The Vols blew a 19 point lead and saw their four game win streak ended at Mississippi State.
Before the game Tennessee had over a 50% chance of making the tournament, however, after the loss that number fell all the way down to. . . 43.9%. The loss to Mississippi State wasn’t a death blow, but it shrunk the margin for error.
The Vols were helped by Kansas State’s impressive road victory over Baylor. This upcoming week will tell the tale of Tennessee’s tournament chances. The Vols host Ole Miss on Wednesday (54 in the RPI after a road win at Vanderbilt) and Georgia (50 in the RPI) Saturday.
Tennessee needs to hold home court for a clean sweep. Doing so will negate the meltdown to State and avenge the earlier collapse vs the Rebels.
The remaining schedule is a nice mix of winnable games and opportunities to really bolster the resume. Six of the last eight games will come against top 100 RPI teams. The simplest route for Tennessee to make its way in the tournament is to win their five remaining home games. They host Ole Miss, Georgia, Missouri (236 in RPI, must win), Vanderbilt (56), Alabama (73) and beat LSU on the road (132).
Squandering the big lead to Mississippi State hurt the Vols in the SEC standings, but their chances of playing meaningful basketball in March are still alive.