Vols Basketball vs Auburn
Tennessee fans try to distract Auburn's Austin Wiley (50) as he shoots a free throw at Thompson Boling Arena on Saturday, March 7, 2020.

Tennessee basketball is a big deal around campus, to students and alumni alike. For years, Tennessee has had successful programs. The men’s program has produced legends like Bernard King, Grant Williams, Chris Lofton and Admiral Schofield. The women’s program has been home to stars like Holly Warlick, Kara Lawson, Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings. 

This season, Tennessee men’s Basketball has gone 18-7 overall and 9-7 in the SEC. The team started the season with a seven-game winning streak and recorded a game-high of 103 points against Tennessee Tech. Freshman Jaden Springer and Redshirt Junior Victor Bailey Jr. lead the team with 268 points and 260 points, respectively. Bailey and sophomore Santiago Vescovi have both made a total of 43 three-point shots. 

March Madness will look a bit different this year. The entirety of the tournament will take place in Indiana. 67 of the games will take place in Indianapolis, with the rest of the games taking place in West Lafayette at Mackey Arena and in Bloomington at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. According to the NCAA, all the teams will practice at the Indiana Convention Center and will have their own living spaces separate from other teams. 

Selection Sunday will take place on March 14 at 6 p.m. EST. The First Four will start at 4 p.m. on March 18, followed by the first round, second round, Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight. The Final Four will start at 5 p.m. on April 3 and the championship will take place on April 5 at 9 p.m.

As the regular season ends and March Madness quickly approaches, Rocky Top Rowdies board members Karly Duggan and Carson Taylor discussed the upcoming tournament and their favorite parts about Tennessee basketball.

Duggan highlighted her favorite part of the Tennessee Basketball experience, 

“Before COVID, the Rowdies [would] build the T that the team runs through at the beginning of the games and that has always been a really hype moment and it’s really fun to be able to do that with all of our friends,” Duggan said.

It is no secret that Tennessee is home to many passionate and loyal fans. The Rowdies provide a great experience for student fans and are even going to start a challenge as the tournament draws near. 

“The organization is putting together a bracket challenge right now with the Rowdies where you pay five dollars, put in your bracket and you could possibly win some pretty good prizes,” Taylor said.

Former Rowdie President Shea Payne provided input on who he wants to see the Vols play. 

“Boise State because they ring 67th … and they might make it into the tournament,” Payne said. “If they do, they probably won't be a high enough seed for Tennessee to be able to actually play them, but that would be a good matchup considering that it doesn't really seem to matter who we play this year. It just kind of depends on what team comes out of the locker room, and you never know what we're going to do.”

“A team who is inefficient on offense gives us the best chance because we specialize mostly in defense and we haven't been all that good in most of our games this year,” Payne also said. 

Tennessee fans are eager and optimistic for Selection Sunday on March 7.

For anyone looking to get involved with the Rocky Top Rowdies, information on the organization can be found on VOLink or on Instagram @RockyTopRowdies.

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