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Vols play their way from bubble to Sweet 16

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The do-or-die nature of the NCAA tournament is nothing new to Tennessee.

Tennessee (24-12) has been playing with virtually no margin for error since late February after splitting its first 14 Southeastern Conference games. That made the Volunteers primed for the postseason once they earned an NCAA bid.

The 11th-seeded Vols are streaking into Friday's Midwest Regional semifinal against No. 2 seed Michigan (27-8) with eight wins in their last nine games.

One month ago, Tennessee was 16-11 and in danger of missing the NCAA tournament. Tennessee guard Josh Richardson says the Vols' precarious status "did a good job of putting us on edge every day."

Tennessee now looks like a completely different team. The Vols' last eight wins have been decided by an average margin of 20.9 points.


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