Tennessee was picked to finish 13th in the SEC before the season. The Vols are now tied for first place with one game left after a 76-54 win over Mississippi State.
Tennessee went on the road and demolished a Bulldogs team that was previously 18-1 at home. Later in the night, Auburn lost 91-82 at Arkansas to allow the Vols to pull into a tie for first place in the conference.
A win over Georgia on Saturday and an Auburn loss to South Carolina would give the Vols an outright SEC championship for the first time since 2008. If both teams finish tied for first place the Vols could claim a share of the title but Auburn would get the number one seed in the SEC tournament thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Auburn lost to South Carolina by nine on the road earlier this season and the Vols lost to Georgia by 11 on the road on Feb. 17.
Tennessee held Mississippi State to its lowest point total (54) at home this season. The Bulldogs averaged 78.1 points in their previous 19 home games with their only loss coming to Auburn. MSU shot 39 percent from the field, it's lowest percentage at home this season.
Admiral Schofield led the Vols with 24 points, his second straight game with 20 or more.
Tennessee held a six-point lead with 15 minutes left in the game, then made 11 straight shots over the next nine minutes to put the game away. The Vols shot 68 percent from the field in the second half while holding the Bulldogs to 6-21 shooting (28.6%).
The Vols' leading scorer, Grant Williams, took only three shots and Tennessee still won the game by 22 points.