Just call him Picky Pearl.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl likes a lot of things the Vols are doing heading into tonight's 7:30 tip with Prairie View A&M (1-1) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
But UT's 3-point shooting, rebounding and press are not among those things.
The Vols (2-0) are shooting 28.8 percent (13-of-45) beyond the 3-point arc through two games, in part because of Chris Lofton's 1-of-10 shooting from long distance.
Last year, UT was hitting at a 37.5 percent clip through two regular-season games and Lofton was 2-of-7.
Last year, the Vols spent their preseason shooting in Thompson-Boling Arena. This past preseason, UT worked largely at Stokely Athletics Center and more recently the Pratt Pavilion while the arena was undergoing renovations.
"That's not an excuse, but it's probably a factor," Pearl said. "The sightlines and backgrounds are different, and you don't have the advantage of seeing that same lighting or look.
"But that won't last much longer."
Neither should the Vols' struggles on the boards. UT has out-rebounded its opponents by only three through the first two games.
"Where we've dominated some statistical areas, our rebounding advantage is only three,'' Pearl said. "Another one of the things we did not do well was press, nor did we adjust well on the fly or at halftime.
"I didn't do a good job of communicating it to the kids, and once communicated, they didn't do a good job of adjusting quickly."
Pearl is pleased with the Vols' field-goal percentage defense, which stands at a gaudy .330. Last year, UT allowed its first two opponents to hit .412 through the first two games en route to finishing the season with an SEC-worst .457 field goal percentage defense.
"It continues to be very good for us,'' Pearl said.
It better. Pearl spent the bulk of UT's offseason working to improve the Vols in that area, and he has made it clear numerous times over that playing time is based on defensive effort and execution.
It appears the players are getting the message, as 10 players are averaging 10 minutes or more per game and none of the players averages more than 24 minutes per game.
The scoring is as balanced with four players averaging 10 points or more per game. No UT player has scored more than 15 points in either of the first two games.
"Every game, we get closer and more comfortable," Pearl said. "We just need to keep learning and getting exposed to different offenses and defenses and responding to different things.
"It's still about us, not about our opponent."
Tonight's game against the athletic, uptempo Panthers is the second of four in the StubHub Legends Classic tournament. UT plays West Virginia on Nov. 23 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., before finishing against Texas or New Mexico State on Nov. 24.
Tres Bien?: The Vols actually shot a better 3-point field goal percentage on the road (.366) than at home (.363) last season.
"You know why that is?" Pearl said. "Because usually you are more patient on the road. You have greater respect for your opponent so you're not as likely to rush your shots."
RPI: Pearl said he's not as concerned with the Vols' RPI as some have suggested even though two of UT's first three opponents this season are low in that basketball ranking system.
"Our schedule is so difficult, and we have so many tough and rough non-conference games that our RPI will be fine,'' he said.
NCAA Practice: Pearl said playing five games in 11 days is good experience.
"This turnaround is similar to an NCAA Tournament situation," Pearl said. "We've talked to our guys about how they receive a one-day scout, a one-day practice and getting ready to play in a day."
The Duke: Duke Crews, who saw his first playing time this season in Wednesday night's 101-44 win over Arkansas-Monticello, is back in the rotation - somewhere.
"Four practices and one game doesn't allow me much room to change things up," said Pearl, who made Crews the 12th player to enter the game. "But I was very pleased with the way Duke played."