Posted on: November 5, 2008 4:37 pm

Bruce Pearl has a nice house

Bruce Pearl opened his house to the Knoxville Magazine, and boy is it nice. It's a 10,000 square-foot custom-built beauty that'll make you wish you would've gotten into coaching, and the story comes with a great quote from Pearl, who was a relative unknown until Tennessee hired him three years ago.

He said: "I’m 48 years old. I was poor for about 45 years and have been rich for about three. And it feels great."

Hard to argue with that, isn't it?

Anyway, here's a link to the magazine.

Check it out and then get back to enjoying your relatively crappy house.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 3, 2008 1:01 pm

That All-American team looks familiar

The AP All-American team looks exactly like the CBSSports.com All-American team.

But that doesn't mean there shouldn't be some debate.

The reality is that when I put together my team the only must-have-players were Tyler Hansbrough, Stephen Curry and Luke Harangody. I can't understand why any ballot wouldn't include those three names, but I can't understand a lot of what happens on AP ballots. So whatever. As for Blake Griffin and Darren Collison, yes, I also featured both. But I considered teams without those names and actually almost went one of the following:

G: Darren Collison (UCLA)
G: Stephen Curry (Davidson)
G: James Harden (Arizona State)
F: Luke Harangody (Notre Dame)
F: Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)

Or ...

G: Stephen Curry (Davidson)
G: James Harden (Arizona State)
F: Tyler Smith (Tennessee)
F: Luke Harangody (Notre Dame)
F: Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)

To be clear, I love Griffin and Collison. But Collison's dreadful Final Four appearance is something I nearly couldn't get out of my head, and though Griffin was dominant as a freshman his numbers weren't quite as good as Hansbrough's or Harangody's. So that's why I considered dropping one or both for Harden and/or Smith. But in the end, I think I got it right. And I think the AP voters got it right, too.

So good for me.

And good for them.

And we'll just have to argue some other day.

Posted on: October 9, 2008 2:34 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2008 11:33 am

An explanation (for those who can't read)

I was going to try to get through the day without posting this blog.

But I knew I'd never make it.

Unfortunately, some of my readers -- not you reading this; just the stupid ones -- lack reading comprehension skills, which causes me to often times explain things over and over again as if I'm talking to my 5-year-old son. It's frustrating. But it comes with the territory. So let me use this space to further explain my column about "NBA talent" on college teams and address some emails I've received this morning.


Here we go!

Question: My favorite team (insert name here) has a great player named (insert name here) who is probably a lottery pick. How could you not count him as being drafted this year or next year?

Answer: As I clearly stated, whether prospects are considered "NBA talents" is not something I decided for the purposes of this column. I turned that over to DraftExpress.com. In other words, this was a simple process for me. If DraftExpress.com had a player listed as going in the first round or second round of the 2009 or 2010 NBA Draft, I listed him accordingly. If not, I didn't. So any questions about the status of prospects should be directed to DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony, not me.

(Sorry Jonathan!)

Also, I explained in the column that this is not an exact science or an absolute predictor of which teams will and will not be great. One reason is because many players considered "NBA talents" in October won't be considered "NBA talents" in March, and vice versa. Another reason is because though I believe with every ounce of my brain that "NBA talents" are necessary to win the national title (just look at the recent history of national champions), I do not believe they are required to make an Elite Eight or even Final Four. For example, I think Notre Dame is going to be great this season, but (according to DraftExpress.com) there isn't a future first-round pick on the team. So while history suggests this suggests the Irish won't be our national champions, it doesn't mean they can't win the Big East and much more.

Question: My favorite team (insert name here) has committed (insert name here). He's ranked 10th in the Class of 2009 and will surely be a first-round pick. Why are you not counting him?

Answer: What on earth does a Class of 2009 prospect have to do with this season?

Regardless of where John Wall signs, he won't have anything to do with what happens on the court in the 2008-09 season because he won't play college basketball until the 2009-2010 season. Same goes for Abdul Gaddy. And Renardo Sidney. And Derrick Favors. And you get the idea, don't you?

Bottom line, only players on the current roster matter.

People who may or may not come in the future have nothing to do with this column.

Question: Why did you only list teams with at least eight points?

Answer: Because there were nine teams with at least eight points, and that took me to 1,500 words. That was plenty. But I did use the same exercise to go further down the list. In all, there were 16 teams with at least six points. So if you want to look at the rest of the list, well, here you go ...

-- Pittsburgh --

  • Number of projected draft picks:  2
  • Number of points: 7
  • 2009 first round: Sam Young (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: DeJuan Blair (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Oklahoma --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 7
  • 2009 first round: Blake Griffin (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: Willie Warren (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Tennessee --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 7
  • 2009 first round: Tyler Smith (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: Scotty Hopson (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Arizona State --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: James Harden (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: Jeff Pendergraph (2 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Georgetown --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 3
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: NA
  • 2010 first round:  Greg Monroe (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: DaJuan Summers (2 points)
  • 2010 second round: Austin Freeman (1 point)

-- Memphis --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: Tyreke Evans (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: NA
  • 2009 second round: Robert Dozier (2 points)
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Texas --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: Damion James (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: NA
  • 2009 second round: Connor Atchley (2 points)
  • 2010 second round: NA
Posted on: September 30, 2008 12:21 am

Dear Gary (on SEC music videos)

Here's Tuesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Not to knock Bobby Maze's music video, but in the best interest of being fair in the state of Tennessee let me point you in the direction of former Vanderbilt player Shan Foster's lil' performance.

-- Mike

I like Shan Foster.

I even wrote a whole column about why he doesn't have an 'e' on the end of his name.

But I must tell you that clip of him singing I can't wait to play in the NBA is so unintentionally hilarious it makes me cringe, not to mention the fact that that he is, you know, not playing in the NBA. Instead, Foster is a member of Juvecaserta of the Italian League, which raises two interesting questions:

1. Should Foster rename the song I can't wait to play in Italy?

2. If so, does there need to be an Italian verse added?

Posted on: September 26, 2008 1:04 am
Edited on: September 26, 2008 1:05 am

So who is the best coach in the SEC?

There's a poll on the college basketball page right now asking for the best coach in the SEC.

As I type, Billy Gillispie (37 percent) is leading (hello, Kentucky fans!), followed by Billy Donovan (33 percent) and Bruce Pearl (18 percent). And when I looked at the poll I was reminded of a comment Pearl made last weekend when I told him Tennessee fans were taunting Florida fans at the hotel bar (the night before the UT-Florida football game) by screaming how Pearl was 5-1 all-time against Donovan, which is amazing considering Donovan has won national titles in two of the three seasons Pearl has been in the SEC.

Anyway, Pearl downplayed that statistic.

He claimed it was kind of fluky and misleading.

And then he revealed whom he believes to be the SEC's best.

"Billy Donovan is the best," Pearl said. "He just is."

Posted on: September 24, 2008 2:45 pm

I put on for Tennessee (the backstory)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- One of things I had to do while in Knoxville -- besides cover a football game and stuff -- was find Bobby Maze and get the story behind his now-famous rap on YouTube. It's a take on Young Jeezy's hit I Put On complete with references to Tyler Smith and J.P. Prince.

(My favorite part is when Maze rhymes "my rhythm" with "Wayne Chism".)

Anyway, Maze acknowledged the rap has increased his celebrity on campus.

"A lot," he said. "But it wasn't supposed to be like that. I was just in my room free-styling. And one of my roommates had a camera and he put it on YouTube. I actually didn't know it would be on there."

To date, nearly 35,000 people have watched the clip.

And this is a good lesson for college students, particularly girls. If you are in your dorm or apartment doing anything interesting and somebody pulls out a camera, rest assured it will end up on the internet in some form. Don't believe me, ask Kim Kardashian. And by the way, did you see her on Dancing with the Stars last night? I loved how when the judges told her they thought she was holding back she responded by explaining how she's really a shy person.


Look, maybe things have changed since I've reached my 30s. But I have always been under the impression that if you are willing to film a porn with a rapper, that kinda implies you're not terribly shy. I mean, shy people don't do that, do they? But I digress ...

(PS -- No, I do not watch Dancing With the Stars. I just watch Kim Kardashian.)

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 20, 2008 10:14 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2008 12:04 pm

Two Class of 2010 standouts commit to Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A bad football day still resulted in a good basketball day for Tennessee thanks to the Vols, according to sources, picking up commitments from Class of 2010 standouts Josh Selby and Jordan McRae.

Both are considered top 30 prospects.

"Yeah, I have committed," Selby told CBSSports.com by phone late Saturday while he was on his unofficial visit to the school. "It just feels comfortable, like another home."

Selby, a combo guard, is rated as the seventh-best prospect in his class by Rivals.com.

McRae, a shooting guard, is rated as the 28th-best prospect in his class by Rivals.com.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 20, 2008 7:18 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2008 7:20 pm

I blame Al Wilson

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Al Wilson is apparently terrible at motivational speeches.

That's the only explanation for why Bruce Pearl missed his prediction.

That and the fact that Tennessee isn't very good.

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com