Blog Entry

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

Posted on: January 9, 2010 9:07 am

I'm headed to Knoxville today in advance of Sunday's showdown between No.1 Kansas and No. 16 Tennessee. It'll be the Vols' second game since four players were arrested on guns and drug charges, the first since Bruce Pearl dismissed one of those players, Tyler Smith, from the team on Friday.

Smith was averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

On the surface, the Vols will miss him.

But sources around the program have indicated in recent days that Smith hasn't been the best leader (shocker, right?) or hardest worker over the past year or so, and that it's possible the Vols could, in Smith's absence, get back to playing with the same type of energy they displayed in Pearl's first three years at Tennessee. The problem, of course, is that with Smith (dismissed) and Brian Williams (suspended) out of the lineup, UT is really light up front, which makes the preseason loss of Emmanuel Negedu (heart condition) much more damaging than it seemed when it happened.

Still, Tennessee fans seem OK with the decision to remove Smith. As I type, a poll on the Knoxville News-Sentinel site shows that 91 percent of voters believe dismissing Smith was "fair." Granted, it's probably unfair -- or at the very least unwise -- to read too much into that. But the poll does hint at how much Smith's reputation had declined within the UT community, or perhaps it's simply more of a reflection of the fact that the senior forward was enduring the worst season of his career.

Either way, it's KU vs. UT on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

And it should be noted that Pearl has managed upsets like this before.

In January 2006, the Vols beat an undefeated (and eventual national-title-winning) Florida team that would've, if not for the loss, subsequently moved to No. 1 in the AP poll. In February 2007, they beat a fourth-ranked Florida team that also went on to win the national title. And in February 2008, UT went to Memphis and dealt the top-ranked Tigers, who ultimately played for the national title, their first loss.

In each of those games, the Vols were seemingly out-manned.

But they won anyway.

So it'll be interesting to see if they can do it again.
Category: NCAAB

Since: May 27, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2010 12:00 pm

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

Kinda late but you must not be a Vol if you think this program is a joke compared to the last 20 years.   At least we're getting ranked and into the tourney every year.  

Since: Apr 13, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2010 11:41 am

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

CinciVol, you don't deserve to be a Vols fan. Why don't you go hop onto Ohio State or some other program? Moron.

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2010 8:15 am

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

It's rock bop.  Like they are getting ready to dance.  It lets the students know it is time to stand up in the audience.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2010 2:13 pm

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

There is one big difference between this KU team and all the other teams you mentioned:  This KU team is absolutely loaded.  None of those other teams had 10-11 players that could be starters for almost every other team in college basketball.  Plus, with only team total players on the roster, Tennessee is going to wear down a lot quicker in this game then they did in those other games as well.

I'm not going to say it is impossible, but it is so extremely unlikely that a better question would be if Tennessee can keep the score within 10.

Since: Aug 28, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2010 11:43 am

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

Please stay in Cinci because you are not a Vol Fan.......Go support that choir boy Bearcat athletic program.

Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2010 10:59 am

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

"...[Pearl] could not win at this level." OK CinciVol, did you read the article? His teams have beaten Florida twice (top five team, who by the way went on to win two national championships), beat No. 1 Memphis, at Memphis (who by the way went on to play in the national championship). He also has numerous other big victories on his resume as the Tennessee coach.  The truth is he has won at this level several times and has done it with relatively inferior talent.  Has he advanced past the sweet sixteen? No.  But neither has any other Tennessee team in the history of the program.  Several "big name" coaches, e.g., Jim Boheim, had to spend several years building their program before they made permanent residency at the top of the college basketball world.  Coach Pearl has had the most successful 4 and 1/2 years run at Tennessee in its history, and idiots like you and some of the other fans in the area are so quick to make ridiculously outlandish statements about his coaching ability.  If you and the rest of your kind continue to take him for granted, he'll bolt for a better opportunity and we'll be stuck with a program like we had under Wade Houston or Kevin O'Neil. Have a little patience.

Since: Jan 30, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2010 10:14 am

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

I admire all of the UT fans and there spirit but for all who think this game will even be close after the first thirty mins are not paying attention to KU and they way they play. They will come out on fire after the Cornell fiasco and unfortunatly UT is undermanned for the runs they are going to see. That all said good luck

Since: Feb 9, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2010 10:03 am

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

Lets be real here. Bruce Pearl could have 75 kids on scholarship and he could not win at this level.  I'm tired of watching the players run around on the court with no direction at all. Hopefully Pearl will take his circus act back to Wisconsin after this year.
He has no control over this program and I have to wonder if him or kiffin are in a race to see which one is trying to make a mockery out of UT athletics.
The only difference in the two is Kiffin's teams at least have shown improvement. Pearl's teams are a joke!

Since: Jul 3, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2010 9:39 am

Can Tennessee record another surprise?

I would love nothing more than for Tennessee to shock the rock chalk talk hawks or whatever they call themselves.  However, I think the Vols are too thin.  They only have 6 scholarship players and only 10 healthy players overall!  With Negedu's heart condition, Hubert's knee, and then the four amigos, Tennessee is down to a 10 man rotation that allows for no injuries and includes 2 walk-ons, even if one is the amazing Skylar McBee.  They could surprise, and I think they'll keep it a close game until the end, but I think Kansas wins based on sheer talent and depth.

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