5 Reasons Why Tennessee Won’t Make The NCAA Tournament
5 Reasons Why Tennessee Won't Make The NCAA Tournament
The Tennessee Volunteers have not been as hot under the Cuonzo Martin era as they were in the Bruce Pearl era. Volunteers fans are hoping that 2014 will be the year where the team can get back into the NCAA tournament, but for the third consecutive year, the Volunteers will be invited to party that is not the NCAA Tournament.
Martin's team clearly has enough talent to at least make the postseason. With players like Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes, the Volunteers on paper have one of the more talented teams in the SEC; but sadly this has not translated to on the court. The only way the Volunteers can secure an at-large bid is to win out in the final stretch of the regular season and beat either Kentucky or Florida in the SEC Tournament. Given what the team has failed to accomplish so far, it is hard to see the Volunteers achieving this task.
Stranger things have happened, though, and that is why the term "March Madness" was created. The Volunteers have put themselves in this predicament with bad losses to inferior teams, zero impressive road wins, struggling late in the year, mediocre conference play and not being competitive against the top teams in the SEC.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility for the Volunteers to get two quality wins in their last three regular season games against the likes of Vanderbilt and Missouri. However, here are five reasons why the Volunteers will ultimately miss out on the NCAA Tournament and instead participate in the NIT Tournament.
5. 6-6 In Their Last 12 Games
Teams that are on the bubble watch for an at-large bid need to be playing their best basketball towards the end of the season. For the Volunteers, this has not happened as the team has gone a mediocre 6-6 in their past 12 games. What makes this stretch even worse is that the Volunteers had four chances to defeat quality teams in the conference but failed to capitalize on any of these opportunities.
4. 2-6 vs. RPI Top 50 Teams
Tennessee's record against their RPI top-50 opponents has been nothing to bag about. The Volunteers are only 2-6 with wins over Virginia at home and Xavier on a neutral court. Not including their SEC losses, the Volunteers also lost to Xavier and Wichita State on the road.
3. Zero Impressive Road Wins
Looking at Tennessee's overall schedule, only three of their 16 wins this season have been on the road. With victories against just LSU, Alabama and Mississippi State, the Volunteers will have plenty of work to do on the road to improve any chance they might have for an at-large bid.
2. Zero Wins Against Florida and Kentucky
The SEC has proven to be the weakest power conference in college basketball. With not many quality opponents, the Volunteers failed to capitalize on their biggest games of the season. In three contests against Florida and Kentucky, the top two teams in the league, the Volunteers lost all three.
1. Three Losses To Sub-100 RPI Teams
Bad losses mean more to a team's tournament resume than great wins. Too many of each will either vault a team into the dance or kick them to the curb. The Volunteers will be kicked to the curb following three poor losses. Against UTEP and twice against Texas A&M, the Volunteers lost. These three losses will make the Volunteers miss the tournament for the third consecutive season and Martin will be on the hot seat in Knoxville.