Skip to content

Did Phil Pressey shoot Tennessee into the NCAA tournament?

Mar 9, 2013, 6:56 PM EDT

APTOPIX Missouri Tennessee Basketball

Oh, Phil.

That’s the overriding sentiment that seems to rise to the surface every time that Missouri plays a close game on the road. Why Phil Pressey does the things that he does in the final minute of a game is one of this season’s greatest mysteries.

On Saturday, the head-scratcher wasn’t the turnover that Pressey committed on an in-bounds pass with the Tigers down 60-57 with 1:33 left on the clock, it was the three that he airballed two possessions later with 15 seconds left in the game.

It wasn’t close; Pressey missed it wide-right by about two feet. Tennessee would go on to win 64-62.

But that’s not necessarily the point.

This wasn’t the first time that Pressey took an ill-advised three off the dribble on the Tigers’ final possession. And it wasn’t the first time that he committed a bad turnover on a crucial possession in the final minutes of a game. Perhaps the most surprising part of Pressey’s airball is that it wasn’t actually surprising at all. We’ve come to expect it. That’s just who Pressey is at this point: an uber-talented playmaker whose decision-making in crunch time cannot be trusted.

And Tennessee will reap the benefits.

The Vols have won eight of their last nine games. They beat Florida during that stretch. They have a win over Wichita State, as well as victories against fellow bubblers Kentucky, Alabama and UMass. Combine that with solid enough computer numbers and just one ugly loss, and Cuonzo Martin’s team look like they are in a pretty good spot with Selection Sunday right around the corner.

Their work isn’t done yet. They are in the same boat as Kentucky: they probably need to win their first round game in the SEC tournament simply because they cannot afford to lose to whoever they will end up playing. That shouldn’t be too much to ask, not with the way that Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes have played of late. Not with Trae Golden looking like the all-SEC point guard we expected to see this season.

But the bottom-line is that Martin has gotten this Volunteer team to the brink of the NCAA tournament, and that fact, given where the Vols were early this year, is quite impressive.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. West defeats East 118-116 in the Jordan Brand Classic

    Apr 17, 2015, 10:23 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Cheick Diallo won named MVP for both the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.

  2. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg undergoes successful open heart surgery

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Hoiberg just completed his fifth season at Iowa State.

  3. Gonzaga big man to return for senior season

    Apr 17, 2015, 7:18 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Domantas Sabonis previously announced he would return.

  4. Top plays from the Jordan Brand Classic practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    diallo

    The Jordan Brand Classic is Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

  5. Duke among list of candidates for graduate transfer guard

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The former Villanova guard cut his list to eight.

  6. Mountain West gives New Mexico guard Cullen Neal medical hardship year

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:23 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Thanks to this ruling Neal will have three years of eligibility remaining.

  7. 2016 shooting guard Mustapha Heron de-commits from Pittsburgh

    Apr 17, 2015, 3:19 PM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Heron, who committed to Pitt back in January 2014, says he will continue to consider Jamie Dixon’s program.

  8. Four-star guard becomes Avery Johnson’s first commitment as Alabama head coach

    Apr 17, 2015, 1:31 PM EDT

    Avery Johnson Avery Johnson

    Dazon Ingram joins Brandon Austin and Donta Hall, both of whom remained committed following the firing of Anthony Grant, in Alabama’s 2015 class.

  9. Former Florida guard discusses Billy Donovan’s potential as an NBA head coach on ‘Dan Patrick Show’ (VIDEO)

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Beal spoke highly of his college coach, including how a possible adjustment would go should Donovan decide to try his hand at the NBA game.

  10. Kansas State announces dismissal of forward Malek Harris from program

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Harris is the fifth departure from the Kansas State program since the end of the season.

  11. Albany’s Peter Hooley to give commencement speech at school’s graduation in May

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:02 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Hooley’s game-winning shot in the America East title game came less than two months after his mother passed from a lengthy bout with colon cancer.

  12. Alabama forward Shannon Hale to return after briefly considering transfer

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:04 AM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hale is Alabama’s leading returning scorer, as he averaged 8.2 points per game last season.

  13. Five-star 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman commits to UNLV

    Apr 16, 2015, 11:51 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Landing Zimmerman is a big deal for Dave Rice, who could use the boost after a disappointing 2014-15.

  14. 6-foot-10 big man becomes Michigan’s second 2016 commitment

    Apr 16, 2015, 10:56 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Michigan won’t lack for big men when Davis arrives on campus in 2016, but that will give him time to develop as a freshman.

  15. Michigan State forward undergoes arthroscopic procedure on left knee

    Apr 16, 2015, 8:02 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Costello dealt with the knee issue down the stretch, but the procedure isn’t expected to keep him out of offseason workouts for too long.

  16. Mountain West announces new in-season tournament set to begin November 2017 in Cayman Islands

    Apr 16, 2015, 6:32 PM EDT

    MWClogo1

    The Mountain West is guaranteed one of the eight slots in the field.

  17. Which college coaches are getting linked to NBA head coaching jobs?

    Apr 16, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    With the NBA coaching carousel getting started, which college coaches will be linked to the jobs?

  18. Jordan Brand Classic: Duke commit Luke Kennard responds to Tyus Jones’ departure

    Apr 16, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Duke-bound Luke Kennard discusses the Blue Devils’ one-and-dones and filling the point guard role.