Tennessee Vols forced to focus on lesser event

photo Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin speaks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Mississippi State at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn.

KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee is playing a basketball game tonight.

It's certainly not the location, tournament or opponent the Volunteers had in mind at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Three days after suffering the letdown of not being included in the NCAA tournament bracket, the Vols are playing in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament against Mercer.

"Would I like to play in the NCAA tournament? Yeah," senior guard Skylar McBee said before the Monday afternoon practice. "You want a chance to win a national championship, but we've still got more basketball to play.