Vols all business

Ready to play No. 1 Memphis

The Thompson-Boling experience

There were few smiles at Tennessee's practice Friday afternoon.

Vols' coach Bruce Pearl was his usual self, barking out orders and reviewing his scouting report notes while conducting the two-hour walk-through session.

The players, however, were a picture of concentration, their game faces already on for tonight's 9 o'clock tip-off against No. 1 Memphis (26-0).

The No. 2-ranked Vols (24-2) bring a modest eight-game win streak into the ESPN-televised event at FedEx Forum against a Tigers team that has not only won 47 consecutive games at home, but also, 45 consecutive regular-season games.

"I could use a little more time to get ready for this game,'' Pearl said. "We'll just have to see what we've got.''

Both Memphis and Tennessee have vowed not to back off their frantic, fast-breaking, full-court styles of play.

But at some point, half-court defense will be played.

"Building a wall,'' has been Pearl's catchphrase this week, with the Vols emphasizing the need to limit the Tigers' productivity near the basket.

"You have to stop them from penetrating,'' Pearl said. "They find gaps, and they turn corners, and then they go get what they miss and put it back up. We have to build a wall and try to keep them out of there.''

The playfulness exhibited by the UT players this week was replaced by serious answers when asked about the strategical approach to the game.

"They are athletic and long, and they can get to the rim,'' Vols All-American Chris Lofton said. "We just have to have great team defense.''

Sophomore Wayne Chism said he knows the Tigers will apply pressure on him via 6-foot-9, 265-pound post Joey Dorsey.

"They'll think we're soft inside, and they'll come at me,'' said Chism, who's 6-9, 242. "Dorsey is a beast on the boards, and you have to keep an eye on him on the lob and rebounds.

"They get off on runs off his dunks. He really throws it down. But there's more than one big matchup.''

In 6-7 wing Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis has one of the most talented and hottest players in the country.

"Douglas-Roberts, to me, is as good as there is in college basketball right now,'' said Pearl, noting that Douglas-Roberts has averaged 27.7 points over the past three games. "He's the college version of Kobe Bryant with the things he can do.''

UT wing JaJuan Smith most likely will be the primary defender on Douglas-Roberts, just as he was asked to guard Vanderbilt standout Shan Foster and Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo earlier this season.

Smith said checking Douglas-Roberts will be similar to stopping Foster and Pargo in some respects.

"I've got to get up into him, like Foster, and keep him out of his shooting rhythm,'' Smith said. "I played against him (Douglas-Roberts) at LeBron James Camp (last summer). I picked up on some of his game.''

Pargo was at that camp, too, and the 6-3 Smith learned enough to limit the Gonzaga star to eight points in the Vols' win over the Bulldogs earlier this season.

Another key is at point guard, where UT sophomore Ramar Smith will be asked to match-up with Memphis' freshman sensation Derrick Rose.

"He's really about the hype, a great player, a McDonald's All-American,'' Smith said. "So you've got Derrick Rose, big name, and then Ramar Smith, with my name not so big. Let's just play.''

Build A Wall II: ESPN producers called UT earlier this week encouraging the school to send students to today's GameDay set.

"They wanted a 50-50 mix of fans,'' Vols basketball sports information director Craig Pinkerton said. "Apparently, that's not going to happen.''

Pinkerton said he got word from Memphis that only 3,500 fans will be permitted around the ESPN set, with Memphis students getting first dibs and the remainder of the seats going to fans who have tickets for the game.

Pearl was not pleased.

"We don't control the game operations,'' Pearl said, "but if we had GameDay here, I'd try to get 20,000 to fill our place up.''

Pat's Take: Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt sat courtside during the Vols' practice Friday afternoon, chatting with Pearl between drills.

"Anytime we've been in that (No. 1 vs. No. 2) situation, it has a postseason feel and it is great preparation for the (NCAA) tournament,'' Summitt said. "It is a valuable learning experience.

"But it's important to not make it bigger or more important than it is.''

New Shoes: The Vols will break out a new adidas model of shoe tonight, the "Piranha 3.0.''

Lofton has been wearing the two-year-old original model of the shoe, which features a crossover strap, but like most all of his teammates was wearing the new version on Friday.

Shoot-Around: UT deviated from its normal practice of holding a shoot-around in the road arena the night before the game because the Memphis Grizzlies have a home game. The Vols will shoot in FedEx Forum this morning before returning to the team hotel to eat, meet, rest and watch other college basketball games.

© 2008 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 94

BigVolinCarolina writes:

We win this game if we play good defense and rebound. I'm not worried about the offense.

Can't wait to crush Memphis's heart...and Calipari's, too.


coach75 writes:


jevolball7 writes:

Our perimeter defense will be fine. The post has me worried. "HACK A SHAQ", would be ideal.

chrisw2967 writes:

Just go and play Tenn basketball and if JuJuan and Chris both are hitting there shots then Tn come out of this game with a win and just hope Chism doesnt start throwing up 3s , just hit the boards and get Dorsey in foul trouble and just make those Tigers night a living %ell. Go Vols

utchris writes:

I finally got a ticket!!!!!!! It may not be the best seat in the house, but it only cost me 25 bones!

OrangeNugget writes:

Let's do it vols, Memphis is expecting to runaway with this. I am a student at Tennessee and I have some friends from Memphis that are rooting for Memphis that go here with me. I am disgusted with them. I know Tennessee is the better team so prove it!!!!!!!!!!

VolBall writes:

How freakin cool is it to now have at UT such a wonderful men's basketball coach who has completely established a respected and feared program, who instills a healthy swagger and confidence in his players, who "gets it" when it comes to embracing fans and promoting our school and overtaking fertile recruiting grounds once largely unavailable. Pearl has got everyone's attention, and rightfully so!

utchris writes:


Email their names to the UTAD and request that their ID's not be allowed into TBA the rest of the year on the account of Treason.

volmattna writes:

Orangenugget, They should be kicked out of school for not cheering for the vols. How could you go to school here and not cheer for this team? regardless of where you are from. GO VOLS!!!!

OrangeNugget writes:

I know, I want to kick their ass but they back in Memphis for the game when they don't even have tickets. Waste of 800 miles there n back.

Hunter writes:

utchris - if you happened to get a Gen. Admission ticket, they're selling WAY more tickets than the place holds and it's first-come, first-served. If you can read this and you aren't in line, you're too late.

Vol_Fan_4_Life_615 writes:

thats almost as bad as having a UT grad putting them down on a Birmingham radio station 5 days a week.

utchris writes:

There has been nothing of the sort published. The ticket has a seat number on it and I highly doubt they are selling multiple tickets with the same seat on it. The forum holds 19000 and they are selling 38000 tickets. That is why they are so hard to get. Geez buddy, lay off the juice tonight.

vol52 writes:

BO BIG ORANGE! BEAT the tigers!

StaytheCourse writes:

Favorite Pearl quote ever, "Were gonna get off the bus and then were going to press ya."

DevilVols writes:

College basketball analyst have been talking about this game for two months now. Why....because Memphis is sooo good or because Memphis plays in a soft ass conference and plays a soft ass schedule? I believe it's the latter. The Big Orange two months ago was the big game on thier schedule...They are nervous and full of doubts in thier heads. If we come out and punch them in the mouth we have a good shot at getting the W. GO VOLS and thank you Bruce Pearl for bringing some Pride back to Tennessee basketball.

txsvol#372416 writes:

Go Vols! Beat Memphis! SAVol

Huntingdonvol writes:

Check out espn guys,they are already showing the preditions of digger and jay!They both pick pimphis to win on gameday!All we got out of pimphis here in west Tennessee is one tv station out of Jackson,all we hear is memphis,pimphis whatever they call that slum of the south!Iwas raised and taught in Sundayschool not to hate anyone,but i cant rember nothing abought hating something!I puke blue,my nightmares are blue i hate phimphis!Judge me wrong as you may,but i make my stand.GO VOLS SPREAD SOME ORANGE OVER THAT USLESS PLACE AND NOT JUST WIN,WIN BIG BABBY!

Volssux writes:

Huntingdonvol There is a word for people like you....


pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Man, that's really infuriating that Memphis won't let Vol fans around the ESPN set. I hope the ESPN game day crew explain that, so it doesn't look like we just didn't show. How rude. pj

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Man, that's really infuriating that Memphis won't let Vol fans around the ESPN set. I hope the ESPN game day crew explain that, so it doesn't look like we just didn't show. How rude. pj

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Good grief...i know better than to click twice. My finger was out of control there.

Huntingdonvol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

romevol writes:

Isn't Memphis that little town that sits out there close to Alalbama?

Volssux: No wonder they have idiots like you iiving there. You have Alalbam stank on you! Now go take a bath and come back wearing something orange, Maybe there is still some time to turn you around.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Pat and Bruce chatting at courtside. Hmmmm, man if they were married and had children, it would truly be basketball Jones.

If their prodigy couln't hit a 28' jump shot, he could explain why he missed. All in theory, of course.

We're blessed to have two current and energetic coaches like them.

Beat U of M.

mdvol writes:

BIG GAME! Turn down the sound on ESPN and crank up JOHN WARD! Oh, phooey, it's Kesling. Go with ESPN.


Bruce Almighty will take care of business like John Cheney threatened to do about ten years ago!

Colliervol writes:

Watching the news shows in Memphis this morning and they showed the crowd waiting to get into the Forum. About 1000 Memphis students who got first entry. Not an orange shirt in site. And then after that, only letting in people with game tickets. And guess what percentage of fans that will be. If ESPN wanted a "mixed" crowd, somebody at Memphis and the Forum didn't get the message. Maybe we'll get a few tokens in.

Oh well, fortunately, our guys only have to play five of them at a time. On the floor, it looks pretty even to me. Talking is over. Nothing left to do but play it.

tnbanker_govols writes:

Coach75: I know exactly what you mean. I've been to several UT footballl games when they play Florida, Georgia or other top schools. Always get that queasy feeling in the stomach......but never for a basketball game. We just need to play our game. If we shoot the three ball well and play solid defense, I believe we'll be #1 next week. GO VOLS!!!!!!

Huntingdonvol writes:

I see the espn hate of VOLS already coming out before gameday!I hope coach takes note and uses this for the big moe!And you wonder if espn and pimphis are made for each other!no orange in the background not a vol fan their!God i hate phimphis

Chainsaw writes:


SFOrange writes:

Gotta love this week--this season.
@ Memphis, @ Vandy, UK @ TBA.

All eyes on FedEx tonight--win/loose tonight, we're watching year 3 of a rising program.
Damn, this is fun.
Rev it up Vols.

Huntingdonvol writes:


utchris writes:

This will only add some fuel to BP's pre-game speech; like they need any other motivation. This Memphis crowd is weak. They only get loud when they talk about Memphis. Everyone in Memphis remember to catch the BP pregame talk @ 6:15 @ Jillians just off Beale St.

How arrogant did CDR seem in that first segment of interviews?

VolJunkie writes:

The ESPN Gameday fiasco really highlights the difference between these two programs. Memphis only letting in about 3500 people, guess what color most of them will be wearing. Bruce said if the game was in Knoxville he would open the place up and have 20,000 in front of the cameras! Bruce is the man, he is coaching a great and talented group of young men, Memphis will definitely be singing the blues tonight. I just hope the talk that Indiana is going to pursue Coach Pearl goes away and doesn't create distractions for what has become an historic UT basketball season.


VolJunkie writes:

<utchris> you are absolutely right but then arrogant describes the whole program. Glad you scored a ticket for tonight, I know you will represent!


utchris writes:

Pearl will not leave. Tennessee has the cash to keep him. Besides, he would not want to head to a University that is about to get sanctioned.

My friend in the coaching business does tell me though that Steve Forbes is the leading canadite for the Arkansas St. job. (Vacated by Dicky Nutt,brother of Houston, earlier this week)

VolJunkie writes:

I agree UT has the cash and Coach Pearl seems to enjoy being in Knoxville. Looking forward to something besides Memphis talk on Game Day; looks like they are ready to do a piece on Tyler Smith. He has a great story, I hope he stays for his Jr. and Sr. years.

FatherVol writes:

It seems that lynching anything these days is enough to draw sanctions; even depictions of just a noose are enough to get editors fired. I say we just take this tiger by the tail and let it unfurl behind the victory ride back to Knoxville, the epicenter of collegiate basketball.

FatherVol writes:

Was on Beale Street yesterday afternoon with some college friends. We got pelted with peanut shells, had one homongous goober propelled our way and one beer bottle hit one of my friends. Mind you, not all Memphis fans are like this. In fact, most are most congenial even if obnoxious in their taunts, but the group at the Hampton Inn across from Peabody Place was ruthless to anyone in orange. Be careful, utchris!

utchris writes:

Great story on Tyler Smith. I like how Calipari just walked through the crowd...hmm, am I wrong or is that a copy of something someone else has done over the past 3 years?

VolJunkie writes:

That was a great story, similar to the piece the KNS did a few weeks ago.

LOL about Calipari, I thought the same thing.

I can't wait for tonight! GO VOLS!

GlennMaxwell writes:

Stop bellyaching about the GameDay crowd. It's the first of many disappointments you'll be encountering before the day is over.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

hmm, don't know about new sneaks for a big game...

the vols will hack like crazy inside, I think; wouldn't be surprised to see chism, crews, williams, and childress foul out, and Tyler and JP to have 4 each if that is waht it takes.

My surprise pick: JP comes into the game after JaJuan gets a couple of cheap fouls and locks down Douglas-Roberts.

CoverOrange writes:

FatherVol, why didn't you text Cal and ask him to stop throwing stuff at you? J/K

You're right, Glenn, first I ran out of raisin bran for my breakfast, then the the wife said she going shopping all afternoon, and the newspaper was laying off the porch in the snow and the dog didn't make it out the door in time. I expect my day to even out this evening though.

wally writes:

Not allowing Vol fans into game day is pure, classless Tiger High...unbelievable. Memphis has bascially rigged Game Day because they're so paranoid that big brother will show them up. Of course, ESPN inivited Vol fans because they wanted a 50/50 split and had never experienced an institution rigging the setting. I'd say this is a first for Game Day. This is nothing other than typical Tiger High and typical Calapari...pure bush league....but hey, what did you expect?

GlennMaxwell writes:


Did you get inside info from ESPN about this big conspiracy they got sucked into?

utchris writes:

Gameday Checklist

Wallet - Check
Cell Phone - Check
Keys - Check
Ticket - Check
Bullet Proof Vest - Check
Lots of Orange - Check

Alright boys and girls, I am off. Everyone enjoy the game! GO VOLS!!!

GlennMaxwell writes:

Well, I certainly hope the wife has some action planned for ya at bedtime, WD, cuz that's the only way your bad day will even out later on.

GlennMaxwell writes:

By the way, W: Get GameDay to come to Knoxville for a basketball game sometime and UT can handle the crowd any way they want. But their on our turf now, and we don't want tacky orange cluttering up the moment. Sorry don't like, but there's a lot you won't like about today.

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