SEC Tournament 2012
March 4, 2012 by staff
SEC Tournament 2012, In the last couple of days leading up to Tennessee’s Southeastern Conference finale against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Cameron Tatum, the Vols’ lone senior who plays significant minutes, couldn’t get the game out of his head.
“I was just daydreaming about what my last game (at Thompson-Boling Arena) would be like,” Tatum said, “and how I was going to play.”
Any doubts or mystery about how the day would unfold disappeared as soon as Tatum took the floor for the opening tip.
“I just knew I was going to give 100 percent,” he said.
One hundred percent effort has become the norm for Tatum this season, but that effort hasn’t necessarily included success on the offensive end. The last time Tennessee played Vanderbilt, Tatum contributed two points. He didn’t scratch in the two games after that, against Auburn and Kentucky, and he accounted for just 12 points in his next three games. Typical of his recent performance was a five-point, nine rebound, six-assist, two-steal effort in a win at South Carolina.
With the Vols’ postseason fate hanging in the balance, Tatum stepped up and delivered his best offensive game in more than two months, scoring 18 points, including two crucial second-half 3-pointers, as Tennessee avenged a 65-47 whipping at Vanderbilt in late January with a 68-61 victory Saturday in Knoxville.
Actually, the Vols (18-13, 10-6) had more on their minds than atoning for a loss. A victory assured them of a first-round bye into this week’s SEC tournament. That’s a huge advantage that could get even bigger on Sunday. If Kentucky were to win at Florida, the Gators (22-8. 10-5), Commodores (21-10, 10-6) and Vols would be tied for second in the conference. Tennessee would claim the tiebreaker by virtue of its sweep of Florida, and would earn the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Given that all-important head start into the quarterfinals, the Vols still have a chance, says ESPN’s bracketology guru Joe Lunardi, to claim an NCAA Tournament berth.
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