The Tennessee basketball Vols are playing meaningful basketball heading into February. Seriously.
FOX Sports Knoxville’s Will Warren was the first to kick around the idea of Rick Barnes’ BabyVols having a realistic path to the NCAA Tournament Bubble. Beating Kansas State (currently 45th in RPI) on Saturday would give Tennessee back-to-back wins over top 50 teams heading into a fairly easy stretch of their schedule. The Vols go to Auburn and Mississippi State next week followed by home games against Ole Miss and Georgia before a Valentine’s Day rematch in Lexington.
The Vols will be favored or will be very slight underdogs in their next five games. The Vols are currently a pick ’em against the Wildcats.
Currently, the Vols sit at 47th in the RPI after moving up 15 spots thanks to the win over Kentucky. TeamRankings.com gives Tennessee a 32.2% chance of receiving an At Large Bid. Last week, that percentage sat at 8.3%.
Their tournament predictor sets the magic number for Tennessee at 19 wins, giving the Vols a 70% chance of receiving a NCAA bid. Below is a breakdown of just how important each win is for Tennessee’s tournament chances.