February 27, 2013
Vols' confidence growing, McRae exploding
For Tennessee, Tuesday night's 64-58 win over Florida was the culmination of countless 'what if' scenarios thrown around by optimistic Vol fans since the current six game win streak started. 'What if's,' along the lines of 'if the Vols win their next five and beat Florida, could the be in the NCAA tournament discussion?'
That kind of chatter sounded outlandish to most level-headed observers as little as two weeks ago.
All Tennessee really did in winning the five games before the Gators came to town was give themselves a chance. But when that chance, came, the Vols seized it like a fat kid grabbing the last cupcake at a birthday party.
After last night's win over the No. 8 Gators, it's suddenly outlandish to think that the Vols are anything other than knee-deep in the fight for an at-large NCAA tournament berth.
Rest assured, Cuonzo Martin is more aware of that fact than anyone. He knows it's all but impossible to ask his players to ignore all the talk on the subject, he also knows that all Tennessee has done so far is inject themselves into the discussion.
A misstep with a loss at Georgia or Auburn in the next two games could put his squad right back on the outside looking in.
ESPN's resident 'bracketologist' Joe Lunardi has taken note of the Vols. The acknowledged master of forecasting the bracket had largely ignored Tennessee until last night. Now suddenly they're all the way up to 'last team out' status in Lunardi's eyes, or No. 69 among the 68-team field for the uninitiated.
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