Vols Not Taking NCAA Tournament Bid For Granted
The Tennessee men will be making their 22nd overall appearance in the Big Dance this week. Given how UT was ranked number one for much of the season, maybe this will be the year they finally make it to the Final Four.
Tennessee missed out on the SEC title after losing to Auburn on Sunday, but going to the Big Dance isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Said head coach Rick Barnes:”You’re one of what 68 teams that get to play in this tournament. That in itself is something you don’t ever take for granted. I’ve said that every year I’ve been in it.”
Reporter:”Have you found any difference in the way your team responds whether you lose a conference tournament game or whether you win a conference tournament?”
Said Barnes:”One of the best teams we had. I’ll never forget it. We get beat by Texas Tech and Coach (Bobby) Knight in Dallas. I remember he shook my hand and said now go win you a national championship. That was the year we went ot the Final Four. He said this is good for you. Now go win you a national championship. That’s what he said, but at the time, I didn’t think it was good for us because you always want to win.”
Reporter:”What are the elements a team needs to have to go deep in the tournament? Is there one common thread?”
Said Barnes:”Talent. Is the first one. You’ve got to have talent.”
And what about the talent of Tennessee’s first round opponent, Colgate.
Said Barnes:”I mean they’re good. You look at them, they’re a very skilled team. High percentage shooting. They’ve got great size. Across the front, they’re as big as we are or bigger.”
Reporter:”How do you feel about the idea that a team is sort of ultimately defined by how they perform over the next one to three weeks.”
Said Barnes:”I mean you look at where we are right now. We’ve had a terrific season, but we want more, and I think everybody that’s in this tournament wants more. Whether that’s how you are defined or not. It is what it is. You’ve just got to win. You can look at the bracket and think this and that. I don’t do that. I’m not going to sit there and analyze here there or whatever. It’s what we got handed to us, and we’ve got to make the best of it.”
Tennessee will face Colgate at 2:45pm on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.