There is no margin of error at this point in the season for bubble teams, as one loss will lead to your extinction from tournament consideration. The SEC was seemingly dead and buried just a few weeks ago, as only two teams had solidified themselves as tournament teams. However, several teams since then, including the Tennessee Volunteers, have risen from the dead in search of an NCAA tournament invitation. Bubble teams must control their situation before looking for help around the country, and with the win, Tennessee continued to take care of its part of the situation.
The Volunteers played like their lives were at stake, which they kind of are, when the team throttled the Auburn Tigers Wednesday. The 82-54 win illustrated Tennessee’s strengths, as the team’s true playmakers played a vital part in the rout. Jarnell Stokes showed what postseason basketball looks like when he delivered 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the winning effort. Jeronne Maymon and Jordan McRae both added 13 points to the cause while playing limited minutes because of the circumstances of the blowout.
Tennessee took care of business in a game the team had to have, but will the momentum carry over into the SEC tournament where the team will need to win at least one game to go dancing? The Vols’ regular season finale comes against another SEC bubble team looking to make a case for postseason play setting up a high stakes game down south.
Tennessee has become the third best team in the SEC, and as long as the team does not suffer a historic collapse in the coming week, they will find themselves in the bracket for the first time in years.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.