NASHVILLE — It's been fun being the University of Tennessee men's basketball team the past few weeks. No pressure. Few expectations. Pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise.
But after nine wins in 10 games, after feel-great home triumphs over Kentucky, Florida and Missouri -- not to mention that four-overtime triumph at Texas A&M -- in the past 28 days, the Volunteers' role is reversed against Alabama today.
If they beat the Crimson Tide for the second time in three tries at 3:30 EDT this afternoon in their Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinal in the Bridgestone Arena, it's hard to see the Big Orange being left out of the Big Dance.
Already returned to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi's coveted "Last Four In" quartet before Thursday's 69-53 win over Mississippi State, Tennessee would seem to seal its spot with a victory over the Tide. That should be the case for any team reaching an SEC tourney semifinal having won 10 of its last 11 contests against league opponents.
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