The 11th-seeded UT Vols topped 6th-seeded UMass on Friday in Raleigh and will face Mercer on Sunday.
Tennessee has won seven of its last eight games, with the lone loss coming against No. 1 Florida. UT's scoring defense the last seven games is 52.7 ppg.
Now with 23 victories on the year, Tennessee has won at least 23 games for just the fifth time in program history. The Vols played nine games against teams comprising the field of 68, going 2-7 in those contests. The wins came against Xavier and ACC Champion Virginia (the East No. 1 seed), and UT's margin of victory in those wins was +22.5.
Mercer ended Tennessee's season last year, defeating the Vols 75-67 in the first round of the NIT in Knoxville March 20, 2013.
Located in Macon, Ga., Mercer has an enrollment of 8,200 and competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference. This year, the Bears shared the regular-season A-Sun Championship with a 14-4 league record. Mercer won its league tournament.
Vols junior Jarnell Stokes had a career-high 26 points Friday vs. UMass and tied UT's NCAA Tournament record for rebounding with 14. Vols junior Rawane "Pops" Ndiaye considers Raleigh his hometown, as his family lives there and he attended prep school at Raleigh's Body of Christ Academy.