NCAA Basketball

Soft 16: Tennessee Volunteers

The Tennessee Volunteers

Last Year: 26-9, SEC Regular Season Champions, lost to Kentucky in SEC Tournament Finals, lost in the Round of 32 to Loyola-Chicago.

Key Returners: Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Lamonte Turner

Key Loss: James Daniel

Key Additions: DJ Burns, a four star 6-9 Center from South Carolina

Coach: Rick Barnes

Key Games: vs Louisville, in Phoenix vs #3 Gonzaga, @Memphis, vs West Virginia @Kentucky, vs Kentucky, @Auburn and @LSU

Tennessee is an interesting team.  Last year, they shocked everyone.  They were dominant in the SEC, beating Kentucky twice in the regular season while having people who were 3-4 stars that were all overlooked.  When the SEC tournament came around, they lost to Kentucky in the finals.  They disappointed in NCAA tournament, but they return essentially their entire team.  Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams were unreal last year and Williams was the SEC Player of the Year and remains the favorite for this year.  Rick Barnes was also the SEC Coach of the Year.  This year, expectations are high.  They start the year as a top 10 team, with the ceiling of a #1 team.  Unlike last year, this team has experience and I expect them to do some damage.  In my opinion, we’ll be able to tell how good Tennessee is when they play Louisville and Gonzaga.  Louisville can be anyone’s trap game and a neutral game against Gonzaga could possibly be a top 5 matchup of the season.

Prediction: Tennessee will finish third in the SEC behind Auburn and Kentucky.  They will go 26-4 in the regular season, losing both to Kentucky in the SEC, losing to Gonzaga, and to West Virginia.  They will get knocked out in the Semi-Finals in the SEC Tournament and eventually lose in the Final 4, to Kentucky.

 

 

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