Tuesday night, the Tennessee Volunteers took on the Florida Gators in a game that had huge implications for both teams. A loss for Florida meant that the Gators were all but out of the race for a number 1 seed, while a win for the Volunteers all but assured Tennessee a place on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. The Volunteers pulled off the upset in Rocky Top winning 64-58.
Tennessee overcame terrible refereeing early to take a lead into the half. Jordan McRae had 17 points in the first half and finished the game with 27; can any team in the SEC stop him? The Volunteers won largely in part to their defense. Florida just couldn’t seem to get points when it really mattered.
Florida has some cleaning up to do. Although the game says more about Tennessee then it does Florida, the Gators can’t afford to lose games like this. Florida needed to take Tennessee’s 5 game (now six game) winning streak and crush it. This loss takes the Gators behind so many other teams in the discussion for the number one seed, that Billy Donovan’s team should expect a 2 seed.
Tennessee is the hottest team in the country and looks nearly unstoppable on defense and offense. The Volunteers weren’t even close to an NCAA tournament berth a month ago, but head coach Cuonzo Martin’s teams always do well in crunch time. If the Volunteers can finish the season strong, Tennessee will steal a tournament berth from a team in a lesser conference. Good win for the Volunteers.