Of the four remaining games on Tennessee’s regular season schedule coming into Tuesday night, No. 8 Florida presented the best chance to get a NCAA tournament resume-defining win and the Volunteers seized that opportunity.
Behind 27 points from junior Jordan McRae, Tennessee beat No. 8 Florida at its own game, holding the Gators to 42 percent shooting in a 64-58 win at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.
The win lifts the Volunteers to 17-10, including 9-6 in an admittedly down SEC this year. Having this notch in the proverbial NCAA belt gives Tennessee the signature win to highlight its resume, along with quality wins over Kentucky and Wichita State. They likely wish they had come out on the right side of their infamous 37-36 loss to Georgetown in the non-conference season, but only have one bad loss that stands out: at home vs. Georgia.
Tennessee ranks 57th in RPI, but can pick up another resume-building win to end the season against Missouri, in addition to whatever wins they can pull together in the SEC tournament. They are helped by a ranking of 36th in SOS, ahead of a team like Alabama (85th) and in line with Villanova (34th).
The Volunteers even have a shot at pulling into second or third in the SEC, however unlikely that might sound. Consider this: Alabama (11-4 SEC) has three games remaining in the conference regular season, on the road at Florida and Ole Miss, then back home against Georgia. Tennessee (9-6 SEC) has Georgia and Auburn on the road, before returning home against Missouri.
If UT can go at least 2-1 while the Crimson Tide loses those two road games against tougher opponents, we could be talking about a more crowded top of the conference.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.
According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.
The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.
Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.
The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?