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_
Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.
He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.
Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.
The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.
Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.
SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.
The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.
Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.
South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.
The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.
Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.
A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.
Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.
Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.
Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.
The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.
Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.