UT is 17-11 overall and 9-7 in the SEC, sitting in a sixth-place tie with Arkansas. The Vols face Auburn (9-20, 3-13) on Wednesday night at Auburn Arena (TV: CSS, 9:00 p.m.). The Tigers have lost seven straight and 12 of their last 13 outings.
“Two games left, obviously one on the road at Auburn,” Martin said. “It will be Senior Night so those guys will be hungry. Watching them on film, they compete and they play hard. They just have to find a way to get over that hump because they’re right in there in a lot of games.”
Despite averaging 31.0 points in last week’s loss to Georgia and win over No. 8 Florida, junior guard Jordan McRae missed out on being the third different UT player to be named SEC player of the week in the last four weeks. The honor instead went to Missouri’s Alex Oriakhi, who averaged 18.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and three blocks in wins over South Carolina and LSU.
“(McRae has) definitely put himself in the position as the potential SEC player of the year,” Martin said. “With the way he’s played and the way he’s scored the ball and his numbers in (statistical) categories, he’s right up there.”
After Wednesday’s game at Auburn, the Vols will wrap up the regular season on Saturday against Missouri (21-8, 10-6).
“It’s not necessarily what we have to do (to make the NCAA tournament),” Martin said. “We talk about one game at a time and winning basketball games. We have two games left and we’ve won six of the last seven. For us, it’s trying to win a road game in a tough environment and then trying to win a home game against a very talented team.”
More coming online and in Tuesday’s News Sentinel.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn