Bubble Watch: Tennessee Basketball Should be in NCAA Tournament After Dominant Win

By Greg Douglas
Randy Sartin-USA Today Sports

In an SEC bubble battle, one team soared to new heights as the other plummeted to earth in a fiery explosion that saw its NCAA tournament hopes go up in smoke. With a week left to go before Selection Sunday, the bubble picture is starting to become a little clearer as teams either cement their tournament standing or play their way out of tournament contention. In a defacto bubble elimination game, the Tennessee Volunteers proved worthy of a tournament bid while the Missouri Tigers looked lost and confused as to what sport they were supposed to be playing.

Tennessee solidified its place in the NCAA tournament Saturday as Rocky Top toppled over the Missouri Tigers 72-45 in Knoxville. This win continues the Volunteers march toward the tournament as the team looks to earn its first tournament berth in years behind a trio that will not be held down.

Jarnell Stokes took charge of the game against the Tigers scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in his double-double effort. Jordan McRae and Antonio Barton combined for 27 points that continued Tennessee’s trajectory upward while virtually eliminating Missouri from bubble contention.

As the postseason gets closer and closer, the Volunteers seem to be getting better as other teams are starting to tire. In Tennessee’s last three games, the Vols have outscored their opponents by an average of 31 points. Tennessee is peaking at the right time and are playing like one of the favorites entering the postseason, but will this trend continue throughout both the conference and NCAA tournaments?

The Volunteers have playmakers all over the court and the smooth transition of Barton to point guard has been phenomenal. Tennessee has had several rough patches this season, but are meshing well at the right time, so do not be surprised if the Vols are that double-digit seed that makes a run in the tournament.

Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.

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