Vols Beat Expectations to Reach NCAA Tournament
The Vols certainly weren’t a sure bet to make the NCAA Tournament this year.
But after 25 wins and a share of the SEC regular season title, Tennessee is now expected to do some big damage in the Big Dance, starting Thursday against Wright State.
Winning a share of the SEC regular season title was great, but making the Big Dance is just as sweet.
Said forward Grant Williams:”We’re excited. We’ve never been apart of this. Thankful. Humbled to be here, and it’s a blessing.”
Tennessee may already feel like a Cinderella team. After all, they were picked to finish next-to-last in the SEC this season.
Said forward Admiral Schofield:”I mean we’ve never really looked in the media or rankings or anything because we’re a bunch of two and three stars sitting up here. What we’ve done this year is a testament to our hard work.”
Reporter:”After you were picked 13th in the league, you had a team meeting. Asked the players how many of you guys think you are future pros? Bunch of guys raised their hands. Players said your response was well, nobody else thinks that.”
Said head coach Rick Barnes:”I’m sure I did that. I said if you’re that good, why are we picked 13th? And so I guess we’re going to have to go out, and you guys are going to have to show people that you are that good.”
It seems the Vols arrived in Dallas with a chip on their shoulder after a poor showing against Kentucky in the SEC Tournament title game on Sunday.
Said Schofield:”It’s kind of alarming because that’s a big stage you know the SEC Championship game. It’s probably going to be like what the NCAA Tournament is going to be like, and we didn’t come out and perform in that first half. That kind of bothered all of us.”
You need consistent guard play in the Big Dance, something the Vols haven’t always gotten from Kyle Alexander and Jordan Bone.
Said Barnes:”Those guys have been spectacular, and then they’ve just gone away. They’re not going to play perfect every night, but the key word is consistency.”