Feb 18, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Cuonzo Martin during the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Today On Rocky Top: Vols' Tourney Hopes Still Alive

From the Times Free Press

Tennessee topped Mississippi State in a must-win endeavor Wednesday night in Starkville.

Does that change what we know? Not really. The Volunteers are flawed because of point guard deficiencies and offensive stagnation. They have to have Jordan McRae doing Jordan things or a surprise night from one of the misfit perimeter toys. Wednesday night it was all McRae, the steely-eyed senior who went for 29 and made the plays to deliver the goods.

Does it change what we believe about these Vols? Maybe. Consider this: Tennessee had to win. Mississippi State is terrible but the Vols had everything to lose and managed not to lose. They knew. Coach Cuonzo Martin knew it. Heck, even Spy knew it, and he was watching the History Channel and eating catfish. And with that knowledge can come pressure.

With pressure can come increased anxiety, and with that can come decreased production that can be especially painful against a weaker foe that starts to hang around.

The Vols ignored that and went to work. Good for them, and whether you believe Martin should be canned or extended, it’s a plus in his ledger that his kids play hard for him every game.

 

From ESPN

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings spoke up in support of an in-state rival on Thursday, sayingTennessee fans who want the university to fire coach Cuonzo Martin are “idiots.”

Tennessee (17-11, 8-7 SEC) is at risk of missing the NCAA tournament for the third straight year since Martin started as coach, putting him on the hot seat as the Vols enter their final three games, including against Stallings’ Commodores on Saturday.

“I think for people to speculate on his job is absurd,” Stallings said Thursday before practice, according to The Tennessean.

The Volunteers, who played in the NIT the past two years, are currently among the “last four in” the NCAA tournament field, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology.

 

From Bleacher Report

Despite failing to put a quality product on the gridiron the past several years, the Tennessee Volunteers normally have their fair share of departing players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

This year was no different as five former Vols participated in the NFL’s annual dog-and-pony show, where players get poked, prodded, examined, interviewed, dissected—all in front of a television audience.

Tennessee was well represented in Indianapolis: Four of its starting offensive linemen and a mountainous nose guard participated.

 

From Nooga.com

The recruiting process can change in an instant for a prep player hoping to go from simply just being noticed by colleges to having real offers to play at the next level.

Generally that first offer comes from a lower-level school or perhaps from an FBS program not in one of the traditional power conferences. More and bigger schools often follow suit if the prospect shows promise.

But Baylor quarterback Nick Tiano skipped the first step. His recruitment changed early in February when he got a call, and an offer, from the University of Miami.

“It was the most surreal moment – the thing you’ve been working for your whole life,” said Tiano, a rising senior for the Red Raiders. “You finally have it and it’s kind of like a weight off my shoulders a little bit. It just makes me want to work even harder to get to where I want to be and play big-time college football.

“It all happened really fast and it was really exciting and it’s just really cool for my first one to be a program like Miami.”

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