March Madness 2022: NCAA Tournament Round of 64 rooting guide for Tennessee Vols fans

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Dec 11, 2019; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Chattanooga Mocs head coach Lamont Paris looks on during the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of what goes into a deep run in March Madness is who a team gets the break of playing…or avoiding. Heck, that’s with any tournament. Tennessee basketball lucked out in the SEC Tournament and won the title with help from the Texas A&M Aggies, who upset the Auburn Tigers and then the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The Vols have a lot of things working in their favor given the field in the South Region. Based on their best matchups, in most cases, it’s pretty obvious who they should root for in games outside of their own, where they should obviously root for themselves over the Longwood Lancers.

This post will break down who Vol fans should root for in every other game in the South Region to give them their best chance at the Final Four. The games will also be ranked based on how much of an impact that result could have on them. Here is the March Madness rooting guide for Tennessee basketball fans in the South Region.

7. Chattanooga Mocs (13-seed) over Illinois Fighting Illini (4-seed)

Friday, March 18 at 6:50 p.m. ET; PPG Paints Arena; Pittsburgh, Pa.; TNT

Is there really any doubt about this one? Obviously seeing the Chattanoga Mocs beat the Illinois Fighting Illini would be desirable for the Vols. Brad Underwood’s team at Illinois could be a tough matchup for Rocky Top, and they are one of the top four teams projected to make the Sweet 16 based on their seeding.

There is a key reason this is the least important game on here, though, and it’s the fact that Rocky Top wouldn’t see either team until the Elite Eight. If they make it that far, they will have already been successful in March Madness.

Timing of opponent is relevant, and that’s enough to say this is the least important game in the South Region for UT. You could say Illinois winning might be more valuable since they could knock off the Arizona Wildcats, but they aren’t good enough to do so, and honestly, they may not get out of the second round to do that. As a result, this game won’t affect the Vols at all.

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