Luke Winn (CNNSI) thinks it will be us v. the Vols for banner number 12:I liked Bruce Pearl's admission that he wasn't sure coming into Saturday's game -- and still might not be sure -- that Tennessee is the nation's best team. He said that all he kept telling his Vols was, "I don't know if we're the best team in the country, but can you believe we're 40 minutes away from being No. 1?"
Now that Tennessee has dethroned Memphis 66-62 and is less than 24 hours away from officially being named No. 1 in The Associated Press and Coaches' Polls, it's worth revisiting the subject: Should the Vols now be considered the favorites to win the national title?
There's only a small pack of legitimate title hopefuls: Tennessee, UCLA, North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Memphis and Texas. Our national champion won't come from outside that group, because the drop-off to the crowd that includes the rulers of the Big East (Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, and UConn) and Big Ten (Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana) is too big. Of the seven contenders, none has the mix of athleticism and quality depth that the Volunteers do. But if I were to fill out a bracket today, I'd be inclined to set up a Tennessee-UCLA title game with the Bruins winning, for three reasons:
- Much of UCLA's roster already has either one or two Final Fours under its belt ...
- Florida, the only team the Bruins have ever seemed to cower and hide from, is finally out of the picture
- The lone UCLA starter without Final Four experience, Kevin Love, gives them an interior dimension that the Vols simply do not have.
Lets hope our boys take care of business on the road this week. If we can get it done this week, we are going to be set to make a run.