

The college basketball world has made plenty of noise this offseason with prominent coaching changes, transfer portal activity, and final preparations for conference realignment heading into the 2024 season.

Coming off a run to the Elite Elite last season, Rick Barnes’ Tennessee Volunteers dealt with a significant amount of outgoing activity with the portal and graduation but hit a grand slam with four solid transfer players coming into the program.

Tennessee will now work to combine their returning and incoming pieces throughout the summer for another run to the second weekend of the postseason and potentially beyond.

ESPN expert Joe Lunardi released his latest Bracketology report on the final day of May without too many changes to his overall Tennessee projection throughout the offseason.

Lunardi has Tennessee projected as the four-seed in the East Region (Newark) with a first-round matchup against 13-seed Louisiana Tech. Tennessee then has a fascinating potential second-round matchup against SEC foe five-seed Texas if the Longhorns were to take down 12-seed Bradley in the first round.

The four-team pod is projected to be slated in Cleveland, Ohio.

Other notable projections for the East Region include back-to-back National Champion UConn as the one-seed, Iowa State as the two-seed, and North Carolina as the three-seed. SEC foe Mississippi State comes in as the seven-seed in the region while friend of Tennessee’s program Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans are projected as the eight-seed. Missouri is projected for a play-in game as the 11-seed in the East Region as well.

The SEC gained a team from the previous projections, too. The conference previously had 10 selections in the May 3 and May 15 projections but is up to 11 with the addition of Missouri as one of the last four teams in:

Midwest (Indianapolis): 2. Auburn, 5. Arkansas

West (San Francisco): 6. Texas A&M, 7. Kentucky, 9. Florida

South (Atlanta): 2. Alabama, 8. Ole Miss

East (Newark): 4. Tennessee, 5. Texas, 7. Mississippi State, 11. Missouri (play-in)

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The May 31 edition of Lunardi’s March Madness projections is the fourth iteration that the ESPN expert has done so far this season.

Tennessee started out as a five-seed in Lunardi’s projection on April 16, just one day after the Vols’ first transfer portal pickup with Hofstra wing Darlinstone “DStone” Dubar.

By the time the next projection came out on May 3, Tennessee had picked up two more portal pieces with Ohio State center Felix Okpara and Charlotte forward Igor Milicic Jr. The Vols moved up to the four-seed line after their second and third portal pickups.

Tennessee remained as a four-seed with no additional added players before the May 15 bracketology report was released. The Vols did pick up an elite guard on May 24, though, adding the No. 11 prospect in the portal with North Florida guard Chaz Lanier.

Tennessee Bracketology Tracker

April 16: 5-seed West Region vs 12-seed Bradley

May 3: 4-seed West Region vs 13-seed Vermont

May 15: 4-seed South Region vs 13-seed High Point

May 31: 4-seed East Region vs 13-seed Louisiana Tech

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