Tennessee will enter the SEC Tournament as the No. 2 seed. However, the Vols have the 3rd-best chance of winning the tournament if one places a higher emphasis on what Las Vegas has to say about the matter.

Kentucky and Auburn both have better odds of winning the SEC Tournament than the Vols, per most gambling projections. It makes sense for both schools to be considered more likely to win the SEC Tournament. Kentucky is, well, Kentucky. The Wildcats have always had great success in the SEC Tournament and their rabid fan base will always skew the betting line in their favor. Are the Wildcats the best team in the SEC? That’s debatable. Auburn, which won the SEC regular-season title, also has better odds of winning the SEC Tournament than Tennessee.

However, the Vols seem to be peaking in March after a 78-74 win over Arkansas on Saturday. That was their 4th consecutive victory and 9th in 10 games. Among the victims in that stretch: then-No. 4 ranked Kentucky, then-No. 3 Auburn and No. 14 Arkansas.

Can they keep it going this week in Tampa? Here are 4 things that the Vols need to do in order to advance — and possibly win — the SEC Tournament:

Keep rolling

The Vols have won 9 of their last 10 games, which is what makes them a real threat to win the SEC Tournament and perhaps shake up some things in the NCAA Tournament after this weekend. Other than a loss at Arkansas on Feb. 19, Tennessee has played like the veteran-laden team that one would expect. The Vols have dismissed lesser opponents and lifted their level of play against ranked opponents. The Vols are 3-1 against ranked teams over the past 10 games. Tennessee is clearly peaking at the right time. That can be a key indicator for success in March.

Play the best against the best

Tennessee’s record against Kentucky and Auburn is proof that they can play with the favorites in the SEC Tournament. The Vols are 1-1 against Kentucky this season but decimated the Wildcats 76-63 on Feb. 15 in their latest meeting. Tennessee wasn’t done there. The Vols beat Auburn 67-62 on Feb. 26. The Vols seem to get up for their biggest challenges. If that continues, Tennessee could be one of the most dangerous teams in March — and I’m not just talking about the SEC Tournament.

Play defense and then play some more defense

It seems unlikely that the Vols will suddenly find an elite offense after struggling for much of the season. Despite some fun playmakers to watch, the Vols just aren’t a high-scoring machine and probably won’t be for the remainder of the season. They’re averaging 73.6 points per game — 117th in the nation. However, Tennessee’s defense is quite impressive if you’re into that sort of thing. The Vols are 29th in the nation in points allowed per game (63.3) and No. 2 in the SEC, behind just LSU.

Despite relying on defense, the Vols could have moments in which their offense looks explosive. An offensive uptick will depend on 3 things: First, the Vols have to have better offensive production from their post players. Second, the Vols need to avoid the cold-shooting streaks that have plagued them all season. Lastly, the Vols better share the load. Tennessee’s offense is at its best with efficient ball movement. Five Vols average between 8.5 and 13.7 points.

Be guarded

The Vols saw message-board disdain from some of their fans when Tennessee didn’t rely more on post play early this season. That frustration, which also zeroed in on their slower style of play, was a bit misplaced.

The Vols have great guard play, which is one of the keys to winning games in March. For instance, look at Tennessee’s last game against Arkansas. Guards Kennedy Chandler and Santiago Vescovi each scored 15 points. Guard Josiah-Jordan James scored 12 points and the Vols leaned on yet another guard with the game on the line. Zakai Zeigler hit 2 clutch free throws late in the game to secure the victory.