UT schedule sets up 'deepest tournament run'

Pearl says RPI will again be high

Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl said the 2009-10 schedule is challenging enough to prepare the Vols for a long run into the NCAA tournament.

"There's no question our roster is set up for us to challenge for the SEC championship again and have our deepest tournament run yet,'' said Pearl, whose Vols return all five starters off last year's East Division-winning squad. "This is a schedule that will prepare us. Wherever the bar is set, we'll rise to that level.''

Pearl said he sees parallels to last season's schedule, which ranked as the third-toughest in the nation according to the RPI ratings.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'' said Pearl. "We lose Gonzaga, we pick up USC; in stead of playing in the Disney tournament, we're going to St. Thomas.''

UT tips off with an Oct. 30 home exhibition against North Alabama.

The Vols open the Paradise Jam tournament Nov. 20 with East Carolina before a potential showdown with Northern Iowa and either Purdue or Boston College in the tournament finale.

"We're still playing a game in Nashville against Middle (Tennessee),'' Pearl said, "and we're getting in-state opponents and mid-major conference champions on our schedule.''

The Vols added Southern Cal, College of Charleston, East Tennessee State, Wyoming, Austin Peay, Charlotte and North Carolina A&T to the schedule this season.

Gone are Gonzaga, Marquette, Temple, Belmont, UT Martin, Chattanooga and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Kansas and Memphis remain, with the Jayhawks playing the marquee game in Thompson-Boling Arena at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 10. The Vols play the Tigers in Memphis on Dec. 31.

While the non-conference schedule remains equally difficult - save no parallel for Marquette, which it played and beat as part of the SEC-Big East Challenge - the SEC itself figures to be much better.

"You can pick any one of five different teams in the SEC East and they'll be in the NCAA tournament; and out West, Mississippi State has a front line that's bigger than most NBA teams,'' Pearl said. "We are obviously going to need to get off to a fast start.''

The Vols open SEC play with back-to-back home games against Auburn (Jan. 14) and Ole Miss (Jan. 16) before road games at Alabama and Georgia.

February has a challenging stretch of seven games that includes five road games against SEC East competition.

"I would prefer to travel in January when our students are gone and play more home games in February when they can be there,'' Pearl said. "But we've demonstrated we can go on the road and be competitive in February and March.

"Last year, we were written out of the race until we went on the road and beat Florida and South Carolina to win the East.''

The SEC's new television package increases the exposure for all the league teams, but Pearl's particularly pleased with UT's national appearances.

"ESPN College GameDay has been in existence for basketball for three years, and for three straight years we've been on it,'' Pearl said, alluding to UT's game at Kentucky on Feb. 13. "I think our fans are proud of the fact that CBS and ESPN recognize we're somebody worth watching.''

The Vols have nationally televised CBS games at home on Jan. 31 against Florida and Feb. 27 against Kentucky.

UT's New Year's Eve game at Memphis will also be on CBS although no game time has been set.

All Present: Pearl said all of his players reported without complication Wednesday.

"We did our speed, agility and conditioning testing today,'' said Pearl on Thursday. "We'll do our strength testing (later Thursday) and report for workouts at 6:30 a.m. Monday.''

Tennessee men’s basketball schedule for 2009-2010.

— Oct. 30, North Alabama (exhibition), 7:30 p.m.

— Nov. 4, Lincoln Memorial (exhibition), 7:30 p.m.

— Nov. 13, Austin Peay, 7:30 p.m.

— Nov. 17, UNC Asheville, 7:30 p.m.

— Nov. 20, East Carolina at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam), 3:30 p.m.

— Nov. 21/22 DePaul or Northern Iowa at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam), 6 p.m.

— Nov. 23, To be announced at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam), TBA.

— Nov. 27, College of Charleston, 7:30 p.m.

— Dec. 2, East Tennessee State, 7:30 p.m.

— Dec. 11, Middle Tennessee at Nashville (Sun Belt Classic), 7 p.m.

— Dec. 15, Wyoming, 7 p.m.

— Dec. 19, at Southern California, TBA.

— Dec. 23, North Carolina A&T, 7:30 p.m.

— Dec. 31, at Memphis, CBS, TBA.

— Jan. 6, Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

— Jan. 10, Kansas, CBS, 1:30 p.m.

— Jan. 14, Auburn, ESPN/ESPN2, 7 p.m.

— Jan. 16, Ole Miss, SEC Network, 1:30 p.m.

— Jan. 19, at Alabama, ESPN, 7 p.m.

— Jan. 23, at Georgia, FSN South, 5 p.m.

— Jan. 27, Vanderbilt, ESPNU, 7 p.m.

— Jan. 31, Florida, CBS, 1 p.m.

— Feb. 4, at LSU, ESPN/ESPN2, 9 p.m.

— Feb. 6, South Carolina, ESPN, 6 p.m.

— Feb. 9, at Vanderbilt, ESPN, 7 p.m.

— Feb. 13, at Kentucky, ESPN, 9 p.m.

— Feb. 17, Georgia, SEC Network, 8 p.m.

— Feb. 20, at South Carolina, SEC Network, 1:30 p.m.

— Feb. 23, at Florida, ESPN, 9 p.m.

— Feb. 27, Kentucky, CBS, Noon.

— March 3, Arkansas, CSS, 7 p.m.

— March 6, at Mississippi State, ESPN, 6 p.m.

———

— March 11-14, SEC Tournament in Nashville.

— March 18 and 20, NCAA first and second rounds in New Orleans; Providence, R.I.; San Jose, Calif.; and Spokane, Wash.

— March 19 and 21, NCAA first and second rounds in Buffalo, N.Y.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Milwaukee and Oklahoma City.

— March 25 and 27, NCAA Regionals in Syracuse, N.Y., and Salt Lake City.

— March 26 and 28, NCAA Regionals in St. Louis and Houston.

— April 3 and 5, NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis.

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Comments » 41

mdvol writes:

Maybe Peyton can join Bruce and the boys on April 5th in Indy!

CoverOrange writes:

I'm not a basketball aficionado but this schedule seems less daunting than any previous of Pearl's schedules. Whether USC and Memphis are on their way up or down will be big factors on RPI at season's end.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

I'm not a basketball aficionado but this schedule seems less daunting than any previous of Pearl's schedules. Whether USC and Memphis are on their way up or down will be big factors on RPI at season's end.

I agree, the non conference schedule is pathetic.
UT better walk through this schedule. This is an absolute joke of a schedule.

cdonsbach writes:

I've got all my vacation time scheduled around the season. I can't wait for basketball to start!
GO VOLS!

givehim6 writes:

UT returns 5 starters, hope this year Vols can win more than 3 games before losing. But GO VOLS!

Volfan615 writes:

I can kind of see why we went to an easier schedule this year because we need wins so we can get a better seed in the NCAA tournament

Irwin_Linker writes:

Maybe the schedule sets us up for a deeper run because we will be able to walk away with a higher seed.

VOLKING writes:

As Pearl says, "we are now a team worth watching." Couldn't say that before he got here.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Irwin_Linker:

Maybe the schedule sets us up for a deeper run because we will be able to walk away with a higher seed.

That may well be the case. As you and a couple of other posters said, the goal may be more wins and hopefully a higher seed. I agree that this year's schedule doesn't look nearly as tough as in some previous years. Playing at USC may be a challenge since it's an away game on the West Coast, but USC as a team is WAY down from what it was the last few years. A loss there would be devastating.

N2Motorsports writes:

in response to GreyhairedVol:

I agree, the non conference schedule is pathetic.
UT better walk through this schedule. This is an absolute joke of a schedule.

Did you even look at the schedule before commenting?? This schedule, although not as sexy as previous years, is not pathetic. College of Charleston is a quality non-conference opponent, along with Kansas, Memphis State, and USC. Whoever we may play in the St. Thomas Tourney will be quality, and then the SEC schedule. That is not a pathetic schedule.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

can't wait!! go vols

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to N2Motorsports:

Did you even look at the schedule before commenting?? This schedule, although not as sexy as previous years, is not pathetic. College of Charleston is a quality non-conference opponent, along with Kansas, Memphis State, and USC. Whoever we may play in the St. Thomas Tourney will be quality, and then the SEC schedule. That is not a pathetic schedule.

lol! Kid this schedule is not worth the price of admission.

Slystone writes:

I said it before roster wise this team is deep as any other out there. The question is can they play with a mean streak and is the team Bball IQ where it needs to be at to win the tough games and smoke the inferior foes. We will see soon.

hueypilot writes:

in response to GreyhairedVol:

lol! Kid this schedule is not worth the price of admission.

Then don't go and don't watch.

GreyhairedVol writes:

OK! I did some checking and this is Kentucky's non conference schedule. I don't know about you but I would love to sit down with a cold beer and watch the Vols play this schedule instead of the one we have.

Nov. 25 Stanford or Virginia on CBS
Dec. 5 NORTH CAROLINA 12:30 p.m. CBS
Dec. 9 Connecticut 9:30 p.m. ESPN
Dec. 12 At Indiana Noon CBS
Jan. 2 LOUISVILLE 3:30 p.m. CBS

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sounds good, I will drop u a note.
listen before you guys give fans a lot of grief, go and read that fans previous post. I was reading Robvols post and they are mostly negative towards other fans, and he is always pushing people to join another board.
Seems like a very unhappy child that don't have many friends. He is just trying to belong. Give him a little break. Bless his heart.
What a shame. I'm sure he is a good kid.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It scary how much some of our fans know so little about basketball. I hope coach Pearl never leaves because some of our fans would probably fall off the deep end. Rivals radio commented today that UT schedule was suprisingly weak considering Pearl is trying to build something special at UT. So please I understand some of you are personal with the coach and find yourselves falling for him but it what it is. A very, very weak non conference schedule.
Again I'm sorry that your obsession witth a man does not let you think striaght but seriously get a life!

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And Plasticman, please let me know when you are going to make your first game? I would love for you to meet this old man. But going by all of your post I'm sure your just a nerdy little punk hiding behind your internet muscles. Take care runt.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WOW! Non conference moron. Why do I even bother. How come we have so many children on here? Do these kids not have parents? I'm starting to believe some of the other posters that Pearl is a father figure to these morons. They don't even take time to read the whole post. I have been a fan for a very long time and I have never obsessed over a coach. These people are literally looking at Pearl as an idol. How sad is that? Good night!

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get a life, get a wife, and get over the man crush on Pearl. It's disgusting. When you actually get your nimble mind out of his arse and actually learn the game come back and chat. But right now with the obsession that you have on a coach is not allowing you to think straight.
Seriously, in case you missed it on here the coach is now married. So maybe, just maybe you can move on and find someone that is actually attinable by your witless arse.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

lol! See I'm not a fan because I have an opinion that the nimwits don't agree with. Seriously kid get an education while your still young. In your case even a very small mind is a terrible thing to waste.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Know weird is obsessing so much over someone that is not, and never will be a part of your life. Weird is getting mad because you do not agree that someone may have a different opinion on someone that to you is bigger than life. I truly hope you get to meet someone that actually will be apart of your life someday. Then you will realize what true love is. It isn't a man crush on a coach.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Like I said, Let me know when you are going to be at your very first game ever and I will be more than happy to show my colors to you.
I can tell your not to bright by the fact that you actually think we will sweep a UK team that is whole lot better than they were last year and swept us with the same team we will have this year. See again, your man crush does not allow you to think straight.

GreyhairedVol writes:

To the rest of the posters I am truly sorry. I'm just so tired of the children on here calling other Vol fans name because they have the balls to have a different opinion. Again, sorry and have a great weekend.

SIMPLYTHETRUTH writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

I'm not a basketball aficionado but this schedule seems less daunting than any previous of Pearl's schedules. Whether USC and Memphis are on their way up or down will be big factors on RPI at season's end.

Perhaps you think this schedule is less daunting because you're an idiot who hasn't done his homework - as usual on here. Even IF Memphis and USC are somewhat down from the last couple years, they are ROAD games and will be challenging. The St Thomas deal has E Carolina who is rapidly improving and could pull an upset if TN "just shows up." Add Purdue - a potential Final 4 team in a projected final and THAT is a tough tourney - something BP has yet to win at TN. Charleston has a history of being a giant killer - ask NC - and is definitely on the rise with Cremins. Charlotte may end up the 2nd best team in the A-10. So there's 7 NON-CONF games of which this mentally unstable group could lose any! Just because everybody is back for TN, folks need to remember what a psycho bunch this is, understand that there was NO chemistry a year ago, there are some definite divisions within the player cliques, and at least 5 guys are playing for the NBA and will want to be THE star. So what happens when they aren't? Do they pout (Chism)? Do they try to do too much (Tyler, Hopson)? Do they just try to do things they can't - like shoot (Prince)? Remember this group LOST IN THE 1st ROUND!!!! And now they come with THIS schedule in an improved SEC and want to talk about DEEP tournament runs???? BP and his boys need to just STFU and do it for a change. Good luck with that!

johnlg00 writes:

I just love it when two DA's hijack a whole thread for their private p***ing match--NOT! What a spectacle! I hope you guys, and you know who you are, are proud of yourselves!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not that I want to start another one, but what was that supposed to mean? You weren't one of the ones I was referencing. When you and I have had exchanges, they never descended to the level we saw above, IMHO, and they were mostly opinions about sports, not each other's personal shortcomings or such.

PoochPuntOn3rdDown writes:

in response to GreyhairedVol:

And Plasticman, please let me know when you are going to make your first game? I would love for you to meet this old man. But going by all of your post I'm sure your just a nerdy little punk hiding behind your internet muscles. Take care runt.

That sounds like a threat. Would someone please ban this old man?

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to PoochPuntOn3rdDown:

That sounds like a threat. Would someone please ban this old man?

Why don't you come with him. I would love to meet you as well.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I missed it the first time through. Pretty tough slog after awhile. Glad everyone has made up. Hope we can get back to discussing ball.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree that Pearl is not an icon; hope others can agree that he isn't a devil or a fool, either, but he IS the coach of the Vols. As such, he deserves our support until he is no longer coach of the Vols, or at least until it is OBVIOUS that he has ruined the program. On that, I say that the jury is still out and the verdict is in doubt--either way!

PoochPuntOn3rdDown writes:

in response to GreyhairedVol:

Why don't you come with him. I would love to meet you as well.

You have gray hair and you threaten people on a message board? And your little boyfriends come to your defense like a gang of fairies? You, sir, are pathetic...

VOLDoll writes:

in response to PoochPuntOn3rdDown:

That sounds like a threat. Would someone please ban this old man?

lol! I get away from my kids for a few minutes and what do I see another child crying for his mommy. Why can't the mods verify the ages of these children and get them the hell off of here. My goodness, this is supposed to be a discussion board and all we get are these whiny a** kids on here all the time bad mouthing the fans that have actually been to a Vol game. Ridiculous!

VOLDoll writes:

in response to TaterVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's obvious he needs some adult supervision in his life. But it's the society we now live in. Poor kid is probably the product of a broken home and is home all alone. I deal with at work everyday. Hopefully mommy will be home soon and tuck him in.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolDog I hope you're right about this. I would hate to think we have this many whiners in Tennessee. lol!
By the way I honestly don't have a clue about how strong the schedule is nor do I care. I'm too fired up about the football season.
But, I know a few people are disappointed in the out of conference schedule. Take it for what it's worth. lol!

VOLDoll writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Agree that Pearl is not an icon; hope others can agree that he isn't a devil or a fool, either, but he IS the coach of the Vols. As such, he deserves our support until he is no longer coach of the Vols, or at least until it is OBVIOUS that he has ruined the program. On that, I say that the jury is still out and the verdict is in doubt--either way!

You seem like a very smart young man and I wish we had more like you on this board. I hope I see you on here more. Take care and have a great weekend.

SIMPLYTHETRUTH writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're not going to post anymore???? Well, as the song goes - OH HAPPY DAY!!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, I hate to see anyone leave the board who has a sincere interest in the Vols and can maintain a modicum of dignity in their posts, which you mostly have. If you have read many of my posts, I think you will see that I have given CBP full credit and respect for what he has done for the program. I have never had a problem with his personality or anything else about him personally. I HAVE questioned his ability to fashion a winning game-plan for the squad he HAS as opposed to the squad he may want. I HAVE questioned some of his moves, or lack of them, in certain game situations. I AM concerned that we seem to have hit a wall in our recruiting efforts.

My giving CBP credit for his achievements and virtues makes me a "Pearl-worshiper" in some posters' eyes, a helpless sucker for a flim-flam man. My pointing out what I see as some areas in which I would like to see improvement makes me a "Pearl-hater" in others' eyes, just another fair-weather fan. I don't worry too much about the opinions of people who insist on seeing everything only one way--THEIR way. If I am factually wrong, I welcome correction. If someone disagrees with my opinions, I will try to see the merit in every well-intentioned opposing opinion. I seldom reply to simple trolls, but I do not regard every fan of another program on here as a troll or interloper until they prove they are. Some people, no matter which program they favor, seem to be just angry, bitter people who use the safety and anonymity of the internet to work out their own neuroses. I try not to give such people the satisfaction of rising to their obvious bait. Anybody got a problem with that(;-P)? GO VOLS!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks again--and you too, Voldoll--for calling me a "young man". Almost 63, remember? I do try to stay young at heart and stay mentally flexible, but I have seen a good deal of water go under the bridge. Have a good day, MTV. Lots of good action to come with both the roundball and the "oblate spheroid"! GO VOLS!!!

N2Motorsports writes:

in response to GreyhairedVol:

It scary how much some of our fans know so little about basketball. I hope coach Pearl never leaves because some of our fans would probably fall off the deep end. Rivals radio commented today that UT schedule was suprisingly weak considering Pearl is trying to build something special at UT. So please I understand some of you are personal with the coach and find yourselves falling for him but it what it is. A very, very weak non conference schedule.
Again I'm sorry that your obsession witth a man does not let you think striaght but seriously get a life!

GreyhairedVol longs for the days of the Jerry Green and Buzz Peterson schedule that consisted of NO teams the caliber of Kansas and Memphis.

CUSA_NEWS writes:

Long tournament run must be code for out in the second round. All relative I guess but it would be an all-time best at UT so kudos in advanced for the "long run".

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