Doomed at The Dome?

You don't have to know a lot of basketball to realize the odds are against Tennessee winning the SEC Tournament this weekend. You just have to know a little history.

The Georgia Dome in Atlanta has been an absolute House of Horrors for the Big Orange in recent years. The football and basketball teams are a combined 2-12 at the venue since 1998.

Head football coach Phillip Fulmer is 0-5 in the building since winning his last SEC title there in '98. He is 0-2 in Peach Bowl games, having lost to Maryland (30-3) on Dec. 31 of 2002 and to Clemson (27-14) on Jan. 2 of 2004. He is 0-3 in SEC Championship Games at The Dome during the same span, having bowed to LSU (31-20) in 2001, to Auburn (38-28) in 2004 and to LSU (21-14) in 2007.

In addition, Tennessee is 2-7 in SEC Basketball Tournament games played at the Georgia Dome since 1998. Here's the recap:

- March 5, 1999: Jerry Green's 18th-ranked Vols are upset 62-56 by unranked Mississippi State.

- March 10, 2000: Green's sixth-ranked Vols are stunned 75-68 by unranked South Carolina.

- March 8, 2002: After trimming Arkansas 68-61 in Round 1, Buzz Peterson's Vols are trounced 91-72 by Alabama .

- March 11, 2004: Peterson's Vols are crushed by Alabama 84-49 in their opener.

- March 11, 2005: After beating Arkansas 65-46 in Round 1, Tennessee is thumped 76-62 by Kentucky. Peterson is fired two days later.

- March 10, 2006: After a first-round bye, Bruce Pearl's 14th-ranked Vols are upset by unranked South Carolina 79-71 in their opening test.

- March 8, 2007: Pearl's 22nd-ranked Vols suffer a 76-67 overtime loss to unranked LSU in their SEC tournament opener.

History suggests Tennessee will not win the 2008 SEC Tournament but, being a sports writer and not a historian, I'm picking the Vols to junk the jinx at the Dome of Doom.

Here's why:

Bruce Pearl is the league's hottest coach.

The Vols are the SEC's hottest team.

The law of averages is on Tennessee's side. It hasn't won the championship since 1979.

The Vols have the depth to persevere through three games in three days.

Tennessee's players are tired of fielding questions about their SEC Tournament futility. There's only one way to end the questions once and for all.

The Vols have proved many times they can win without a big game from star player Chris Lofton.

The benches at The Georgia Dome are along the sidelines – the way God intended – and not beyond the end lines, a la Memorial Gym in Nashville.

In case you're wondering, here's how the tourney will all shake out:

Thursday, March 13

LSU beats South Carolina

Vanderbilt beats Auburn

Florida beats Alabama

Georgia upsets Ole Miss

Friday, March 14

Tennessee beats LSU

Arkansas upsets Vanderbilt

Florida upsets Mississippi State

Kentucky beats Georgia

Saturday, March 15

Tennessee beats Arkansas

Florida beats Kentucky

Sunday, March 16

Tennessee beats Florida


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