5 players Tennessee doesn’t want to see in the SEC Tournament

On Wednesday night, Tennessee knocked off Auburn and will likely be the top seed in the SEC Tournament, but these players could still put a scare into Rick Barnes when the Volunteers finally get to Nashville.

Tennessee forward Tobe Awaka (11) guards Auburn Johni Broome (4)
Tennessee forward Tobe Awaka (11) guards Auburn Johni Broome (4) / Angelina Alcantar/News Sentinel / USA
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1. . Tolu Smith. Tolu Smith. . F. player. Senior. Tolu Smith. 530

The way I see it, Mississippi State might be Tennessee’s worst matchup in the SEC Tournament. If a team like Alabama or Kentucky wants to turn the game into a track meet, Tennessee is better at that they are, but teams like Mississippi State and Texas A&M will drag the Vols down into the mud, increase the value of every possession, and that can introduce a lot of random variance with a smaller sample size. 

Tolu Smith is the best combination of the two things that can beat Tennessee in the entire conference. He combines the tenacious physical rebounding of Garcia with the post-play of Broome to average 17.1 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. 

Against Tennesee, Smith scored 23 points on just 10 shots and went 9-12 from the free throw line. Both Aidoo and Awaka fouled out and the Bulldogs won while shooting just 6-18 from three. Tennessee has three SEC losses, two to physical slow-paced teams, A&M and Mississippi State, and a third to South Carolina on a night when the Vols just couldn’t hit any shots. 

Tennessee is the best team in the SEC and if they can avoid a slugfest with the Bulldogs or a rock fight with the Aggies, then they’ll win the conference tournament. Right now the Vols are my pick to win the National Championship.

All-time March Madness starting lineup. All-time March Madness starting lineup. dark. Next