As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 21-12, 11-7 in SEC
Adjusted Offense / Adjusted defense: 113.6 (29th) / 94.01 (15th)
Seed: No. 11 in Midwest (First Four)
Impact player: Jarnell Stokes: 14.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG, .527 FG PCT
The Case For:
Despite their ho-hum record, the Volunteers have played solid basketball lately. Coach Cuonzo Martin’s crew won five straight games before falling in a tightly contested matchup with No. 1 Florida in the SEC semifinals. Tennessee’s defense is the best in the SEC of any team other than the Gators, holding opponents to an average of 61 points per game. Moreover, the stocky post duo of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon help UT dominate the glass on a regular basis; the Vols rank 13th in the country in offensive rebounds per game.
The Case Against:
There’s no telling which Tennessee team will show up on a given day. The same Vols that hung with top-ranked Florida also lost twice to a 17-15 Texas A&M squad this season. UT’s fortunes often fall in the hands of point guard Antonio Barton, a Memphis transfer who’s played well lately but can go ice-cold from the perimeter. When Barton plays well, the Vols often follow suit, but the senior can be erratic in the face of solid defense.
SI prediction: Beat Iowa in First Four, beat UMass in second round, lose to Duke in third roundView complete bracket predictions from SI.com’s panel of experts