5 Things Tennessee Must Do to Make the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament
5 Things Tennessee needs to do to make NCAA tournament
Over the past month, the SEC has been a revolving door of teams bouncing on and off the bubble, so it will be interesting to see just how many tournament bids the conference earns come selection Sunday.
The SEC has been ridiculed due to the conference's top-heavy nature in recent seasons, but several teams that currently sit on the bubble look to put an end to the habitual mockery of the southeastern conference's basketball ability. The team currently feeling the brunt of the pressure for the conference is the Tennessee Volunteers who are currently 16-10 overall and are aiming to make their first tournament appearance since 2011.
The Vols turbulent season started with a loss in the team's opener and has been a roller-coaster ride ever since as the team has struggled against lesser competition. With only one landmark win on the season, Tennessee is lucky to still be in contention for one of the last spots in the tournament, but the Volunteers' individual talent is what has kept hope alive in Knoxville.
Tennessee is one of the best teams currently on the outside looking in, but will the Vols earn a tournament bid down the stretch or will their bubble pop?
If the Volunteers are going to make the NCAA tournament this season, the team must do these five things to supplant themselves firmly in the field of 68.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.
Win Remaining Road Games
The Volunteers have a road record of 2-4 in conference play, but Tennessee has to win its final three road games of the season against mediocre competition in order to earn a tournament berth. With only two true road wins on the season, the Volunteers will have to step up and prove they can perform in a hostile environment to achieve the team's ultimate goal.
Win Season Finale
There is only one quality win left to be had on Tennessee's remaining schedule and that comes in the season finale against the Missouri Tigers. The Volunteers suffered a heartbreaking loss at Missouri just last week, but a chance at redemption looms at home. The SEC only has three teams firmly in the tournament field at the moment, and a victory over one of them would go a long way in aiding Tennessee's campaign
Win at least one game in Conference Tournament
The NCAA tournament picture will be much more clear heading into conference tournament week, but the Volunteers will still have to show up regardless of what is happening around them. Conference tournaments make or break teams across the country as this is the last chance to impress the committee, so Tennessee will need to win at least one game in the SEC tournament. The Volunteers might not necessarily have to win the conference tournament, but this bubble team cannot afford to get bounced in the first round.
In the final weeks of the regular season, the Volunteers will be scoreboard watching as much as any other team currently sitting on the bubble. In order for the Volunteers to cement their place in the big dance, they not only have to win, but have to hope other bubble teams are upset. The Volunteers will be looking for help to get into the tournament as Tennessee's fate is not in its own hands anymore.
Pull for Virginia
Tennessee's one noteworthy win came against the Virginia Cavaliers who currently sit atop the ACC with an overall record of 22-5. The Volunteers dismantled the Cavaliers 87-52 in a win that is looking more impressive by the day. If the Cavaliers go on to win the ACC, that would do wonders for Tennessee's tournament stock. Virginia will undoubtedly be a top three seed heading into the NCAA tournament which could solidify a tournament bid for the Volunteers.