Indianapolis is a Division II school.
So now the folks who talk about college basketball in November -- and that number isn't nearly as high as I'd like it to be -- are making predictable and sweeping generalities, apparently forgetting how another school that wears orange suffered a similar embarrassment a year ago last week.
"Hopefully we can learn from this and move in the right direction," Syracuse's Wes Johnson said after last preseason's exhibition loss to Division II Le Moyne. He then proceeded to learn from it and move in the right direction, i.e., the direction of a Big East title and No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Which is why Bruce Pearl shouldn't be overly concerned.
Granted, there's a chance what happened Monday at Thompson-Boling Arena will ultimately prove to be the first sign that the off-the-court drama surrounding the program will have an on-the-court effect that'll cause the Vols to fall short of expectations. But it's just as likely that this defeat means absolutely nothing, which is pretty much what I told a distraught Syracuse fan who emailed after the Orange's loss to Le Moyne last November and proclaimed his favorite team's season "just ended before it ever began."
"This isn't going to be as bad as you think or as bad as it was Tuesday night. I can't find proof right now (I've been looking for 15 minutes), but I believe UMass lost an exhibition in the 1995-96 season, then went on to make the Final Four. Grand Valley State famously beat Michigan State in an exhibition two years ago, and the Spartans still made the Sweet 16. So losing a game like this isn't necessarily a prediction of what's coming."Those were my words filed within 24 hours of Syracuse's loss to Le Moyne.
My levelheadedness served me well.
So while I do wonder if the Vols will miss Wayne Chism, J.P. Prince and Bobby Maze more than most anticipated, the reality is that I've seen Pearl win with rosters much worse than the roster he has now, and I'll still be shocked if Tennessee isn't a borderline Top 25 team that competes for the SEC East title and makes the NCAA tournament. In other words, Monday's development didn't change my opinion of the Vols one bit. My guess is that they'll bounce back Friday and open the regular season with a double-digit win over Chattanooga, just like they were always going to do.