Vols End NCAA Tournament Drought and Earn Big Dance Date With Wright State
It has been March Madness all year for Tennessee. They were picked to finish next-to-last in the SEC. Yet they shared the league title and made the finals of the conference tournament.
With that kind of resume, the Vols punched their ticket to the Big Dance on Sunday as a three seed against Wright State.
Said head coach Rick Barnes:”Just hats off to our team. They believed they could do it. They did it. Now we’re in the big event.”
Said forward Admiral Schofield:”Always a great accomplishment being in the NCAA tournament, especially for a program like us that hasn’t been there in a couple of years.”
Perhaps the only bummer for Tennessee, they have to play in Dallas instead of maybe Nashville. Reporter:”Disappointed maybe a little bit that it wasn’t Nashville to be closer to home?”
Said Schofield:”Uh yeah, but at the same time hopefully some orange will be in the stands supporting us in Dallas.”
The Vols are one of eight SEC teams to make the NCAA Tournament, which is a new SEC record.
Said Barnes:”You look around this league. We know it’s the best athletic league in the country. We knew that basketball needed to step up and do their part. I’m excited for our league. I’m excited for our coaches. It has been an unbelievable regular season. I just know this. Any team that’s coming out of our league has a chance to do some serious damage.”
Said Schofield:”We think we have one of the toughest conferences in the country. To be able to win that regular season wise. I mean it’s just a testament to what we’ve done and the hard work we’ve put in. Honestly, it’s a great accomplishment for our league.”
Tennessee doesn’t know much about Wright State, but they don’t want to be on the wrong end of March Madness on Thursday.
Said Schofiled:”The biggest thing is you can’t take any opponent lightly. Even Lipscomb got selected, a team we played earlier in the year. That was a close game. You know you just can’t take any opponent lightly, and you’ve got to respect the game. By respecting the game, you’ve got to come out and compete as hard as you can.”
The Vols and Wright State tip at 12:40pmest on Thursday, and the game will be televised on TRU-TV.