Tennessee Basketball: 5 Things Vols Have to do to be Successful in SEC Play

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Nov 23, 2016; Lahaina, Maui, HI, USA; Tennessee Volunteers coach Rick Barnes coaching on the sidelines against the Chaminade Silverswords during day three of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee basketball begins Southeastern Conference play against Texas A&M. Here are five keys to the Volunteers being successful in the league.

Tennessee basketball may be entering SEC play with just a 7-5 record, but the Vols are currently in the Top 100 of the RPI.

With the No. 30 ranked strength of schedule, they have a great chance to make the NCAA Tournament with their RPI resume at the end of the year. After all, a tough schedule is the first step, and that ranking will only go up in conference play.

The next step is getting eligible, which means finishing with a winning record.

But the final step is actually getting a few quality wins.

That is where the Vols are currently lacking. While all five of their losses are to Top 100 RPI teams, including four to Top 50 RPI teams and three to Top 25 RPI teams, they have yet to actually win a game against a Top 100 RPI team.

With 18 SEC games coming along with a non-conference match-up against the Kansas State Wildcats, the Vols have 15 chances to beat teams currently in the Top 100 of the RPI.

Of course, this is subject to change, but it still gives them plenty of opportunities to get those quality wins.

Doing that and finishing with 11 wins in SEC play might be enough to get them to the tournament considering their schedule strength.

However, Rick Barnes’s team has to do a lot of things right and improve in certain areas to reach that goal.

Here are the five keys to success for Tennessee basketball entering SEC play.

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