Posted on: January 8, 2010 1:00 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2010 1:04 pm

Tennessee dismisses Smith

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl announced Friday that Tyler Smith has been dismissed from the basketball team.

"When we have a situation like this involving our student-athletes, we want to make sure we get as much information as possible before making difficult decisions,” Pearl said. "From the beginning, the student-athletes involved have been accountable, remorseful and cooperative with me. While we are not allowed to discuss specifics, we felt we had enough information at this time to dismiss Tyler Smith from the team. Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum, and Brian Williams will remain indefinitely suspended."

Smith, Goins, Tatum and Williams were arrested New Year's Day when police found guns and marijuana in their car after a routine traffic stop. It remains unclear whether Goins, Tatum and Williams will be reinstated, and if so, when. But a source close to the program told CBSSports.com that it's reasonable to think at least two of those players will eventually be reinstated, although details about what happened and how it happened are still being gathered.

Tennessee plays No. 1 Kansas on Sunday.

"First, I want to thank the University of Tennessee, the UT Athletic Department and the basketball program for my support here," Smith said in a released statement. "This place is a family for me and I look forward to a long relationship with this team and program as I go on in life. I am truly sorry for my actions in the recent case that everyone is familiar with. From the beginning, I have accepted responsibility for my actions and what I have been charged with, and I am very sorry that my decisions have affected Brian, Cam and Melvin. One day soon I hope I can finish the 12 classes that I need for my degree.  My recent actions do not reflect who I am and I can only hope that what I do in the future can make everyone believe in me again."

Smith was averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Vols.

He was named Preseason First Team All-SEC.
Posted on: January 5, 2010 9:03 am

Pearl: 'We've got weapons'

You could tell how much the arrest of four Tennessee basketball players is wearing on Bruce Pearl during Monday's press conference in which he addressed the Vols' upcoming game with Charlotte. Pearl looked tired and stressed, just as you'd expect. But what stood out to me was the somber tone, particularly from a man who's usually upbeat and ready to joke about anything and everything.

The best moment came when Pearl was talking about how UT will obviously miss Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins, all of whom were arrested Friday on drug and weapons charges and subsequently suspended from the team. Pearl was lamenting about how short-handed he'll be Wednesday against Charlotte, and then he said, "But we've got weapons. We still have got weapons."

(Click this link to check it out. It's around the 50-second mark.)

Quickly, Pearl caught his unfortunate choice of words and stopped.

But rather than laugh or joke, he just shook his head and apologized.

And that's the best indication that the chest-painting coach is having a rough week.
Posted on: January 1, 2010 6:29 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2010 6:50 pm

Source: Pearl intends to suspend arrested Vols

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl plans to indefinitely suspend all four players who were arrested Friday morning and then gather more details before determining which players, if any, will continue their careers as Vols, a source has told CBSSports.com.

An official announcement should come in the next 48 hours.

Cameron Tatum, Tyler Smith, Melvin Goins and Brian Williams were arrested on drug and weapons charges Friday when the car in which they were riding was caught speeding in Knoxville. Police found a baggy of marijuana in the car. They also discovered guns -- one of which had an altered serial number -- under both the driver's seat and the front passenger's seat.

Tatum is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and having an open container of alcohol. Smith is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of firearm with an altered serial number. Goins is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana. Williams is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with an altered serial number and possession of marijuana.

According to a source, each player refused to claim ownership of the guns, which is why all four are facing gun charges. The reason Smith and Williams got additional charges is because the gun with the altered serial number was under Smith's seat and accessible by either him or Williams, who was seated behind Smith.

Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk told CBSSports.com the players were in a rental car when arrested. He said it's unclear who rented the car, but that finding out would "be part of the ongoing investigation." This development is of special concern to Tennessee because it could mean NCAA problems if it's determined that the players were using the car in a way that doesn't comply with NCAA regulations about extra benefits.

The car was a Dodge Charger with Illinois tags.

Tennessee beat Memphis 66-59 at FedExForum on Thursday.

The Vols are 10-2 and ranked No. 14 heading into Wednesday's game against Charlotte.

Posted on: January 1, 2010 3:36 pm

Four Vols arrested

Tennessee basketball players Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins were arrested Friday after a traffic stop. The players are facing drugs and weapons charges, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel .

"We take these matters very seriously," Tennessee Bruce Pearl said via a released statement. "We are still gathering information. Once the appropriate authorities have provided us with all of the facts, we will act accordingly.”

Tennessee won 66-59 at Memphis on Thursday.

The Vols are 10-2 this season and ranked 14th nationally.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Tennessee
Posted on: December 31, 2009 2:40 pm

Headed to Tennessee-Memphis at FedExForum

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- I'm about to make my way to FedExForum for this afternoon's game between Memphis and Tennessee. In a bit of a surprise (at least to me), the Tigers are a slight favorite. And it should be a fun environment. But this edition of Memphis-UT still isn't nearly as interesting as the past two Memphis-UT games played at FedExForum.

Four years ago the pregame chatter included Tennessee's Dane Bradshaw, a Memphis native, talking about how he was less scared of rowdy frat guys at LSU than he was a "gang-banger in Memphis in the stands." Predictably, that did not go over well in Memphis. But it made for a fun night. And two years ago was the classic No. 1 vs. No. 2 game in which the second-ranked Vols dealt the top-ranked Tigers their first loss of the season. That game tipped late on a Saturday night, and all day Saturday downtown Memphis was like a party complete with the kind of tailgating and bar-hopping that would rival an SEC football game.

Today, the build-up doesn't really compare.

Blame the absence of John Calipari.

But, like I said before, it should still be a fun afternoon.

We'll see whether Josh Pastner can get his first notable victory.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 21, 2009 7:08 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2009 7:17 pm

The Poll Attacks

OKLAHOMA CITY -- That voter from Georgia did it again.

So I busted him up again.

It's an extra special Christmas edition of the Poll Attacks .

AP poll: Did you read the past two Poll Attacks? If not, click here and here . If so, you already know how frustrated I am with Roger Clarkson of the Athens Banner-Herald. He is equal parts ridiculousness and stubbornness, proof being how he keeps ranking Pittsburgh even though I've spent two weeks explaining why it's stupid to rank Pittsburgh.

But that's not all.

Roger's ballot is dumb on lots of levels.

I'll break it down for you.

Hopefully, he'll print this out and keep it so we can avoid this next week.

1. Roger has Pitt ranked 25th despite Pitt having no good wins and a loss to Indiana, and, as I've pointed out before, it's not like Pitt was supposed to be good. Jamie Dixon lost nearly everything from last season. So this team wasn't supposed to be good, and it hasn't done anything to make anybody think it's good. Except Roger. He still believes. But it's possible he has no idea that DeJuan Blair is a Spur.

2. Roger has Ohio State ranked 10th even though Evan Turner has a broken back. Meantime, Roger has North Carolina (which pounded Ohio State) ranked 12th, i.e., two spots behind the Buckeyes. And he doesn't have Butler ranked at all even though Butler also beat the Buckeyes.

3. Roger has Tennessee ranked 13th. I'll explain why that's stupid a little later.

4. Roger has Georgia Tech ranked 19th, which is exactly where he had Georgia Tech last week. That means he didn't care that Georgia Tech lost Sunday at home to Florida State, because he didn't drop the Yellow Jackets. Meantime, he left Florida State unranked even though FSU is 10-2 with no bad losses and a win over Georgia Tech. He also left Dayton unranked even though Dayton is 8-2 with no bad losses and a win over Georgia Tech. So to recap, Roger ranked Georgia Tech 19th even though Georgia Tech has no good wins and losses to Florida State and Dayton, but he did not rank Florida State or Dayton even though Florida State and Dayton have both beaten Georgia Tech, which, again, Roger ranked 19th.

5. Roger has Texas A&M ranked 15th and New Mexico ranked 22nd even though New Mexico is 12-0 with a win over Texas A&M in Texas. Seriously, somebody please help this man. It's Christmas, for crying out loud. This isn't fun for anybody.

Coaches poll: I dropped Tennessee completely out of the Top 25 (and one).

Some of you have asked why.

My response: Why not?

Tennessee is 8-2 with zero good wins. The Vols barely beat DePaul, and DePaul stinks. USC ran UT off the court, and though the Trojans are probably better, thanks to the addition of Michael Gerrity, than most realize, you can't let a team picked next-to-last in the terrible Pac-10 run you off the court. The best thing UT has done this season is play Purdue close. Beyond that, nothing. So I have no idea how the coaches can justify putting Bruce Pearl's team at No. 14.

It can't be because Vols deserve the benefit of the doubt because, you know, they don't. Lest we forget this is basically the same roster that underachieved last season, basically the same roster that finished 21-13. Tennessee struggled pretty much all last season, and the Vols didn't add an impact player. So is it really a surprise that they're struggling again this season?

To be clear, I still believe this UT team has potential.

I still think the Vols could finish second in the SEC East.

I might even pick them to hand Kansas its first loss on Jan. 10.

But at some point, you are what you are, and what Tennessee is and has been dating back to last season is a talented bunch that can't meet the expectations many of us have placed upon them. Until they do, they should be ranked accordingly. And by ranked accordingly, I mean not ranked at all.
Posted on: December 20, 2009 12:53 am
Edited on: December 20, 2009 12:55 am

Four ranked teams lost to unranked teams

ARLINGTON, Texas -- I thought this would be an easy weekend for the Top 25 (and one).

I was wrong.

Turns out, four teams ranked in the Top 25 (and one) -- No. 10 Florida, No. 12 Tennessee, No 14 Georgetown, and No. 20 Texas Tech -- lost Saturday to unranked opponents, the biggest surprise being Tennessee's 77-55 loss at Southern California. USC entered with a 4-4 record featuring home losses to Loyola-Marymount and Nebraska. Now the Trojans are 5-4 with a 22-point win over Tennessee.

Is it possible Charlotte transfer Michael Gerrity is that much of a difference-maker?

The point guard made his USC debut against the Vols

He got 12 points and 10 assists.

"They're a completely different team with him running the show," UT coach Bruce Pearl said afterward. "We knew he could become eligible, but we hadn't seen him on any tape. ... His play was a huge factor in their dominating us."
Posted on: December 9, 2009 12:00 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2009 12:01 pm

Renaldo Woolridge's new college hoops anthem

NEW YORK -- Goodbye, One Shining Moment .

Hello, Tip-off (College Hoops Time) .

"I just wanted to make what I'd want to hear as a college basketball player," Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge told me as he unveiled his latest project, a pseudo college basketball anthem sure to make the rounds quickly. "I wanted to make this song from a college basketball player's standpoint."

I've written about Woolridge's music career before.

He's a west coast rapper living in east Tennessee.

He's known as Swiperboy.

He's super-talented.

And he might've out-done himself this time.

In barely five minutes, Swiperboy manages to mention every conference, his famous father (former Notre Dame star Orlando Woolridge), Bob Knight, Jay Bilas, and there's even a clip of me talking dropped in. So yeah, I'm biased because I'd probably like any song featuring me. But give it a listen and tell me it's not high quality, that it's not something you can imagine hearing in an arena before a game, or on CBS coming out of a commercial.

You can't tell me that.

"I was going to make a song just about the SEC, but then I started thinking about all my friends in other conferences, and I said, 'I need to make a song for everybody," Woolridge explained. "So I thought of the idea a couple of weeks ago, took about 35 or 40 minutes to write it, and then the other night I recorded it."

And now I'm linking it.

And now Woolridge wants you to make a video for it.

"I'd like to open it up and get anybody who wants to do it to make a highlight tape to go with the song," he said. "Then whoever has the best highlight tape, I could make a song for their team, too."

Sounds good to me.

So click this link and check it out.

Then get to work on that highlight tape.
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