Mar 28, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers forward Jarnell Stokes (5) pulls down a rebound against the Michigan Wolverines in the second half in the semifinals of the midwest regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Today On Rocky Top: Vols Looking To Future


From The Fresno Bee (AP)

Tennessee’s final game of the season could serve as a microcosm for its entire year.

The Volunteers stumbled through the first half, played its best down the stretch and gained plenty of respect by the time it was over. The Volunteers erased nearly all of a 15-point, second-half deficit Friday before falling 73-71 to Michigan, capping a remarkable run from the NCAA tournament bubble to the Midwest Regional semifinals.

“I thought we did a great job of battling back,” Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said Saturday after his team returned to campus. “That’s what we do. When we get down, we’ll fight back.”

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It took less than 24 hours for the offseason to get interesting for Tennessee’s basketball program.

According to a report Saturday afternoon by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Volunteers coach Cuonzo Martin is one of Marquette’s top targets, along with former Pittsburgh and UCLA coach Ben Howland.

The two are the “top-tier candidates” for the Golden Eagles, who are in the process of replacing Buzz Williams. After six seasons at Marquette, Williams took the Virginia Tech job last week. Marquette already unsuccessfully pursued Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart.

The ESPN report, citing sources, said Howland is “extremely interested” in the opening after sitting out this season following his firing by UCLA last year.

Martin did not immediately return a phone call made by the Times Free Press on Saturday evening.

His third season at Tennessee ended in the Sweet 16 on Friday night with a 73-71 loss to Michigan. After scuffling through SEC play, the Vols won five of six games entering Selection Sunday to earn one of the NCAA tournament’s final at-large bids.

From there, Tennessee beat Iowa, Massachusetts and Mercer to reach the tournament’s round of 16 for the seventh time in the program’s history.

 

From The Asheville Citizen Times

Just because Tennessee and Maryland haven’t played each other much doesn’t mean the schools aren’t familiar with each other’s success.

In Sunday’s Louisville Regional semifinal, the top-seeded Lady Vols are making sure they keep a close watch on Alyssa Thomas while the fourth-seeded Terrapins try to keep Meighan Simmons within reach.

The matchup between the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conference players of the year respectively adds to what could shape up as this regional’s marquee matchup. But as both teams point out, their best players are also surrounded by great supporting casts.

“I think you’ll see with both teams a lot of similar tendencies,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Both teams want to rebound hard. Both teams are very up-tempo and have a lot of depth.

“Both teams are led, I think it’s ironic, by the ACC/SEC players of the year and both have freshmen point guards leading the way.”

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