All-time Tennessee March Madness starting lineup

Tennessee men's basketball has made quite a few trips to the NCAA Tournament but has never gone deep into March Madness. This team could be the best chance and a few of the 2024 players could become all-time greats.

Tennessee forward Grant Williams (2)
Tennessee forward Grant Williams (2) / Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel
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Center: Dale Ellis

With Williams, a 6-foot-7 power forward who provides outside shooting at power forward, 6-foot-7 Dale Ellis will be forced to move to center. Even in his senior season, Ellis only averaged 6.5 rebounds, so this Vols all-time team may struggle on the boards, but Tennessee has never brought a dominant center to deep into the NCAA Tournament. 

Ellis is essentially another wing in line small-ball lineup and Williams may be the primary big. Regardless of position, the two-time SEC Player of the Year and two-time consensus All-American needed to be included. Ellis averaged over 20 points a game in both his junior and senior seasons and took Tennessee to the NCAA Tournament in each of his four years in Knoxville. 

Despite making the tournament four-straight seasons, Ellis’s teams never advanced past the second round. Head Coach Don DeVoe actually never won more than one game in a single March Madness despite qualifying in six of his 11 seasons. 

When in the tournament, Ellis produced. As a freshman he only scored nine points across his two games, but over his next six tournament games, he averaged 17.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. His best performance came in the 1981 tournament in an overtime win over VCU. Ellis scored 22 points in 45 minutes on just 13 field goal attempts.