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Tennessee Basketball: 2-seed Vols placed in same bracket as Texas on purpose

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March Madness has turned into conspiracy weekend. Teams clearly threw their conference tournaments. Now, they are setting up matchups for storylines. The NCAA Tournament selection committee has Tennessee Basketball in the same first-weekend bracket as the Texas Longhorns.

The Vols, a No. 2 seed, will face the No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s Peacocks in the first round of the Big Dance in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Texas Longhorns, a No. 7 seed, will face the No. 10 seed winner between the Virginia Cavaliers and Colorado State Rams.

Make no mistake, this move was on purpose. Rick Barnes is from North Carolina, and if Tennessee Basketball and Texas both advance, he will coach against the place that fired him before he took over the Vols in that state. Barnes was at Texas for 17 years and made a Final Four while winning three Big 12 titles.

Making matters even wilder, it’s a given assumption the Vols will win. Sure, No. 2 seeds lose, but by and large, they are expected to win no matter what. Meanwhile, the selection committee gave Texas the best chance possible to win its first round game.

Think about it. The Longhorns face one of the two teams forced into a play-in game. They’ll likely be tired for the Thursday matchup between these two, and one of them is a Group of Five program. Simply put, everything is on the table for these two to meet on Saturday.

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As far as the overall seeding goes, Tennessee Basketball has a shot at revenge. Just like last year, the Vols are in a bracket with the No. 1 seed Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue beat them earlier in the season, but that was before Rocky Top found Dalton Knecht as a scorer.

Beyond Purdue, Saint Peter’s and Texas, though, the Vols could meet the Creighton Bluejays or have a third matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Sweet 16. They could also meet the Oregon Ducks, a No. 11 seed, in that round. The Akron Zips would be the other candidate.

Taking all of this into account, Tennessee Basketball has a pretty solid path to the Elite Eight. Of course, Barnes’ track record and the Vols’ play in March of this year calls that into question, but this is seemingly a different team with Dalton Knecht at the helm.

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