Tennessee and its hope for the 1 seed stumble

Tennessee’s loss to Auburn on Saturday — whereas mired in fairly a little bit of goaltending controversy — cleared up the 1-seed debate getting into Champ Week, because the Volunteers now want an SEC event championship to even get again within the dialogue.

Relying on what Kentucky does in opposition to Florida this afternoon, Tennessee might find yourself because the Three-seed within the SEC event and the Volunteers’ Energy of Schedule numbers pale compared to the likes of Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke.

After back-to-back elite defensive performances in opposition to Kentucky and Mississippi State, although, Tennessee actually struggled to protect Auburn, particularly within the second half. The Tigers made 13 Three-pointers on the day and turned it over simply 5 instances. In actual fact, it was the fifth straight street sport that Tennessee has allowed not less than one level per possession — and when you embody a sport in opposition to South Carolina during which the Vols allowed Zero.99 factors per possession, the streak would run to eight video games.

The Volunteers aren’t pretty much as good defensively this season as they had been final season, that is not likely for debate anymore. However the metrics are considerably regarding for the NCAA event; they rank within the backside half of the SEC in defensive turnover share and Three-point share allowed, which may trigger issues in opposition to dynamic guards who could make photographs.

Tennessee continues to be a Last 4 and title contender; their offense is simply too good and so they’re too skilled. However the Volunteers are doubtless out of the 1-seed dialogue and have issues to fine-tune within the subsequent week and a half.

1. Virginia Cavaliers (27-2)
Earlier rating: 1
This week: Beat Syracuse 79-53 on Monday, vs. Louisville (Saturday)

Virginia’s second-half efficiency in opposition to Syracuse on Monday was the most effective 20 minutes of basketball we have seen from any group this season. The Cavaliers outscored the Orange — within the Provider Dome — by 28 factors. They made 10 of 11 Three-pointers throughout one stretch, and Kyle Man, De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome ended up scoring a mixed 62 factors and capturing 18-for-23 from Three-point vary for the sport. Over its previous three video games, Virginia is capturing 62.1 % from past the arc.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-2)
Earlier rating: 2
This week: West Coast Convention event

If Sean Farnham’s remarks on Saturday night time’s broadcast had been any indication, it seems that Gonzaga might get Killian Tillie again in some unspecified time in the future this season. Although Tillie hasn’t been a significant factor this season due to accidents, he is a flexible large man who can change defensively and likewise step out and make photographs. He offered an added dimension off the bench throughout his 9 wholesome video games in January and early February.

Three. Duke Blue Devils (26-Four)
Earlier rating: Three
This week: Beat Wake Forest 71-70 on Tuesday, at North Carolina (Saturday)

It took Chaundee Brown lacking a contested Three-footer on the buzzer for Duke to flee with a one-point dwelling win over Wake Forest, however the Blue Devils had been in a position to win nonetheless. RJ Barrett as soon as once more was the one constant offense for Duke with out Zion Williamson, however Mike Krzyzewski was adamant following the sport that Williamson will return in some unspecified time in the future this season — simply maybe not for the sport at Carolina this weekend.

Four. North Carolina Tar Heels (25-5)
Earlier rating: Four
This week: Beat Boston School 79-66 on Tuesday, vs. Duke (Saturday)

North Carolina is now one win away from not less than a share of the ACC regular-season title after going to Boston School and cruising previous the Eagles behind 17 factors and 20 rebounds from Luke Maye. On Saturday, the Tar Heels have a rematch in opposition to Duke. Within the first assembly in Durham, Carolina was aggressive within the paint and easily attacked Duke’s bigs with Maye, Cameron Johnson and Garrison Brooks. The three gamers mixed for 70 factors and 30 rebounds.

5. Kentucky Wildcats (25-5)
Earlier rating: 6
This week: Beat Ole Miss 80-76 on Tuesday, vs. Florida (Saturday)

We stated heading into the week that Tennessee must guard the way in which it did in opposition to Kentucky on Saturday if the Volunteers wished to make a deep run in March. And after holding the Wildcats to their worst offensive efficiency of the season over the weekend, Tennessee did the identical to Mississippi State. The Bulldogs managed solely 54 factors on 69 possessions, capturing 33.Three % from the sector.

6. Tennessee Volunteers (27-Four)
Earlier rating: 5
This week: Beat Mississippi State 71-54 on Tuesday, misplaced at Auburn 84-80 on Saturday

The Volunteers doubtless misplaced their likelihood at a share of the SEC regular-season title on Saturday, as LSU simply must beat winless Vanderbilt in Baton Rouge in an effort to earn an outright championship. Tennessee goes to wish Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden to seek out their perimeter shot earlier than the NCAA event. Within the Volunteers’ final seven video games, the 2 guards are a mixed 11-for-68 from Three-point vary.

7. Michigan Wolverines (26-Four)
Earlier rating: 7
This week: at Michigan State (Saturday)

Michigan nonetheless awaits the return of Charles Matthews, however the Wolverines have survived two video games with out him. Isaiah Livers slotted into the beginning lineup, and he has been a plus due to his motor and contributions on the glass and his means to step exterior and make Three-pointers. He had 12 factors and 10 rebounds, together with three Three-pointers, in opposition to Nebraska — then adopted it up with 11 factors and 5 rebounds with three extra Three-pointers at Maryland.

Eight. Michigan State Spartans (24-6)
Earlier rating: Eight
This week: Beat Nebraska 91-76 on Tuesday, vs. Michigan (Saturday)

With Purdue dropping at Minnesota on Tuesday, Michigan State now has an opportunity to pressure a share of the Large Ten regular-season title. The Spartans hammered Nebraska with out Kyle Ahrens or Nick Ward, getting a mixed 46 factors and 10 Three-pointers from seniors Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins. Up subsequent is a rematch with Michigan; Michigan State gained the primary sport in Ann Arbor led by Cassius Winston.

9. LSU Tigers (25-5)
Earlier rating: 9
This week: Beat Florida 79-78 on Wednesday, vs. Vanderbilt (Saturday)

LSU got here again late in opposition to Florida and completed the season with a 9-Zero document on the street in SEC play. Extra vital, the Tigers at the moment are only one win from incomes not less than a share of the SEC regular-season title — and Will Wade’s group will get to face last-place Vanderbilt in Baton Rouge on Saturday. In the event that they win — even when Tennessee wins at Auburn — the Tigers will earn the 1-seed within the convention event because of their victory over the Volunteers in late February.

10. Texas Tech Pink Raiders (25-5)
Earlier rating:
This week: Beat Texas 70-51 on Monday, at Iowa State (Saturday)

Chris Beard and the Pink Raiders at the moment are one win from not less than a share of the Large 12 regular-season title after notching their eighth win in a row in a rout of Texas. Iowa State beat Texas Tech in Lubbock again in mid-January, however the Pink Raiders are a unique offensive group than they had been a few months in the past. Just one group has stayed inside single digits of Tech throughout the successful streak, and the Pink Raiders have scored not less than 1 level per possession in six consecutive video games — 1.31 per possession of their previous 5 earlier than Monday’s victory.

11. Houston Cougars (28-2)
Earlier rating: 12
This week: Beat SMU 90-79 on Thursday, at Cincinnati (Sunday)

Thursday was an excellent night time for Houston. Not solely did the Cougars beat SMU to bounce again from their loss to UCF final weekend, however Cincinnati additionally misplaced to UCF in Orlando. Consequently, Houston is alone in first place on the high of the AAC standings and is assured not less than a share of the regular-season championship. After all, the season finale on Saturday comes at Cincinnati — the Cougars gained the primary assembly between the 2 groups in Houston by seven.

12. Purdue Boilermakers (22-Eight)
Earlier rating: 12
This week: Misplaced to Minnesota 73-69 on Tuesday, at Northwestern (Saturday)

On an evening when Minnesota most likely punched its ticket to the NCAA event, Purdue additionally left the door open for Michigan or Michigan State to forge a share of the Large Ten regular-season championship. All three groups are tied at 15-Four and the 2 in-state rivals face one another Saturday. Purdue travels to Northwestern. The Boilermakers will want Carsen Edwards to do higher than he did Tuesday: 7-for-31 from the sector, Three-for-15 from Three-point vary.

13. Kansas Jayhawks (22-Eight)
Earlier rating: 14
This week: Misplaced to Oklahoma 81-68 on Tuesday, vs. Baylor (Saturday)

Kansas’ season-long struggles away from dwelling as soon as once more had been obvious Tuesday night time. The Jayhawks completed Three-6 on the street within the Large 12, and mixed with street losses at Arizona State and Kentucky, they’re simply Three-Eight in street video games this season. Kansas struggled to attain constantly, shot simply 7-for-31 from Three-point vary and turned it over 15 instances. The Jayhawks are simply restricted offensively and once they haven’t got the magic of Allen Fieldhouse, it is powerful for them to beat NCAA tournament-caliber opponents.

14. Florida State Seminoles (25-6)
Earlier rating:
This week: Beat Virginia Tech 73-64 on Tuesday, beat Wake Forest 65-57 on Saturday

The Seminoles have now gained 12 of their final 13 video games, with the lone loss coming at North Carolina in late February. They’ve secured a double-bye within the ACC event and their depth, versatility, measurement and expertise make them a troublesome group to organize for on a brief turnaround. Saturday’s efficiency wasn’t nice, however they locked down defensively — particularly after halftime. Wake Forest made simply three Three-pointers.

15. Wisconsin Badgers (21-9)
Earlier rating:
This week: Beat Iowa 65-45 on Thursday, at Ohio State (Sunday)

The Badgers have now gained 10 of their final 13 video games after crushing Iowa by 20 on Thursday — though it was their seventh time within the final eight video games scoring fewer than one level per possession. On the plus aspect, it was their finest defensive efficiency of the season. Khalil Iverson had one other good sport for the Badgers, posting his first profession double-double. Iverson is now averaging 11.Eight factors and 6.6 rebounds in his final 5 video games.

16. Virginia Tech Hokies (23-7)
Earlier rating:
This week: Misplaced at Florida State 73-64 on Tuesday, beat Miami 84-70 on Friday

Virginia Tech stays within the rankings after dealing with Miami on Friday night time, behind one other stellar effort from Nickeil Alexander-Walker: 21 factors, 10 rebounds, eight assists. The Hokies have now gained 5 of seven to finish the common season. One other optimistic second from Friday: Justin Robinson began and performed one second attributable to senior night time, however on the very least, he seems to be bettering and nearer to a return.

Dropped out: Marquette (No. 13)

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