Cuonzo Martin believes Vols are on NCAA tournament track

Martin: UT belongs in NCAA tournament

Tennessee's Jordan McRae tries to score while defended by Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon, left, and London Perrantes at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, December 30, 2013. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Jordan McRae tries to score while defended by Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon, left, and London Perrantes at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, December 30, 2013. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin and Tony Bennett caught up Monday morning. Hours later, Martin referenced his chat with Virginia’s coach while discussing his Tennessee men’s basketball team.

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Comments » 11

wigmeister writes:

The bottom line is that the Vols must win all their games. They might get away with losing one more. They need to win or go deep in the SEC championship tournament.

johndavid writes:

in response to wigmeister:

The bottom line is that the Vols must win all their games. They might get away with losing one more. They need to win or go deep in the SEC championship tournament.

Why do people keep writing this nonsense?

We are projected a 10th seed. Do you think Lunardi projects them to finish 9-1 ? We would finish 2nd in sec with a 8-2 finish. We can lose 4 more games and be in, been telling you this for a month or more. 11-7 ( sec) gets us in!
It's called SOS and RPI. We lose once to Florida and once to Missouri and we get one or two more free passes but that would be it.

underthehill writes:

in response to johndavid:

Why do people keep writing this nonsense?

We are projected a 10th seed. Do you think Lunardi projects them to finish 9-1 ? We would finish 2nd in sec with a 8-2 finish. We can lose 4 more games and be in, been telling you this for a month or more. 11-7 ( sec) gets us in!
It's called SOS and RPI. We lose once to Florida and once to Missouri and we get one or two more free passes but that would be it.

Projections are merely opinions and have nothing to do with reality..the reality is the committee will decide who gets in and who don't ..UT cannot lose 4 more games and be in..and I don't think they will lose 4 more games..the overall weakness of the SEC may result in the conference getting only 3 teams in the big show..hopefully it will be 4 ..UT needs to finish no lower than 3rd in the SEC..and they have a good chance to do so..the way they are playing now..they may take Fla in K town...and they are very capable of beating Mizzu

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johndavid:

Why do people keep writing this nonsense?

We are projected a 10th seed. Do you think Lunardi projects them to finish 9-1 ? We would finish 2nd in sec with a 8-2 finish. We can lose 4 more games and be in, been telling you this for a month or more. 11-7 ( sec) gets us in!
It's called SOS and RPI. We lose once to Florida and once to Missouri and we get one or two more free passes but that would be it.

I admire your optimism. I do not doubt that the Vols are better right now than three-fourths of the teams that will be in the Dance. I would certainly like to think that the SEC will get four or more teams in the NCAAs but I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel on that; it only got three last year, and nobody that I know of is arguing that the conference is better this year.

It's just that I don't think it's healthy for a program with a history of narrow failures to qualify, or for its fans, to think that there is some minimum number of wins to get in, so we can let one or two go here or there. They can't ease up just because the finish line may be in sight; they have to sprint through the tape--finish the play--fight to end--and then be surprised at the end how easy it actually was. They have to be SURE to take the team COMPLETELY off the bubble. If they really are a contending team, then they should be thinking about not only getting in but getting a good seed, which means they need as many wins as they can possibly get, not the number they can settle for to "limp" in.

You may be right. There may be nothing at all to worry about. We just may have a slight difference in perception. I'm just saying that the Vols need to play every game as if it is their last, because in the NCAAs every game COULD be your last, so you might as well get in that habit NOW!

johndavid writes:

Math is MATH ! It has nothing to do with anything else. You say we cannot lose 4 more games and be in. Why? Based on what ?

Lunardi and myself are basing it on math. Math is not an opinion. Does it change your mind if you knew we would be 20-11 and #38 RPI and 15 SOS. That is what we are basing our prediction on. Remember Lunardi is about 99% when predicting, NOT BECAUSE he is so smart, but because he is using basic math and not how he feels about a team. I am surprised that after RPI playing such a role in the NCAA selections for many years that we still have so many people on the board saying we cannot lose any more or just one more. If TN's SOS was 100 we would have to win them all. It's all about the math!

You do realize that what NC State , Virginia, Wake , Utep ,Xavier x2, etc are deciding everyday how many wins and losses we need, so it can change slightly. But based on the trend about 11.5 SEC wins is a guarantee right now!

johndavid writes:

in response to underthehill:

Projections are merely opinions and have nothing to do with reality..the reality is the committee will decide who gets in and who don't ..UT cannot lose 4 more games and be in..and I don't think they will lose 4 more games..the overall weakness of the SEC may result in the conference getting only 3 teams in the big show..hopefully it will be 4 ..UT needs to finish no lower than 3rd in the SEC..and they have a good chance to do so..the way they are playing now..they may take Fla in K town...and they are very capable of beating Mizzu

Why can they not lose 4 more games and be in, based on what? Because you don't think they will be included at 21 -11 ? The reality is the selection committee is going to decide based mostly on RPI and SOS!

Let's talk reality some more.

Lunardi ( and we can too) can determine what our RPI will almost be if we go 20-11 or 21-11 or 22 -11. He is predicting from that because it almost never fails. He cannot predict wins and losses and we cannot either 100%, but we can predict the math 100% of the time and 98-99 % the selection committee will make their choices based on it. Now why can we not make it with 4 more losses?

The selection committee will look at RPI the most and they state time and time again it does not matter how many teams from the same conference are in.

I actually think we will lose 3-5 more games. So I am not being as optimistic as most.

Thats strange, most people think TN WILL win more than I BUT will not make the dance. I think they will win slightly less and still be in.
I will stick with the same math that was develped 1000's of years ago and has not changed, except for maybe this year's recruiting limit.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johndavid:

Why can they not lose 4 more games and be in, based on what? Because you don't think they will be included at 21 -11 ? The reality is the selection committee is going to decide based mostly on RPI and SOS!

Let's talk reality some more.

Lunardi ( and we can too) can determine what our RPI will almost be if we go 20-11 or 21-11 or 22 -11. He is predicting from that because it almost never fails. He cannot predict wins and losses and we cannot either 100%, but we can predict the math 100% of the time and 98-99 % the selection committee will make their choices based on it. Now why can we not make it with 4 more losses?

The selection committee will look at RPI the most and they state time and time again it does not matter how many teams from the same conference are in.

I actually think we will lose 3-5 more games. So I am not being as optimistic as most.

Thats strange, most people think TN WILL win more than I BUT will not make the dance. I think they will win slightly less and still be in.
I will stick with the same math that was develped 1000's of years ago and has not changed, except for maybe this year's recruiting limit.

That was a very elegant explanation of your reasoning. Of course you are right in your description of some of the selection criteria. Though I don't follow the tourney prognosticators that closely with this much of the season left, I don't doubt you have reported their views accurately.

All I know is that with records the last two years that are strikingly similar to this year's, the committee managed not to select the Vols and I heard some rather convoluted reasoning on their part for that decision. I'm just saying, don't give the committee a chance to screw it up! It is those "bubble" situations where less-rigorous criteria show up, so the Vols don't want to be NEAR the bubble.

I don't really want to get into an argument with you, since we are both fans and want the best for the program. However, what you said about the committee not caring how many teams get in from a conference doesn't necessarily work in the Vols' favor. The committee might have no trouble putting in eight teams each from the Big Ten and the ACC, as examples, and still see no more than two or three worthy SEC teams. If the Vols finish second, the committee will have almost no choice but to select them, in part because that would mean that they were finishing the season as strongly as anybody else, which is another somewhat less mathematical criterion that I have heard that the committee uses.

When it is all said and done, if the Vols get in, whether it is by a little or by a lot, most of us will be happy, except of course for the "fire Martin now" crowd. I would just rather look back and marvel how easy it actually was, after all this near-miss angst of the last couple of years than to have to say once again, "DANG! I really thought they would make it this time!"

stevefromjasper writes:

Play them one at a time. Don't let Vandy turn tomorrow night's game into a free throw shooting exhibition, as so many games at Memorial Gym turn out to be.

fannotsheep writes:

I don't pretend to know how the selection committee arrives at its conclusions. I do know that Tennessee and Alabama have missed NCAA tournaments a couple times lately when they thought they were in. I don't think Tennessee is safe unless they have 22 wins going into the SEC Tournament. They might make it with fewer, but the Vols have a bad habit of being one and done in the SEC T. So let's win the games on the road against teams we should beat and win all remaining home games. That adds up to 22 regular season wins.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to fannotsheep:

I don't pretend to know how the selection committee arrives at its conclusions. I do know that Tennessee and Alabama have missed NCAA tournaments a couple times lately when they thought they were in. I don't think Tennessee is safe unless they have 22 wins going into the SEC Tournament. They might make it with fewer, but the Vols have a bad habit of being one and done in the SEC T. So let's win the games on the road against teams we should beat and win all remaining home games. That adds up to 22 regular season wins.

That's the way I see it, too. Don't try to figure out how many you can lose and still limp in, pour on the coal and finish with a fury! Don't paw at the door and beg admittance, kick the danged door down!

johnlg00 writes:

PS, fns: The path you laid out should indeed end with an NCAA invite. My gut tells me that if the Vols beat Florida at home and Mizzou on the road, a road loss or two to the next-highest-rated team(s) they face may not hurt them too much. UF and UM represent just about their last pre-SEC-tournament chance for real resume-enhancing wins.

What do you think of that result, johndavid? I know you think they are already in, but does that result improve their likely seeding? As I indicated above, this is pretty much off the cuff with me. How does this work in terms of the numbers you are using?

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