Middle's Massey, Vols' McBee share same state, different emotions
Middle Tennessee's Bruce Massey and Tennessee's Skylar McBee are both senior guards who went into the NCAA Selection Show with the same goal. One came out ecstatic, the other disappointed. Here's a quick snapshot of life leading up to the selection show.
Two senior guards just about three hours away both waiting to hear their fate. Middle Tennessee State's Bruce Massey was hoping for his first NCAA tournament appearance while Tennessee's Skylar McBee was hoping to get back to the big dance. We give you a quick snapshot of the life of uncertainty leading up to -- and following -- the NCAA Selection Show.
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"Before the show, there was a lot of anticipation. The last couple of days have been tough. We needed teams to lose and a lot of them did. I was so nervous right before the show because it could have gone either way and we knew it. We had let an opportunity slip away, losing in the Sun Belt tournament. I thought it was 50-50 that we'd get in. You'd hear people saying that we didn't have enough top-50 wins, but I just didn't know."
"We went into it hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. We knew it was a coin flip and it could go either way. We had practice today, and it took our minds off it for a little while, but it was tough not to think about it. No one knew what to expect."
"Our name was called early -- and that was the best feeling. They got it right out of the way for us. We were all sitting there in our Hall of Fame room as a team: the president of the school, coaching staff, our families and some media."
"We were watching it in the practice facility. Just the players and coaches. We knew that if we got in, it was going to be in the play-in game. We heard MTSU and Saint Mary's called in the midwest play-in and that wasn't good. After that we had to wait for the west before the next play-in and we knew it was probably between us, La Salle and Boise. We saw Boise and La Salle, and that's when everyone knew it was over."
"I was surprised, especially that we got an 11 seed. The committee respected us. There were high fives and hugs, people were cheering. It was so cool because it's been so long since Middle Tennessee State has been to the tournament. It was an unbelievable feeling."
"It was disappointing when the realization set in that we didn't get in, but the committee made its decision. I wouldn't say I cried, but I was tearing up. I've been there twice -- my freshman and sophomore seasons -- and have barely missed it the last two years. We've been right there and it could have gone either way. That almost makes it harder. It's easier to deal with if you already know you aren't getting in. It was like the air had been let out of a balloon."
"Now we get to play Saint Mary's. I don't know a lot about them, but I know they have a really good point guard who can really score. I know they're a tough team, a fast team. We know it's not going to be easy. We've just got to go in and play tough and unselfish, and defend. We are a team that likes to get out and run, but we need to defend and rebound. I think we play Tuesday in the First Four, so we don't get much time, but that doesn't matter to me. We're in the tournament and hopefully they will let us get our feet wet. VCU went from the First Four to the Final Four, so you never know."
"Obviously, we're disappointed that we didn't get in, but we've got to be as positive as possible. We still get to play more basketball. The NIT isn't the NCAA, but our season isn't over and we have to try and be as optimistic and positive as we can and look on the bright side. It could be a lot worse. Our season could be over."
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