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Consistent Johnson sparks Vols

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Calling the Tennessee Volunteers' season a mixed bag of results so far might be the understatement of the year.

The Vols have all the talent in the world, but for whatever reason, just haven't been able to string together consistency.

While the team itself has struggled with consistency, one key piece of the puzzle has been consistent from Day 1-Keon Johnson.

The former five star recruit didn't see considerable playing time until he earned the starting role several weeks into the season.

Since then, he's been the facilitator in the lineup that's been a key component of the success.

Tennessee reached as high as No. 7 in the AP poll, but once the calendar flipped to January, Tennessee struggled to string together wins.

Whether it's been finding the open man or posting the numbers himself, Johnson has been a reason why the Volunteers were able to claw their way to the SEC semifinals and nearly knock off eventual tournament winner Alabama.

Johnson posted a season high point total in a comeback win against Kentucky on February 6.

He went for 27 points while shooting 56 percent from the floor.

He's posted double figures in his last five games played, highlighted by a 20-point effort in the SEC semifinals against Alabama.

Now Tennessee gets the dreaded five seed against Oregon State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

It's clear the Vols will go as far as Johnson goes.

Luckily, it's not been just an offensive endeavor for the former Webb School star.

He's totaled 27 steals and 12 blocks this season as well.

He's averaged over 11 points per game and is a 45 % field goal shooter.

If Tennessee is to make a run, Johnson has to keep with his recent trend of posting double-digit scores and continue to be effective on the defensive end of the court.

In addition to his run with the Volunteers this year, Johnson is also projected to be a top-20 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

CBS Sports has Johnson listed at No. 16, while ESPN has him up to sixth.

Johnson and the Vols will begin their endeavor in the NCAA tournament on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

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