Five 'Volunteer' for The Dance

The most heralded college basketball in America may be played in North Carolina but the Volunteer State appears to be coming up fast on the outside.

Five teams from Tennessee will be competing for the national championship when the NCAA Tournament opens play later this week. Here's a look at each of the five:

- The Belmont Bruins (25-8) are seeded No. 15 in the West Region and will be playing No. 2 seed Duke (27-5) Thursday in Washington D.C. Belmont clinched an automatic NCAA bid by beating Jacksonville 79-61 to win a third straight Atlantic Sun Tournament title. The Bruins are coached by Rick Byrd, son of former Rocky Top News columnist Ben Byrd.

- The Austin Peay Governors (24-10), seeded No. 15 in the South Region, will face No. 2 seed Texas (28-6) Friday at Little Rock. Austin Peay earned an automatic bid by beating Tennessee State 82-64 in the finals of the Ohio Valley Conference tourney, matching the single-season school record for wins in the process. The Governors, who also won the OVC regular-season title, are coached by Dave Loos.

- The Memphis Tigers (30-1) are seeded No. 1 in the South Region and No. 2 overall. They'll face Texas-Arlington (21-11) Friday at Little Rock. Memphis locked up a bid by hammering Tulane 77-51 to win its third consecutive Conference USA title. The Tigers are coached by John Calipari, who has a 1-2 record in three meetings with Tennessee's Bruce Pearl.

- The Vanderbilt Commodores (26-7) are seeded No. 4 in the Midwest Region and will face No. 13 seed Siena (23-10) Friday in Tampa. The Dores lost 81-75 to Arkansas in Friday's quarterfinal round of the SEC Tournament, but got an at-large bid to the Big Dance. The Commodores are coached by Kevin Stallings.

- The Tennessee Vols (29-4) got the No. 2 seed for the East Region and will face American University Friday in Birmingham. The Big Orange lost to Arkansas 92-91 in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament on Saturday, but got an at-large bid to the tourney.


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