The Tennessee Volunteers survived Mississippi State 62–59 Friday night, and though the game was closer than many liked, Vols fans are feeling optimistic.

“This time last year basketball wasn’t on the radar for a lot of people,” fan Matt Graves said.

The team’s season has been marked by exceeding expectations. The team was picked to finish 13th in the SEC, but ended the season with a share of the regular season title.

“We got coach of the year, player of the year SEC,” fan Bryan McClary said. “There are good things ahead of the Vols.”

Many fans expect Tennessee to win the SEC tournament and then land a third or fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament. Postseason play is especially welcome after a season where UT football didn’t even qualify for a bowl game.

“Football was torture,” McClary said. “The basketball season redeemed it all for Tennessee fans.”

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