Tennessee’s name was not called during Sunday night’s NCAA tournament selection, but the Vols still have at least one more game to play in the 2011-2012 season after receiving a No. 1 seed in the NIT.
“We’re a No. 1 seed in the NIT, and we’re ready to roll,” Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin said Sunday evening.
The Vols will play the No. 8 seed Savannah State Tigers at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Thompson Boling Arena, and Martin has already begun preparing.
“We’re watching Savannah film tonight," he said. "Guys are watching it as we speak. We’ll watch it more tomorrow and get ready to roll.”
After losing in the first round of the SEC tournament to Ole Miss, Martin hinted that Tennessee players were disappointed to be left out of the NCAA tournament.
“More than anything as a basketball player, you want competition. You’re upset tonight. You’re upset tomorrow morning because you didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Let’s go play some basketball now. You’re still a ball player,” Martin said.
He also said that after the Ole Miss game, “physical defense and conditioning” were the areas he desired to see improvement most.
“The players were into (practice) today because we made them be into it with the stuff we were doing,” Martin said.
Tennessee’s head coach did some reflecting on his favorite parts of the season.
“They defended as a team. They continued to get better. They competed. I really think about the Florida game. They made strides there. How they finished games, would win games.”
Martin added that he was not concerned with the University of Tennessee’s spring break detracting from attendance.
“We’ve got a lot of people in Knoxville, Tennessee. They’ll come out to support us.”
Suspended junior Kenny Hall will not be playing on Tuesday night, Martin said, and his status remains day-to-day.