Vols puzzled by seeding

Seeds mean nothing in the NCAA tournament. At least that's the way Renaldo Woolridge saw it when the Tournament Selection Committee gave Tennessee a No. 6 seed Sunday evening.

The matchup, which pits the Vols against 11-seed San Diego State in the Midwest Region, ties UT's record for consecutive NCAA tournament bids, and Woolridge said he isn't complaining.

Seeds merely provide you a path to the championship and matchups to deal with.

"Matchups are real important," he said. "It's about knowing the scout. It's about knowing the tendencies.

"You have got to take what is given to you."

The team's reaction was a bit subdued Sunday at the team's selection show viewing party. A few cheers and claps were audible, but no one jumped out of his seat.

Before Tennessee's 74-45 loss to Kentucky Saturday afternoon, the team was competing for a No. 3 seed.

Fast-forward to Sunday evening's party, and CBS's Seth Davis was projecting Tennessee to be exiting the tournament early.

Woolridge said that getting a lower seed than expected is more a blow to pride than to anything else.

"A six seed, that is unfortunate for what we wanted. It is an unfortunate situation but we do have a shot," he said.

Woolridge pointed out that there were plenty of teams on the bubble that didn't make the cut, including a Mississippi State team that was 0.1 seconds away from defeating Kentucky and earning an automatic bid.

While junior Brian Williams guessed that the committee didn't value tournament wins as much as regular-season resumes, most players were mum on whether certain teams should or shouldn't have gotten to go dancing.

"That's a great question," senior Wayne Chism said. "I have no idea how to answer it."

Chism was mostly happy just to make the cut.

"We just can't get our minds all foiled up in whether we're a six seed or a five seed," Chism said. "Our mind is getting ready for San Diego State. We're not going to let that bother us."

Junior Melvin Goins, who said he was excited to be playing in his first NCAA tournament, also said that his focus is just on that first game.

"I'm just focused on our team and what we need to do to advance," Goins said.

What Tennessee will need to do to advance is potentially face No. 3 seed Georgetown in the second round and Big Ten champion Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen.

UT will not face a conference opponent unless either No. 4 seed Vanderbilt or No. 10 Florida makes it to the Final Four. And if the Vols want another crack at Kentucky, they'll have to tango with the Cats in Indy in the championship.

But those thoughts are far from the minds of the Orange-clad crew. According to Bruce Pearl, UT just wants to advance.

Proving Seth Davis wrong would just be icing on the cake.


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