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Pondering postseason possibilities

Vols and Lady Vols eyeing SEC and NCAA Tournaments
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 5:35 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - You’ve heard the expression, what a difference a year makes! Well it’s been about a year since Covid-19 shut down sports at the professional and collegiate levels. Now while much has changed a lot has remained the same as athletic administrators and coaches try to feel their way through persisting uncertain times.

”I felt like we did the right thing as a league at that time and college basketball did the right thing at the point in time. Do we know more now than we did a year ago? We do. We have learned a lot from other pro sports going through it ourselves with intercollegiate athletics,” says head coach Rick Barnes.

There’s been a call by some to cancel conference tournaments as schools, like highly ranked Michigan, continue to fight through postponements and cancellations, teams like Kellie Harper’s Lady Vols who’ve just gone through another pause in action due to either their own or other team’s Covid related issues, ”I know there have been some communications about the NCAA Tournament and about the SEC Tournament with our operations folks trying to go ahead and get some logistics prepared. I think for us, the thing that gives me confidence about the SEC Tournament is how the SEC has handled our season. I think the protocols that our conference have put into place have been encouraging,” says coach Harper.

So what about those conference tournaments? Is March Madness in jeopardy? Well both Tennessee coaches have weighed in on the possibility that post-season play may not take place. Coach Barnes said this week, ”The fact is, where we are now is in a good place. In terms of the conference tournaments I have great respect in terms of other leagues doing the right thing with their protocols and making sure the players and fans aren’t in harms way. Do I think we can have people at the SEC tournament? I do.”

Coach Harper added, “I know the NCAA has taken a lot of time to make sure that the protocols that they’re going to put into place are also very safe, and I think our team will feel comfortable with both tournaments and the things that need to be in place to play those games.”

A decision one way or the other is fast approaching with the Women’s tournament set for March 3rd in Greenville, SC and the Men’s SEC Tourney one week later and once again, in Nashville.

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