Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
While it's true the Tennessee Volunteers haven't beaten a single Southeastern Conference team that's likely to get selected for the NCAA tournament, that has something to do with the fact that only two teams—Florida and Kentucky—are truly worthy of bids in this epically sad season of SEC hoops.
How about a blind resume comparison for the Vols? All the cool kids are doing it:
|W-L vs. RPI 1-100
|W-L vs. RPI 101+
Team B puked on its shoes after Christmas, enduring a five-game losing streak, while Tennessee has never lost more than twice in a row. Granted, four of Team B's five losses in that streak were against teams that have been mortal locks for the tournament for months now.
Team B has since taken down three tournament teams in its conference slate, while UT has come up short against Florida and Kentucky.
But look at that Pomeroy ranking. Tennessee's offense and defense are both ranked (free link) in KenPom's top 30, and that's an exclusive club. The others in it: Wichita State, Florida, Villanova, Louisville, Virginia and Syracuse. They're all in the tournament with a lot of room to spare.
Oh, and to pay off the tease: Team B is everybody's favorite feel-good bubble story, Nebraska.
Tennessee's talent is indisputable, with both Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae definite All-SEC selections. Its execution and coaching, however, have come under serious fire, with fans clamoring for Cuonzo Martin's ouster and the return of Bruce Pearl.
The execution must improve just to get the Vols to Dayton, because their conference has done them no favors. Only a semifinal win over Florida can improve their standing now.
For more from Scott, including links to his new podcast, check out The Back Iron.