Fresh off their first SEC Tournament Championship since 1979, the Volunteers are eager to start the NCAA Tournament on Thursday with one mission remaining, to win a school’s first National Championship in College Basketball. Quite possibly send their beloved Head Coach, Rick Barnes out on a cloud of euphoria as Coach Barnes nears the end of his coaching career in College Basketball.
So, does Tennessee have a chance to reach a Final Four this March, and how will the Volunteers go about doing so with history against them?
In all honesty, out of all the recent Tennessee Volunteers Basketball teams in the last ten years or so, this is the team to do so. What the Volunteers did in the SEC Tournament over the weekend is just a small portion of what the College Basketball fans can expect over the next three weeks.
Like any other program with a talented roster, Tennessee has the full potential to reach a Final Four this season. However, when Tennessee has a hot shooting night from behind the arc, then it’s hard to beat the Volunteers, but when the Volunteers are cold from three-point land, then Tennessee turns into one of the most frustrating teams in the country with no shot at advancing to the Final Four in New Orleans.
So which Tennessee team will show up?
From a Basketball standpoint, Tennessee is riding high following the 65-50 win over Texas A&M, and for the first few rounds of the NCAA Tournament, I just don’t foresee a matchup in which Tenessee gets beat. Tennessee opens its NCAA Tournament with an outmanned Longwood team who is just happy to have the chance to go dancing. In the second round, Tennessee is likely to face Colorado State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Colorado State is a tricky team to prepare for because they remind College Basketball of a scrappy Texas A&M team who Tennessee beat by fifteen points on Sunday.
Where it gets interesting for the Volunteers is in the Regional itself when Tennessee will likely have to go through Villanova and Arizona to reach the Final Four. Both of which the Volunteers have already played this season, Tennessee lost to Villanova back in November and defeated Arizona in late December.
Overall, Tennessee has the roster to make the Final Four, and in all honesty, they have one of the most favorable paths to get there but, like it normally does in the Tournament, Tennesse’s pathway to the Final Four will come down to the matchups on the floor and Tennessee remaining consistent with the brand of Basketball that has gotten the Volunteers this far this season.
Tennessee and Longwood will Tip-off on Thursday at 2:45 eastern standard time with a national broadcast on CBS.