Mark Wiedmer: Does UT control its NCAA destiny?

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin signals to his players as they take on Florida in the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin signals to his players as they take on Florida in the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

His tenacious team flush with pride following a victory over Florida on Tuesday, Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin said of his Vols' NCAA Tournament chances:

"Is this one of the (best) 68 teams? Without a doubt, but... we have to keep it out of someone else's hands. Let's control the situation."

Not to dispute Martin entirely, because his second UT team is clearly one of the best 68 squads in the land, but other than winning the SEC Tournament -- which the Vols last did in 1979 -- the Big Orange's fate is somewhat out of its hands from this point forward.

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Comments » 39

BrassMonkey writes:

First. I would say yes at this point. Be weary of the Martin led flop job against either Georgia or Auburn. It has been on the horizon for some time.

SIMSVOL writes:

Flop jobs are in the rear view mirror for this team. Tennessee will win out and will win at least a couple in the SEC tourney. Count them in the NCAA- Go VOLS!

Nunshalpass writes:

Be weary of resident trolls...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

With the teams current make-up and progress, and with their current attitude I see no better team in the SEC. We seem to have learned consistency and perseverance. I agree with Donovan that Trae is the best at what he does in the league now. I know that Stokes is the best big. I think that McRae is the best wing and may just end up a high draft pick(at least 2nd round and I hope he doesn't leave). I see McBee as a spark to our defense as well as our offense at times. We have the best bench in the league as far as willingness to work.

We're fine right now. NOW let's be fine against Georgia. ONE at a time.

8inarow writes:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

The only break-in news for you......kid, is the lizard vs Tennessee game recently played. Perhaps you can't see or hear, for that matter, but the Vols disposed of the lizards ( as usual ) but the score was 64-58. You must have missed ( or ignored it ).

Big question for now, since you're a bandwagon fan..........is which team will you start jumping on board with now?

No school today.....kid?

crappieking writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

I don't know goober troll. Why don't you check the Gator website?

Jakevol writes:

Yes, they need to win out. NCAA looks at current "hot" teams and Vols are one of them. What will get them is to lose to one of the remaining teams or do badly in SEC T. Don't lose the game in the fouth QT,, as our Football team did.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

Well there WAS that mugging at TBA Tuesday night.

LovinMyVols writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

I don't know.

Might want to check here though...

http://www.rolltide.com/

mlynn1 writes:

The whole field is watered down this year, selection committee has to pick 68 teams. If favorites in smaller conferences win their respective tournaments and Tennessee wins last 3 games, I believe they are in regardless of SEC tournament. Just my opinion.

The_View_From_Memphis writes:

Is the title a rhetorical question? Yes, win the SEC tourney and you're in! By definition, that would be controlling your own destiny.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

KNS is just building you up for howls of protest (and bigger stats for them).

UT's chances at the dance are almost nil. Between the auto-qualifiers, and the 40 teams they take from the Big East and Big Ten, there's no room left at the Inn.

All those squeaker losses come back to roost.
http://realtimerpi.com/bracketology/b...

Right now, UT is neck and neck with Ole Miss and Bama, and they will only take 4 SEC schools.

I'd like to see ALL those schools get a shot.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

These games coming up.....
CCM has to be willing to pound the ball in the paint early, to get the guys grounded and playing tough.

I, for one, wish we still had the Jurick kid. Bruce was right to recruit him, we could use a kid like that right now.

SummittsCourt writes:

I think the Vols do control their destiny to get into the big dance. If they win out how can they be kept out? There would be no justification for keeping them out.

One of the committee's main criteria is how you are playing at the end of the season. If the Vols win out the regular season they will be 20-10 overall and 12-6 in the conference. With quality wins over ranked Wichita St., Kentucky and Florida. A one point loss to Georgetown is looking much better now too.

Not to mention UT fans travel well so there is that aspect of putting a hot UT team in the tournament.

CommodoreCapital writes:

4 SEC teams would be the max the league gets and unless Ole Miss really tanks then it would be FLA, Missouri, KY and Ole Miss. Ole Miss taking 2 from UT will be the deciding factor. Best UT can hope for is Ole Miss to lose out.

ktownorange32 writes:

not that ESPN likes Tenn but I read this morning that their "lead" bracketology guy Lunardi has us as THE 1st out.... but thats as it stands today if the season were over. 3 more wins and we shouldn't even have to win in the SEC tourny. Not saying we pull a sleeper and ignore the conf. tourny to rest the players. I wanna win one, but we don't HAVE to win any in the SEC tourny if we play a solid final 3 games

GR82BTNVOL writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

Nothing to report on Fla (today that is).

http://fansided.com/2013/02/08/florid...

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to MooseandSquirrelVol:

Well there WAS that mugging at TBA Tuesday night.

ha ha, good one

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

First. I would say yes at this point. Be weary of the Martin led flop job against either Georgia or Auburn. It has been on the horizon for some time.

anti-Vol troll as usual. You will claim to be on the 1st row this time

usnavyvolfan_on_duty writes:

By my math, if UT wins out, they could end up anywhere between 2nd and 5th in the SEC. Obviously, a top-4 finish would be great since it would get them a 2-game bye. Then again, a bye didn't exactly help them last year.

This is a team that's clicking right now, and I'm enjoying the fire out of watching them play. They just have to guard against complacency and remember that no games are ever won on paper. CCM and the Vols have much to be proud of over the last 3 weeks.

usnavyvolfan_on_duty writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

I think you're confused...this isn't the Orlando Sentinel.

CoverOrange writes:

Last I looked, which was a week or so ago, UT had better numbers vs top 25/50/100 than Kentucky. Why should UK be automatically in the mix and not UT? Nevermind, it's Kentucky, ooohhhh.

As for number of wins in the SEC Tourney, doesn't matter, just have to avoid losing to a lower seed. For example, we get the 2 game bye but the first game is against Florida, I don't think a one and done against the top team would hurt like a two and done versus say Miss St and Auburn.

Third, Stokes is good but I'm not sure (I admit to not being an expert) he is the best in the SEC. He played Patrick Young straight up and that center from LSU is pretty good. Stokes is a great rebounder but has not demonstrated himself to be dominate offensively, especially against other bigs.

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

I believe the next game is very dangerous. First, it is on the road. Second, it is against a team that thinks it can beat you because they already did. Third, it is coming after an emotional W over a top 10 team. Easy to have a let down if your not focussed. This is where a good coach shines.

SummittsCourt writes:

Another reason for optimism - UT is 53rd on the RPI and is 24th in strength of schedule.

Those are good enough numbers to get some serious consideration. Win out and win a couple of SEC tourney games and they are a shoe-in!

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to The_View_From_Memphis:

Is the title a rhetorical question? Yes, win the SEC tourney and you're in! By definition, that would be controlling your own destiny.

Yes, indeed. Right now, any school playing in a conference with a season-ending tournament controls its own destiny.

murrayvol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Last I looked, which was a week or so ago, UT had better numbers vs top 25/50/100 than Kentucky. Why should UK be automatically in the mix and not UT? Nevermind, it's Kentucky, ooohhhh.

As for number of wins in the SEC Tourney, doesn't matter, just have to avoid losing to a lower seed. For example, we get the 2 game bye but the first game is against Florida, I don't think a one and done against the top team would hurt like a two and done versus say Miss St and Auburn.

Third, Stokes is good but I'm not sure (I admit to not being an expert) he is the best in the SEC. He played Patrick Young straight up and that center from LSU is pretty good. Stokes is a great rebounder but has not demonstrated himself to be dominate offensively, especially against other bigs.

The numbers that really count with the NCAA are butts in seats and in that arena nobody tops the Cats.

Stokes should work on finishing in close and FTs. Other than that he's pretty awesome.

Basketvol writes:

If UT wins out and doesn't get in, then that's a crime. They should have been in last year and got overlooked. I'm afraid of that happening again. UT gets no respect. Heard on ESPN yesterday: Kentucky is on a 2-game winning streak after a 30 point beating by Mississippi State. I'm sure this wasn't intentional, but come on, man! We can't even get credit for the games we won. After the UK game, the headlines were all about what's wrong with Kentucky. After the UF game, the headlines were all about top seeds falling. Where's the story on the 6-game winning streak that included 3 road wins, one against an instate rival (yeah, yeah, I know. Vandy is terrible)and a 4 OT marathon; a 30 point beat down of another rival; a win against LSU that featured a perfect Jordan McRae from 3; and capped off with a win over the #1 team in the SEC and a top team in the nation. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Basketvol writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Ok, any new break-ins today? Arrests?

Cuonzo 3-0 Martin!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

I believe the next game is very dangerous. First, it is on the road. Second, it is against a team that thinks it can beat you because they already did. Third, it is coming after an emotional W over a top 10 team. Easy to have a let down if your not focussed. This is where a good coach shines.

To that list of compelling factors, I would add the fact that UGA let an eminently winnable game at Vandy get away from them last night. I look for the Vols to surmount a stiff challenge in Athens Saturday to continue their unlikely march to the NCAAs. That's my story and I'm sticking to it(;-P)!

Theo writes:

Interesting article in The Tennessean yesterday (I realize interesting article and Tennessean are oximorons) regarding attendence. I believe ten of the SEC schools have experienced a decrease in basketball attendance this year. UT is one of only four up and is second in attendance by about 4K. The article was about West End Senior High's attendance being down 3K or 22%. You had to look through the chart to find out this positive UT news. Evidently the editorial board of the Tennessean does not allow positive news about UT.
Still, interesting.

UT4prez writes:

I love the people that say UT can't get in. If they win the next 3 there's a chance their RPI is in the 30s! I think if they win 3 of the next 4 and the loss is not Auburn, or a similarly bad team in the SEC tourney, then they will get in. Win 4 of 5 and I guarantee they are in. That would mean win out in the regular season and one in the SEC tourney. I think 3 does it as that likely leaves the RPI in the 40s. To help I want UK, UF, Xavier, Wichita, and UMass to win as much as possible. Mizzou too. I predict we make it this year. I'm not going back to look but I think I predicted 20-22 regular season wins. They have a shot!

I'm very proud of the guys. Great effort and they're playing beautiful ball right now. GA will be very dangerous! Maybe that loss at Vandy will have them down. They're playing for NIT right now. We're playing better and they're not on the roll they were before. Tough game but we should win. UT 72, GA 60.

UT4prez writes:

Ok. Couldn't help it. Posted in October.

"John, I appreciate the optimism and there are a lot of good signs with this coach and team. But there are some new pieces in the mix now and chemistry is different every year. Be careful with expectations. They played outstanding ball in the conference so they could be much better and not generate a better conference winning percentage. Out of conference and the tournament play are where I expect us to improve. Be careful dismissing SC as well. People said the same thing about is last year. How many wins do you predict in the regular season? I'm thinking 20-22."

We can make it to 20! Go Vols!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Stokes is too the best big in the SEC. How can you "Coverorange" if you don't believe?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to murrayvol:

The numbers that really count with the NCAA are butts in seats and in that arena nobody tops the Cats.

Stokes should work on finishing in close and FTs. Other than that he's pretty awesome.

I have to admit that we've missed Maymon's cleaning up the "garbage". His putbacks last year helped us turn it around. However Stokes is rebounding for two and drawing some fouls that help us late with opposing foul troubles. Those putbacks can be tough when people are either hanging on your back or double and triple teaming. It's hard to jump with extra luggage.lol I really do think he at least has the most potential. Noels maybe!

orangeman1 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

Ok. Couldn't help it. Posted in October.

"John, I appreciate the optimism and there are a lot of good signs with this coach and team. But there are some new pieces in the mix now and chemistry is different every year. Be careful with expectations. They played outstanding ball in the conference so they could be much better and not generate a better conference winning percentage. Out of conference and the tournament play are where I expect us to improve. Be careful dismissing SC as well. People said the same thing about is last year. How many wins do you predict in the regular season? I'm thinking 20-22."

We can make it to 20! Go Vols!

Agree, they win 4 more games and I think they are in. They definitely control their own destiny.

RememberWhen writes:

Unless they win through to the SEC tourney final, they have no chance...RPI, BPI aren't good enough, two bad losses to Memphis and GA, only one quality win vs FL and the conference is pathetic! A loss to Missou in the final regular season game will virtually eliminate them as will a 1st or 2nd rd loss in the SECT. The mid-majors could hurt them as well if a few upsets occur in those conference tourneys by teams that otherwise wouldn't get in. Looking at a 1 or 2 seed - in the NIT!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

Unless they win through to the SEC tourney final, they have no chance...RPI, BPI aren't good enough, two bad losses to Memphis and GA, only one quality win vs FL and the conference is pathetic! A loss to Missou in the final regular season game will virtually eliminate them as will a 1st or 2nd rd loss in the SECT. The mid-majors could hurt them as well if a few upsets occur in those conference tourneys by teams that otherwise wouldn't get in. Looking at a 1 or 2 seed - in the NIT!

speculation. WE ALL DO IT. So I can't call you a troll FOR THAT!!!

Basketvol writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

Unless they win through to the SEC tourney final, they have no chance...RPI, BPI aren't good enough, two bad losses to Memphis and GA, only one quality win vs FL and the conference is pathetic! A loss to Missou in the final regular season game will virtually eliminate them as will a 1st or 2nd rd loss in the SECT. The mid-majors could hurt them as well if a few upsets occur in those conference tourneys by teams that otherwise wouldn't get in. Looking at a 1 or 2 seed - in the NIT!

Memphis with an RPI of 20 is a bad loss? I recently saw TN listed is a quality win (for UK I think) with an RPI of 52. Surely Memphis' record of 24-4, #17/19 national ranking, and the aforementioned 20 RPI disqualifies this as a bad loss. UGA, yes that was a bad loss. One that is about to be avenged. Only one quality win, really? Wichita State (24-6, RPI 41,was top 25 at the time), Kentucky (20-8, RPI 50, also ranked at the time). The real question is why do I even bother trying to explain this. You are so clearly biased against UT that it really doesn't matter what the facts are. If we win out in the regular season, we SHOULD be in. Win out and win one in the SECT and it SHOULD be a guarantee. Unfortunately you aren't the only one with an anti-UT bias and ultimately this might keep them out regardless of how they finish. Really, five to six SEC teams are capable of making the tournament but won't. I know the SEC is down this year, but is it really that bad? I think this is payback for the SEC's domination of football.

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