UTC men's basketball season might continue

UTC men's basketball season might continue

March 12th, 2014 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

UTC men's basketball coach Will Wade speaks to the media at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Last Saturday may not have been the end of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball season.

Coach Will Wade said he is exploring opportunities to have his team play in a postseason tournament.

The NCAA tournament is out of the question. So is the National Invitation Tournament.

But the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and the College Basketball Invitational are possibilities.

"You want to keep playing if you can," Wade said. "You get to continue your season. We get to keep working with them. We can continue to fine-tune what we do."

The CBI is a 16-team tournament with each game played at an on-campus facility. The CIT is similar with a 32-team field.

"There's 350-some-odd teams that play Division I basketball, and there will be about 130 that are still playing," Wade said. "That puts you in the top third, which would be quite an accomplishment for us."

The Mocs (18-14) lost 62-55 to Georgia Southern in the Southern Conference quarterfinals Saturday. A loss in the conference tournament has ended the season for every UTC men's team since 1987, but non-NCAA postseason play is not new to Wade. As an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth, he helped the Rams win five games and claim the 2010 CBI championship, which extended the season from March 7 to March 31.

"We played in the CBI in our first year at VCU," Wade said, "and it was a springboard for the next season when we went to the Final Four."

The Mocs will learn after the NCAA tournament selection show if they will be invited to play at least one more game. They're already working on it.

"We let them go home for spring break when we got back on Sunday," Wade said. "I went recruiting last night, and later this week I'll go see [signee] Shaq Preston play in Louisiana's final four.

"Then we'll reconvene this weekend and see if we get an opportunity to continue this season."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.