Who should Vols fans root for in this weekend’s Duke-North Carolina game?

Who should Vols fans root for in this weekend’s Duke-North Carolina game?

Here’s the latest info from the team sheets, updated through the games on Tuesday night and sorted by NET Rankings:

Tennessee is still in the Top 4 despite having their Quadrant 1 win over Mississippi State Tuesday negated by the win at Texas A&M falling from Q1 to Q2 thanks to the Aggies’ loss to South Carolina Tuesday.

Comparing Tennessee’s and Duke’s Q1 resumes

The main curiosity in the Top 4 is why Duke remains ahead of the Vols with a worse overall record and a Q2 loss to boot. Looking at the detail of each team’s Q1 record probably provides the answer.

Tennessee has home wins over No. 5 Kentucky and No. 23 Mississippi State, neutral site wins over No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 24 Louisville, and road wins over No. 34 Florida, No. 37 Ole Miss, and No. 51 Memphis. Their Q1 losses are on the road to No. 5 Kentucky and No. 13 LSU (in overtime), and on a neutral court to No. 18 Kansas (also in overtime).

Duke has only 1 Q1 home win, but it is against No. 2 Virginia. The Blue Devils have neutral site wins over No. 5 Kentucky, No. 10 Texas Tech, and No. 20 Auburn, and they have road wins over No. 2 Virginia, No. 19 Florida State, No. 24 Louisville, and No. 42 Syracuse. Duke’s Q1 losses are on the road to No. 12 Virginia Tech, on a neutral court to No. 1 Gonzaga, and at home to No. 7 North Carolina.

Tennessee really has no bad losses, and the Vols’ best is a neutral-site win over No. 1 and a home win over No. 5. The LSU game would have been a “good” road win, but alas.

Duke has a home loss, but it’s to a No. 7 team. It’s best includes a road win over No. 2, a neutral-site win over No. 5, and a home-win over No. 2. That road win over No. 2 Virginia is probably the difference.

Can Tennessee jump Duke this weekend?

All that said, I wonder if Duke falls below Tennessee even if the Vols beat Auburn and the Blue Devils lose at No. 7 North Carolina this weekend. For them, it’s not a bad loss, but it is another loss. And for the Vols, it wouldn’t be the best win, but it would be a good one. This is where I should put my opinion, but I really have no clue. Regardless, they’ll almost certainly stay ahead of the Vols if they win this weekend, so I’m rooting hard for North Carolina.

Although it’s a legitimate question, I’m not all that concerned about the possibility of the Tar Heels actually jumping the Vols if they beat Duke Saturday. If they win, their Q1 resume would include a win over No. 1 Gonzaga, but it’s a win at home. Their best win would actually be the road victory over Duke. They’ve played No. 2 Virginia, No. 5 Kentucky, and No. 9 Michigan, but they lost all three of those games. The argument would be that Duke swept Virginia and UNC swept Duke, but I just think their overall resume is too far behind the Vols’ to jump Tennessee in one weekend, assuming Tennessee wins.

This weekend, what’s good for the Heels is good for the Vols.

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Will Shelton
Admin

Would the selection committee really put three ACC teams on the top line? I don’t think you have to worry about UNC if they lose to Duke, but if they win? Virginia has to be there, everyone still believes full-strength Duke has the highest ceiling, and then Carolina would have swept them. Would put a lot of weight on the ACC Tournament, in theory.

Gavin Driskill
Member
Gavin Driskill

I’ve been wondering this, as well, but more from an anti-Duke perspective.

If they lose to UNC on Saturday and then did it again in the ACCT, that would make them 4-4 in their last 8, at least some of which would’ve been played with Zion.

Gavin Driskill
Member
Gavin Driskill

My primary beef at the moment is that regardless of what KenPom says (he has them a mere 57th in luck), LSU is the luckiest bunch of luckers who ever lucked 😛

They are 10-2 in league play (and 14-4 on the season) in games decided by single digits/in OT. Tennessee is a mere 2-2 (3-3 on the year) in such games.

Short of a Saturday miracle (c’mon, Vandy! NOBODY BELIEVES IN YOU!), we’re gonna have to go through Kentucky on Saturday in Nashville because LSU has won all the coin flips.

Grumble grumble.

Adam
Member
Adam

And if the wiretap news is to be believed, LSU has been flipping some [Fulmerized] strong-[Fulmerized] coins!

Will Shelton
Admin

If you’re LSU’S admin, do you sit him? Do you want the visual of him cutting down nets on Saturday?

Gavin Driskill
Member
Gavin Driskill

He certainly hasn’t owned up to anything, and the broader reaction seems to be a collective shrug.