What to Watch: Saturday, March 3

The Vols play for an SEC Championship at 6:00 PM ET tonight, but a handful of other games could impact Tennessee’s fate in the bracket. We’ll all be watching Auburn host South Carolina (3:30 PM, SEC Network), which will in part determine whether the Vols are the one or the two seed in the SEC Tournament. But in the big picture, Tennessee is currently a three seed in the Bracket Matrix, and the same clear lines from Friday are still in place:

  • Virginia and Villanova are unanimous one seeds in the matrix, with Kansas and Xavier a one seed in 95% of entries. Even if the Vols win today and win the SEC Tournament, I don’t think we’re climbing this high.
  • Duke, North Carolina, Purdue, and Michigan State are the two seeds in the matrix, all with an average seeding between 2.00-2.22. Duke and UNC play tonight, Purdue and Michigan State could play tomorrow in the Big Ten Tournament finals. Could those losses and a strong Tennessee finish get the Vols on this line?
  • Auburn, Cincinnati, and Tennessee are the first three #3 seeds in the matrix, all with an average seeding between 2.76-2.97. The Vols are a two seed in 10 of 93 entries in the matrix this morning.
  • Then there’s a break. Wichita State is currently the last three seed, but their average seeding is 3.66. West Virginia, Clemson, and Texas Tech are the first four #4 seeds, all with an average between 3.86-3.99, with another break after that for Ohio State (who lost yesterday).

My assumption is the one seeds can’t be caught, and I don’t know if any of the twos will be either. But if you’re looking for something to watch with interest, losses for those just ahead of and behind the Vols in the matrix is a good place to start. Most of those teams are in action today, plus a crucial Cincinnati/Wichita State match-up tomorrow.

#20 West Virginia at Texas – 12:00 PM – ESPN

Rick Barnes’ past is the last team in the matrix field, but could help themselves and the Vols today.

#23 Kentucky at Florida – 12:00 PM – CBS

The winner here is guaranteed a double-bye in the SEC Tournament, and could be Tennessee’s Saturday opponent in the SEC Tournament.

#2 Michigan State vs #15 Michigan – 2:00 PM – CBS (Big Ten Tournament Semifinals)

The strength of the Big Ten hurts Michigan State, but they are 29-3 and carry plenty of name recognition, so I’m not sure they’ll be caught on the two line.

TCU at #12 Texas Tech – 4:00 PM – ESPN2

The opposite is true for Texas Tech, playing for a second place finish in the nation’s best conference.

#8 Purdue vs Penn State – 4:30 PM – CBS (Big Ten Tournament Semifinals)

Purdue is still Tennessee’s best win of the season, so I don’t know if them losing here really helps or hurts the Vols.

#9 North Carolina at #5 Duke – 8:15 PM – ESPN

Carolina helps our strength of schedule, so an easy call here.

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