Vols can't afford to lose

Tennessee posted 17 wins last basketball season but needed 18 to get an NCAA Tournament bid.

If the Vols are to make The Big Dance this March, they'll need to win their home games ... starting with Wednesday night's SEC opener against Georgia. Tennessee stands 8-1 thus far but has no quality wins. If the Vols can win their 10 remaining home games (8 vs. SEC teams, plus Louisville and Georgia Tech), that would get them to the 18-win mark and probably earn them an NCAA bid.

Winning on the road will be a real challenge for the Vols, since their remaining away games are at Florida (9-2), South Carolina (13-1), Mississippi State (11-0), LSU (9-1), Alabama (8-3), Georgia (8-3), Kentucky (9-1) and Vanderbilt (11-0).

''We've got to make sure we take care of homecourt advantage and try to sneak a couple on the road,'' head coach Buzz Peterson said. ''This league's going to be very demanding this year.''

The SEC is ranked second behind the ACC in the RPI ratings for conferences.


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