Postseason play has arrived for the Tennessee men’s basketball team. Whether the SEC tournament leads to the NCAA tournament for the Vols will dominate a spinning news cycle leading to Selection Sunday on March 17.
With all that in mind, UT coach Cuonzo Martin sat down Monday with Knoxville media for his weekly press luncheon.
“You can only control one game at a time, we are not going (to the SEC tournament) saying we need to win a certain number of games,” said Martin, whose Vols closed the regular season with a 64-62 win over Missouri on Saturday. “Just win the first.”
Fifth-seeded Tennessee (19-11, 11-7) will face the winner of Wednesday’s first round SEC tournament game between 12th-seeded South Carolina (14-17, 4-14) and 13th-seeded Mississippi State (9-21, 4-14).
Martin said the Vols “won’t get consumed” by last season’s opening-round loss to Ole Miss.
For the second straight year, UT won eight of its last nine games to close out the regular season.
“You still have to win games (when it comes to NCAA berth) I feel good about where we are, but you have to continue to win games,” Martin said.
SEC awards including coach of the year, player of the year, freshman of the year and all-league teams are due out Tuesday. Tennessee guards Jordan McRae and Trae Golden, along with forward Jarnell Stokes, are candidates for all-SEC honors.
More coming online and in Tuesday’s News Sentinel.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn