Tennessee Volunteers Desperately Need A Win At Florida

By Trevor Lowry
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers sit at 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. They have bubble written all over them and they desperately need a win at Florida this weekend.

Sure, Tennessee will still get to play the Gators at home, but it lost the only matchup of the season to Kentucky.

If the season ended today, I would have to say that the Volunteers are in the NCAA tournament. They have beaten Xavier, Virginia, LSU and Arkansas. Their losses have come against Xavier, Wichita State, UTEP, North Carolina State, Texas A&M and Kentucky. They shouldn’t have lost some of those games, but they do have some quality wins and they are very talented.

It helps that they have one of the best players in the conference on their team in Jordan McRae (19.2 PPG).

Rather than playing their way into the dance at the last minute, the Volunteers need to earn their bid now. Beating Florida would help towards that feat. The Gators have won 10 games in a row and are ranked No. 6 in both major polls.

Tennessee has had a lot of success against Florida recently, so the upset would not be that surprising. It did win the only matchup last year. The Volunteers will still have more opportunities to earn their bid, but Florida is by far the toughest opponent left on the schedule, which means it would be the most meaningful victory. At the same time, losing would not hurt whatsoever.

There is still a lot of basketball to be played in the regular season. If Tennessee loses this game it may have to beat Florida at home on Feb. 11 just to make the 2014 NCAA Tournament. That is just speculation, though.

I will say this, though, this team finished 20-12 (11-7 SEC) last season and that was not good enough for the tournament committee.

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