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NCAA Basketball SEC BasketballTennessee Volunteers

Bubble Watch: Tennessee Shows Toughness in Crucial Victory Over Missouri

Randy Sartin-USA Today Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers have molded themselves into the definition of a bubble team over the course of the past month or so.

The best thing that they have going for them however, is their current momentum. Following a crucial victory on Saturday against a visiting Missouri team that is already bound for the NCAA Tournament, the Vols have now won eight of their last nine games overall.

While jostling for potential positions with a number of other teams that are considered to be on the bubble, Tennessee faced a must-win situation on Saturday. A well-balanced attack for the Volunteers helped Tennessee erase a late, second-half deficit, which they carried forward en-route to a 64-62 victory.

Jordan McRae led the way with 15 points, while sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes had a monster game with 13 points and 13 rebounds. The dynamic inside-outside duo does not carry this Tennessee squad, but their production has been crucial in team’s recent stretch. On Saturday however, Trae Golden added 13 points, while Josh Richardson chipped in with 11, giving the Volunteers that great balance on the offensive end.

With the win, Tennessee pressed forward to 19-11 overall, carrying forth an 11-7 mark within the SEC. As the Volunteers await their first opponent in the SEC Tournament, they certainly should feel a lot more comfortable having secured the victory that they did on Saturday.

There probably is still a bit more work to do for Tennessee, but should they be able to win a game or two within the SEC Tournament, the Vols should feel safe in terms of hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS