Kentucky coach John Calipari and Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said Monday they believe the SEC will get at least five teams into the NCAA tournament.
Martin said at his Monday press luncheon that the Vols are one of the teams outside of the SEC's top five that are "hovering,'' after Saturday's 62-50 loss at Alabama.
Tennessee (14-13, 6-6) plays host to Ole Miss (15-11, 5-7) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (TV: CSS) at Thompson-Boling Arena before finishing the regular season with games at South Carolina (Saturday), at LSU (Feb. 29) and at home against Vanderbilt (March 3).
"Right now, you'd say on paper maybe five ... six (in the NCAA tournament)?'' said Martin, whose team is in a four-way tie for fourth. "The guys on paper, Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Mississippi State ... there's five, bona fide, unless someone completely falls on their face.
"You have other teams out there hovering; I think we are. For us, it's finishing strong down the stretch and winning games in the tournament.''
Calipari said he believes the Vols are one of two SEC teams outside the current top five that are capable of going on a run at the league tournament in New Orleans.
"I think we've got five teams that will be in (the NCAA tournament), and if somebody crazy, one of those other teams wins our tournament, we may have six in,'' Calipari said on the SEC teleconference on Monday. "What our league has done nonconference, and playing each other, we've got five teams in.
"If someone goes into the tournament and goes on a crazy run, and let me tell you something, the other teams can do that,'' he said. "We played Tennessee, ask Florida about Tennessee, ask them. Arkansas, now Arkansas loses a tough game to Florida. They hadn't lost at home. What if one of those two teams goes on a crazy run and wins the tournament? "They're capable. Now all the sudden, we've got six teams in.''
More details as they develop online and in Tuesday's News Sentinel