The University of Tennessee Men’s basketball team is without a doubt the hottest team in the SEC heading into this years SEC Tournament.
One could easily argue that they’re the hottest team in the nation.
The Vols were able to take care of business down the stretch and sat back as Auburn faltered, going 3-3 in their final six games. Tennessee capped the regular season this past Saturday with a 66-61 win over the Georgia Bulldogs and claimed a share of the SEC Regular Season title for the first time since 2008.
UT will now head to St. Louis for the SEC Tournament where they have the best chance to win it all at 28 percent, according to a poll on the SEC Network. We will give you everything on Tennessee’s trip to St. Louis, their side of the bracket and what they will need to win.
What does Tennessee need to do to win the whole thing.
Everyone knows the Vols are at their best when they crash the boards.
When Tennessee wins the rebounding battle they’re 11-1 and they’re a respectable 9-5 when they lose the rebounding battle and 3-1 when the Vols tie with their opponent in rebounds.
So, if you ever see a stat this weekend that shows Tennessee ahead in rebounds, expect them to get stronger.
Another must have in this weekend’s tournament is the Vols need to play as one. This is a given for any team going into a tournament, but this gets included because these guys are young and this is the first amount of success they’ve experienced on Rocky Top.
If one unravels and tries to take control, they all might unravel and Tennessee might see an earlier exit than some expect.
Tennessee’s side of the bracket and who would be the worst matchup for the team.
For those who haven’t seen the SEC Tournament lineup, Tennessee’s side is a lot more favorable than the other side where their co-champion Auburn is.
The two-seeded Vols hold a combined 7-1 record against teams on their side of the bracket, the lone loss came to a senior heavy Arkansas team in the SEC opener on Dec. 30th.
So, Tennessee matches up nicely with their side, but also there are more possible sleepers in the top half than people think. You would rather draw a 10-seed LSU team or a three-seed Florida team, both teams that Tennessee beat compared to fifth-seed Missouri who beat Tennessee in an ugly game back in mid-January.
However, that matchup would only happen if both made it to the championship game Sunday.
So, the question is…
Who isn’t a good matchup for the Vols in their half of the bracket?
The two teams Tennessee doesn’t want to see in their half of the bracket would be Arkansas and Mississippi State. The Vols beat the Bulldogs handedly in Starkville, but they’re also a team that’s right on the bubble.
All State needs is one quality win over a Tennessee-type team who is already in and they should make the big dance.
You also have Arkansas who is full of seniors who are well-experienced in games, guys like Jaylen Barford can flip the switch on at any time. This team also knows what it’s like to win in March and is dangerous this time of the year.
The tournament is set and the floor is together. You should expect a great weekend full of exciting games in this year’s edition of the SEC Tournament.
Written by: Jake Wallman
Edited by: Sam Forman