NCAA Selection Sunday 2014: Did The Vols Do Enough To Make The Tournament?


Mar 15, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tennessee Volunteers forward Jarnell Stokes (5) and forward Jeronne Maymon (34) battle for a rebound with Florida Gators forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) during the first half in the semifinals of the SEC college basketball tournament at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

General consensus heading into the SEC tournament was that Tennessee needed to win at least one game in order to solidify a NCAA tournament bid.

The Vols were able to get that win against South Carolina in the quarterfinals. Tennessee’s stifling defense held South Carolina to only 44 points, as the Vols won 59-44.

The win set up yet another matchup between Tennessee and the top-ranked Florida Gators.

A win against Florida would have not only locked down a bid for the Vols, but drastically improved their seeding.

Unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards for Tennessee. The Vols played valiantly, even leading by ten in the first half, but Florida’s defense was just too much. The Gators held Tennessee to 14 second-half points, as Florida won 56-49.

And with that, the Vols finished the season with a 21-12 record.

That record is actually only one win better that their 2012-13 record. A record that ended up getting the Vols into the NIT, where they lost in the first round.

21-12 should be good enough to get the Vols into the tournament this year, but then again I thought 20-12 was good enough last season.

The Vols were left out last season, with 12 losses, while three other teams (Illinois, Minnesota and Villanova) received at-large bids with 12 or more losses.

This season it appears the Vols have locked down their bid, regardless of what happens today in the rest of the nation.

Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s resident “bracketologist”, currently (as of Sunday morning) has the Vols in the tournament as a #11 seed in the midwest region. They’re not among the “last four in”, which means Tennessee is not projected to play in one of the four “play-in” games.

Lunardi does, however, have the Vols as one of the “last four byes”, which means they’re dangerously close to playing in one of those “play-in” games.

Fortunately for the Vols, none of the last four teams in the tournament (according to Lunardi) play today. Which would seemingly mean the Vols’ projection shouldn’t change.

Unfortunately for the Vols, the committee isn’t going to completely agree with Lunardi’s projection, because it’s just that — a projection.

I think the Vols are safely in the tournament, but I can’t guarantee they won’t get thrown into one of the “play-in” games.

Tennessee did enough this season, but their road in the NCAA tournament is likely to be a bumpy one.