The Tennessee basketball Vols 70-58 victory over Kansas State on Saturday was their third straight victory. The Vols moved up to 41st in the RPI.
It also gave the Vols their second straight Top 50 RPI win and increased their tournament odds to 42.7%, up from 33.1% prior to tip-off.
Tennessee currently has six wins over Top 100 RPI teams- three of which have come on the road. Their worst loss currently is the season opener to 106th ranked Chattanooga. Seven of their nine losses are to current Top 30 teams.
Odds of getting in with 19 wins took a slight dip to 67% following Kentucky’s loss to Kansas, but it still seems to be the magic number for At Large consideration.
Tennessee entered their three game home stand focused on positioning themselves for a spot in the NIT, but a surprising 3-0 stretch has Tennessee fans and Rick Barnes thinking about bigger aspirations as they head on the road to take on the Auburn Tigers on Tuesday.
Rick Barnes on whether #Vols are playing themselves into NCAAt bubble talk: Sure. Why not? Long way to go, but look at our schedule.
— GoVols247 (@GoVols247) January 28, 2017
Auburn did Tennessee a favor on Saturday by rallying to beat TCU on the road 88-80. Bruce Pearl’s Tigers currently sit 60th in RPI. Beating Auburn would add another solid road win to the resume, whereas Tennessee dropping the game would not be catastrophic.
Yes, it would hurt and is a game that they should be able to win, but the Vols need to go 7-3 over their last ten regular season games to get to the 19-win mark. The only potential catastrophic losses that Rick Barnes and the boys must avoid are LSU and Missouri. Throw Saturday’s game at Mississippi State in as a potentially crippling loss.