The Tennessee Volunteers advanced to the third round of the 2013 SEC tournament on Thursday with a 69-53 win against Mississippi State.
The Vols led by 16 at halftime and were able to maintain that margin throughout the second half.
Jordan McRae led the Vols in scoring with 17 points. Trae Golden added 15 points for the Volunteers.
Jarnell Stokes nearly had his 15th double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Craig Sword led the Bulldogs in scoring with 19 points.
Tennessee was put in a must-win situation yet again on Thursday. The Vols, who have been put in and out of the tournament by various analysts more times then I care to count, are still anything but a lock for the field of 68.
With the win Tennessee improved their overall record to 20-11.
The Vols got some help on Thursday — UCLA beat bubble team Arizona State 80-75. Tennessee will also need to turn into NC State fans for the day on Friday. The Wolfpack take on fellow bubble team, the Virginia Cavaliers.
The Volunteers will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday at 3:30 pm est.
Tennessee and Alabama split their season series, with each team winning at home.
The Crimson Tide have an identical 20-11 record. Alabama finished the regular season with a 61-58 win over the Georgia Bulldogs.
The game will be aired on ESPNU on Friday.