Gain from loss?

Thanks to a No. 2 seeding and a slew of upsets in their bracket, the Tennessee Basketball Vols had a pretty good shot at making the NCAA Final Four last March. But the Big Orange joined the upset victims, falling 80-73 in Round 2 to Wichita State.

In an ironic twist, the Cinderella Vols fell victim to even more of a Cinderella team. Being shocked by the Shockers was a bitter pill to swallow.

"It was terrible, especially watching the way the tournament panned out … George Mason with the run they had," recalls Dane Bradshaw, UT's only senior. "You go through a lot of could'ves and should'ves in your mind."

Bradshaw played that game with a severely injured right (shooting) wrist that reduced him to a non-factor on offense. The depth-poor Vols also were tired – mentally and physically – because their starters had to play so many minutes in so many big games down the stretch. To his credit, though, Bradshaw refuses to make excuses.

"Wichita State played a good game and they beat us," he says.

As haunting as that loss proved to be, Bradshaw believes Tennessee may be able to put a positive spin on it this season.

"In the long run, I think it'll be good for us and we'll learn from it," he notes. "But you hate to have to learn from a loss. We were able to get over it but it's one thing that will motivate us."


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