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THE NIT FACTOR: Mercer shot 50 percent to win 75-67 on the road in the first round of last season’s NIT. That gives the Bears confidence they can beat the Volunteers again, while the Vols aren’t going to overlook a team that ended their season a year earlier. “We understand they’re a very good team and that they’re playing with a chip on their shoulder,” Stokes said. “And we’re also playing with a chip on our shoulder.”

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