Tennessee suffers surprise upset to Mississippi State, could fall off No. 1 seed line

How will the loss impact Vols' place in next week's NCAA tournament?

Mississippi State knocked off Tennessee, 73-56, in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament on Friday.

The Volunteers, who were ranked No. 5 in this week's AP Top 25 poll, are now the seventh top seed in the SEC tournament since 2012 to fail to win the conference tournament.

The Bulldogs jumped on the Volunteers early building up a nine-point lead in the first half before going up 38-19 at halftime. Tennessee pushed for a second-half comeback, which included a 10-0 run at one point that cut the lead to 12 points. But the deficit was too much to overcome.

Josh Hubbard and Cameron Matthews led Mississippi State with 18 points apiece as the Bulldogs shot 55.3% from the field compared to the Volunteers' 31.1%

It's a costly defeat for Tennessee, which was looking for its second SEC tournament title in three seasons. With Selection Sunday in two days, losing their last two games, including last Saturday's defeat to No. 15 Kentucky, will likely knock them out of contention for one of the four top seeds in next week's NCAA tournament.

All eyes will now be on North Carolina and Arizona in their respective conference tournaments. Both schools are eyeing No. 1 seeds next weekend. The Tar Heels face Pitt in Friday's ACC tournament semifinals with the Panthers trying to play their way into the Big Dance. The Wildcats, meanwhile, take on Oregon in the Pac-12 semifinals.

The Bulldogs improve to 21-12 on the season and will face the winner of Auburn-South Carolina in Saturday's first semifinal.