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Thursday, March 1, 2012
3-point shot: Martin has Vols poised

By Andy Katz

1. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin has done a tremendous job. How so? The Vols can actually be the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament. How? If Tennessee beats Vanderbilt in Knoxville and Florida loses to Kentucky -- both very plausible -- then UT would be the 2-seed, winning a three-way tie at 10-6 with Florida and Vanderbilt or a four-way tie with those two and Alabama if the Tide win at Ole Miss. That’s how important the sweep of the Gators is to Tennessee. What’s amazing is that the Vols would be leapfrogged for an NCAA bid by Vandy, Florida and Alabama.

2. Northwestern has had so many chances to make the NCAAs over the past three seasons. But nothing compares to Wednesday night. In what could have been the most important regular-season game in Northwestern history, the Wildcats were within seconds of forcing overtime against No. 11 Ohio State before Jared Sullinger brought a purple rain of tears from the Wildcats fan base. Northwestern isn't dead yet, since there are opportunities against Iowa on the road and in the Big Ten tournament. But the heartbreak of the Wildcats fans must be Red Sox-Cubs like. There is no curse but it sure feels like there is one.

3. Purdue clobbered visiting Penn State on Wednesday night and it looked like no one left Mackey Arena. Why? The fans wanted to celebrate the career of Robbie Hummel. It was great theater. Hummel has had a tremendous college career, coming back from two ACL injuries. He has been the consummate team player. It’s such a shame he never got a chance to play with JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore last season when the Boilermakers could have made the Final Four. Bravo on a great career.