The premier bracket consensus site has the Baby Vols in the First Four Out.
I’ve tried with varying success to figure out bracketology over the last several years. One thing I’ve known every year is a constant truth: the bubble is always terrible. Very forgettable teams with 19-14 or 20-14 records get in. They’re almost all from Power Five conferences. Occasionally, public shaming will force the committee into putting in a small conference 26-win team (think MTSU in 2013), but it’s not very often. This is all to say that Tennessee is somehow the second team out of the field, per the premier bracketology site on the internet. The Baby Vols are…alive? I guess?
Bracket Matrix collects over 100 brackets throughout the course of the season. These brackets are of varying goodness, but having a sample size of at least 80 every night is a great way to determine where teams stand. I don’t know how long this holds, but Tennessee is currently hanging around by a thread. They’re placed in 34 of 87 brackets.
I mean, I don’t know what to tell you. It goes to show that Tennessee’s NCAA Tournament candidacy is somehow alive and mildly okay. This is probably because – as always – the bubble is terrible. Here’s the last six at-large teams in.
Syracuse is probably safe for now, but look at these teams: Illinois State is only in because they’re tied for the Missouri Valley lead with Wichita State; they will not be in the field as an at-large. Arkansas lost to Missouri literally nine days ago. Seton Hall just lost to 12-14 St. John’s. Michigan beat Indiana, but they were 0-6 on the road this season before that. Marquette has lost four of five. None of these teams are safely in the field.
In terms of those on the outside looking in with the Vols, Wake Forest will be underdogs in four of their final five games. Rhode Island doesn’t seem to be getting much at-large respect. Clemson is 3-9 in the ACC. Georgia Tech will be underdogs in three of their final six. Indiana has been terrible for a month now. The Vols are somehow in perfect position to steal a bid.
I don’t know how we got here, but Tennessee may end up being an NCAA Tournament team by default. This is an atrocious bubble. The Vols’ advantageous schedule down the stretch (favorites in four of their final six) may push them over the top. They’ll need six wins between the regular season and SEC Tournament to assuredly get in, but…yeah. I guess we’re still doing this.