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NCAA Basketball Tennessee Volunteers

2014 NCAA Tournament: Tennessee’s Five Most Important Players

2014 NCAA Tournament: The Five Most Important Players For Tennessee

Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images

The Tennessee Volunteers will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes Wednesday night in the last of the “First Four” games to kick off the 2014 NCAA Tournament, with the winner moving on to play No. 6 seed UMass in the Midwest Region on Friday afternoon.

Here are the five most important players for Tennessee as they attempt to make a long run in this year’s Big Dance.-

5. G Josh Richardson

Josh Richardson, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images

5. G Josh Richardson

Josh Richardson, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images

Richardson’s season-high in points (20) came in what turned out to be an important non-conference win over Virginia. I don't expect his numbers to stand out, but it would not surprise me to see Richardson come up with a clutch play or two for the Volunteers during the NCAA Tournament.

4. G Antonio Barton

Antonio Barton, NCAA Tournament, Tennessee Volunteers
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

4. G Antonio Barton

Antonio Barton, NCAA Tournament, Tennessee Volunteers
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Barton averaged 17 points per game over the final three regular season games when the Volunteers needed to win games, and his perimeter scoring will be important going forward if Jordan McRae continues to struggle.

3. F Jeronne Maymon

Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

3. F Jeronne Maymon

Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Maymon missed the entire 2012-2013 season with a right knee injury, but he returned this season and is Tennessee’s second-leading rebounder (8.2 per game) and third-leading scorer (10.1 points per game).

2. F Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

2. F Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Stokes is averaging 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season, with 19 double-doubles. If Tennessee makes a run to the Sweet 16 or beyond, his performance on both ends of the floor will be a big reason why.

1. G Jordan McRae

Jordan McRae, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images

1. G Jordan McRae

Jordan McRae, Tennessee Volunteers, NCAA Tournament
Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images

McRae is Tennessee’s leading scorer this season (18.6 points per game), but he has gone just 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) from beyond the arc over the last five games. He can carry the Volunteers when he gets hot (seven games with 25 or more points this season), but McRae's defensive effort, starting with a potential matchup with Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble Wednesday night, will be just as important.