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Tennessee basketball fell right outside the top five in this week’s AP Poll after a 1-1 week saw them drop a game at Florida and pick up a gritty, low scoring win over then-No. 25 Auburn.
The Vols are rapidly approaching a critical stretch of games in a loaded February slate. Tennessee heads on the road to face a middling Vanderbilt team Wednesday before returning home to face a strong Missouri team under first year coach Dennis Gates. Rick Barnes’ team then faces its most challenging week of the season, hosting No. 3 Alabama before traveling to Rupp Arena to face Kenucky.
So where does Tennessee stand in Bracketology updates ahead of the stretch? Let’s take a look.
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ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Tennessee on the two-line, coming in as the second highest seed in the East Regional. Playing the open weekend in Greensboro, Lunardi has Tennessee facing Colgate in the first round before a potential Round of 32 matchup with seven-seed Duke or 10-seed West Virginia.
There’s a handful of interesting notes about the projection. Tennessee faced Colgate in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament with both teams holding the same seeds. The Vols would also potentially have to play a lower seeded Duke team much closer to the Blue Devils home court.
Other top seeds in the East Regional include No. 1 Houston, No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 TCU and No. 5 Rutgers.
The Vols are one of six SEC teams in Lunardi’s projected tournament, joining one-seed Alabama, eight-seed Missouri, eight-seed Auburn, 10-seed Kentucky and 11-seed Arkansas. Arkansas and Kentucky are in the ” last four byes” while Texas A&M and Florida are the first two teams out of his projected field.
CBS’ Jerry Palm also has Tennessee as a two-seed playing its open weekend games in Greensboro, but instead of the East Regional, Palm has the Vols in the South Regional.
In CBS projection, Tennessee would face Colgate in the first game before facing either seven-seed Providence or 10-seed Northwestern in the Round of 32.
Other top seeds in the South Regional include one-seed Purdue, three-seed Iowa State, four-seed UCLA and five-seed TCU.
Palm is truly projecting deja-vu from the 2019 NCAA Tournament. In addition to the Vols facing Colgate to open the tournament, Tennessee could face Purdue in a second weekend game at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.