Pearl expecting a great game

Oklahoma State likes fast-paced game

College basketball coaches love to say it’s all about the match-ups, especially in the throes of March Madness.

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl was still trying to determine Monday whether or not Oklahoma State was a favorable match-up for the Vols in the NCAA tournament’s East Region opening round.

He at least sounded hopeful.

“I think both teams could make each other play better,’’ Pearl said. “Both could play well.’’

The No. 9-seed Vols (21-12) meet the No. 8-seed Cowboys (22-11) on Friday at 12:25 p.m. (TV: WVLT) in Dayton, Ohio.

Oklahoma State is in its first year under head coach Travis Ford, a former Kentucky Wildcat who has emulated many of the tactics of his coach, Rick Pitino.

In other words, don’t look for a tense, half-court game like the 64-61 defeat to Mississippi State the Vols suffered in the SEC tournament championship game on Sunday.

“Both teams like to run, both teams play better going fast,’’ Pearl said, “so it’ll be a real exciting game to watch.

“I think we’ll be able to score. The challenge will be will we be able to defend. Can we stop them in transition? How will we be able to best guard their ball-screen and spread?’’

The Cowboys rank No. 6 nationally in scoring (81.1 points), No. 5 in 3-point baskets (9.3 per game) and No. 23 in 3-point percentage (38.4).

“I like Travis Ford basketball,’’ Pearl said. “I do. I like it because we try to play it.

“I would say, traditionally, a bigger, stronger, more physical, slower, ball-controlling match-up might be tougher.

“I think (Oklahoma State) likes the match-up. They would also struggle against a bigger, slower, ball-controlling team.’’

Pearl gave the Vols a day off Monday. They will practice here today and Wednesday and hold a public workoutnoon to 12:40 p.m. Thursday at University of Dayton Arena.

By then, the UT staff will have a definitive scouting report in place.

Tennessee’s games with the Cowboys in 2005-06 and 2006-07 will be only marginally informative because Ford’s style is different from former coach Eddie Sutton’s.

“Oklahoma State is more talented than anybody we’ve played against in the SEC,’’ Pearl said. “They’ve got three or four guards that offensively are really good, better than Mississippi State’s guards.

“James Anderson (a 6-foot-6 guard) is probably as good a player as we’ve played against all season long and we’ve played against some great players.’’

Common Opponents: The Vols and Cowboys faced three common opponents this year with equal results.

Both were in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., in November. Both beat Siena, UT by 78-64, Oklahoma State by 77-68. Both lost to Gonzaga, the Vols by 83-71, the Cowboys by 83-74. UT also lost to Gonzaga in Knoxville, 89-79 in overtime.

Both also lost at Kansas, the Vols by 92-85, the Cowboys by 78-67.

About That 9 Seed: Pearl was still disappointed in receiving a lower seed than expected, but was philosophical.

“We’re seeded ninth,’’ he said. “That means we’re some place between the 32nd- and 36th-best team in the field. I’d go along with that.

“Based on how we performed, I think they got it right. . . . I don’t think we’ve proven we’re better than where we find ourselves because we’ve not won enough.’’

He acknowledged that the mid-February losses at Ole Miss (by 16 points) and at Kentucky (by 19) were especially damaging.

Defending the SEC: Pearl said the SEC’s atypically low RPI was a huge disadvantage when at-large bids were handed out. The SEC received two at-large bids while the Big Ten earned six.

“There was obviously a perception that the league was down and the NCAA selection committee made that a reality,’’ Pearl said.

“The Big Ten got three of the last teams in. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan not only benefited from their body of work but by the overall strength of the Big Ten.

“Does that mean those teams are better than Auburn, Florida and South Carolina? I don’t think they are.’’

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 45

zigvol writes:

I agree witch doctor as little as 4 years ago we would have been hoping to be a 500 club so we could make the nit.

VolJunkie writes:

We are all expecting a great game!

Go Vols!

vol98champ writes:

At least we beat Alabama and Auburn. Those were fun games to watch. I hope Tyler looks in the mirror and sees a 6' 7" man instead of the 6' 2" boy that played Sunday. You are going to think I am crazy, but I believe the most talented Vol is Prince. If he plays great we win. If he plays stupid we loose. The problem is he plays the latter all too often.

Richmondvol writes:

Happy to be playing in March! Nice work Coach Pearl!

MrBamSeydu writes:

haha, I like how he left Kentucky completely out of the discussion. NIT WARRIORS!

spencer1989#206886 writes:

Like many, I hope the right team shows up on game day. For the entire season this year, it almost seems like we can play (3) good games in a row....And then we suck. During those "bad" games, its as if a high school team can beat us. This season has really been weird....And one that says we do not play consistent ball. Well....Here we are at the end...And we either play (5) good games or we go home early and disappointed. I am pulling for everyone to show up and play their hearts out in each game. If everyone does that and then we lose, then at least we gave it our best shot. That's all we can ask for....Just leave it all out on the court.

CoverOrange writes:

“I like Travis Ford basketball,’’ Pearl said. “I do. I like it because we try to play it."

Key word there is "try". We are not the running team of the last three years and we saw how we did against a real Pitino team last year.

Might be better to play the physical, deliberate style like Miss State.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

BP, bring it to the max.

At least on our cycle, we'll get two good games.

Then, wandering in the hinterland.

Doldrums next!!!

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Well, I at least like some of the more positive thoughts of the day. Here's hoping that we pull something together and make a run. First round seems to be entertaining, second round (if we make it) could be amazing or terrible. Let's hope we find out.

beachvol1 writes:

Please Vols, show up for the entire game, not just for half of it...and practice "FREE THROWS"....goodness, they are free, nobody is guarding you....going to be a tough one for sure....get nasty with them Wayne.....

Ironcity writes:

UT has done real well against the teams that push tempo. SC and UF were run out the gym trying to play up tempo with us as well as Marquette. As a team we seem to play better when everyone gets an opportunity to score. I like the match up with Ok St. I think their point guard has a bad ankle and I don't think they defend well at all.

Does anyone know what time the game is being played on Friday?

OrangeDew writes:

in response to Ironcity:

UT has done real well against the teams that push tempo. SC and UF were run out the gym trying to play up tempo with us as well as Marquette. As a team we seem to play better when everyone gets an opportunity to score. I like the match up with Ok St. I think their point guard has a bad ankle and I don't think they defend well at all.

Does anyone know what time the game is being played on Friday?

12:20-12:25

Ironcity writes:

in response to OrangeDew:

12:20-12:25

Thanks

CoachFulmer writes:

If they try to run with us like Long Beach did two years ago, we should be able to beat them at our game. Defense is the most critical aspect that needs to be A+ if were gonna win. Pretty sure we can scratch a victory. Oh, I'll be in Dayton to cheer the men's team on.

GO VOLS!

bmaples writes:

I think I predicted this somewhere else on the board, but I'll repeat it here (and may regret being so public with the prediction):

Tennessee beats OKST by at least 10, probably 15. Tennessee is a much better team in terms of athletes, and I think Pearl will have them playing better defense.

Then, it's on to face Pitt. As a Louisville fan, I've seen Pitt a few times, and I can tell you they deserve that #1 seed. They have the potential to win it all ... but they also have the potential to get called for about 100 fouls if the game is called tight, since they come from the Big East where games often look like rugby matches.

I think we take it to them in the lane over and over, and Blair gets in foul trouble. I also think we play tighter defense than they're used to seeing (except from The Ville), and they get frustrated because they weren't looking for that hard a game. We win, advance to the Sweet 16, and shock some folks.

After that? Depends on the matchup. If it's Duke, it's over. If it's Texas, maybe not.

Of course, we could also have the "other" Vol team show up in the first or second game, and we'll get beat by 20. But somehow I think the team will be ready to go.

Bruce in Louisville

TommyJack writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wrong, ju-ju breath. WitchDoc very funny.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

A disappointing seed but can't argue because we played like a 14 seed in several of our games. Play like we did against S.C. and Auburn and we'll win the next one easy.

Pitt will be a diff. story. Talk about that when it comes.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yeah, back off the witch doctor He actualy posts about the topic...dipstick

VOLKING writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How about you leave and this board keeps Witch Doctor! Don't agree? Tough. We like the Doctor. He's a character with character. I got your back, WD.

BigRngFan_9 writes:

UT by 5 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dirtywhiteboy writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

witch doctor no funny. hopefully no try to be funny.

dirtywhiteboy writes:

i remember travis ford. he was one tough little cookie.

VolJunkie writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I see a shrunken head in your future and possibly not the one you are expecting.

Witch Doctor posts always appreciated.

VolJunkie writes:

bmaples, good post, I agree we beat OSU if we can make it a track meet. I am still really concerned about our perimeter defense, we have faced many teams that shoot the 3-pointer well yet we can't seem to stop them. Should be a good game with UT moving into weekend play.

Go Vols!

brokebackvol writes:

If you want more noise and a homecourt advantage, then GET THE STUDENTS OUT FROM BEHIND THE BASKET and have them in sideline seating like at DUKE and other places where they can have an impact - UT doesn't fill an arena like Kentucky does, with diehard fans to the rafters (UT does it at Neyland but that isn't all that loud compared to other places.)

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Like He said we need good D! Then the offense will happen.

Volumnus writes:

This game is a matter of distance. Primarily the 6 inches of distance between the ears of the players on both teams. TN is deeper 1 thru 12 than OK ST with strong athletes. Neither team is mentally tough or consistent. IF and this is a big IF, both teams show up motivated and with desire, then this could be a whale of a ball game. If one shoes up down, it could be a blow out, either way. Pitt should be an easier game for us, as we should match up better and hopefully it should be easier to motivate the zombies who keep resurfacing at the most unopportune times.

BigRngFan_9 writes:

One and Done !!!!!!

Vol_Jokes writes:

Glad you are expecting a great game. Memphis is not.
I know, time for the vol fans to start saying how the vols have to play tougher teams and Memphis gets the easy teams. You guys just don't get it. You see, that's the the object of the thing. Get a high seed so you don't have to play a good team. Never mind..vols will never get it. You're destined for mediocrity and sweet 16 and higher finishes.
I'm willing to bet you won't win a game this year.

askUncleMaze writes:

in response to vol98champ:

At least we beat Alabama and Auburn. Those were fun games to watch. I hope Tyler looks in the mirror and sees a 6' 7" man instead of the 6' 2" boy that played Sunday. You are going to think I am crazy, but I believe the most talented Vol is Prince. If he plays great we win. If he plays stupid we loose. The problem is he plays the latter all too often.

What are you SMOKING? I'm trying to figure out why he gets so many min.. Jp has made good plays. But he makes more Bad Ones..

Volumni writes:

in response to askUncleMaze:

What are you SMOKING? I'm trying to figure out why he gets so many min.. Jp has made good plays. But he makes more Bad Ones..

JP is talented, if you're playing streetball for tallboys, but this is college basketball, and I for one am sick of the 1 assist/4 turnover games he has. He always goes for the hero pass or dunk, and it normally bites us. No discipline. We as a team had gotten so much better at taking care of the ball. Against MS State, we went back to the start of the season.

Our most important player, and most talented, is Chism. We feed him, and minimize Prince, we could go Sweet 16 again. We match up well with Pitt, IMO, and if we show up both games, they are games we can win.

Madkels writes:

On paper we are pretty evenly matched. If we don't turn the ball over and hit our free throws, we win. If not, it's go home. To move on we are going to have to play like we did against Florida and South Carolina the last week of the season. The score should be in the 80's or 90's. Go Big Orange!

VolJunkie writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Like He said we need good D! Then the offense will happen.

mocs,

You will like this link, from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.c...

Go Vols (and Mocs, and Bucs)!

LEXKYVOLS writes:

Did you know?

Tennessee is the only team in the history of the SEC to finish above Kentucky 4 straight years.

Tennessee is 1 of 16 teams to have made the NCAA tournament the past 4 years.

Tennessee is the only SEC team to have made the NCAA tournament the past 4 years.

utfan15govols writes:

in response to dirtywhiteboy:

i remember travis ford. he was one tough little cookie.

I went to grade school with travis ford, I went to high school with travis ford. I went to college with travis ford. I hate travis ford! I hope we kick the phooey out of them!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to VolJunkie:

mocs,

You will like this link, from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.c...

Go Vols (and Mocs, and Bucs)!

I love it!!!
Go Mocs!

NC- Mocs vs. Vols
' could happen!?

titansforever writes:

The Vols can win against any team in the country. They must play team ball and not play for the MVP. The selfish play was so obvious against Miss St. It is hard for young men that plan to play in the NBA to be selfless. They know if they play together they will win. They have done so all year when their back was against the wall. They are in this position again. The question now becomes: After they win, will they stay humble or get the big head and lose the next one? Hopefully, they have learned from this last game.

Fryinpansvols writes:

If the Vols come out loose, run up and down the floor in transition, contest shots on the defensive end, inbound the ball well, stay out of foul trouble, hit free throws and have fun they will win. LOL! Other words play like you did against Alabama and Auburn in the SEC tourney! Go Vols beat Okie State!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

Glad you are expecting a great game. Memphis is not.
I know, time for the vol fans to start saying how the vols have to play tougher teams and Memphis gets the easy teams. You guys just don't get it. You see, that's the the object of the thing. Get a high seed so you don't have to play a good team. Never mind..vols will never get it. You're destined for mediocrity and sweet 16 and higher finishes.
I'm willing to bet you won't win a game this year.

Well it's good that you know what we're thinking before we do? Oh and I'll take that bet since we already have won games THIS year(before you waste a response I know you meant this year's NCAA tourney). By the way Memphis will be 2 and done. Not bad, but still not as good as you think. "Show Me"!! Another Tiger team cannibalizes Memphis!!!!

Volumnus writes:

"He at least sounded hopeful."

Give the boy an "A" for optimism! I like Coach Pearl, I am grateful for what he has done for the program, but I just am not that hopeful with this team. This team is capable of a great game, but they can't string 3 or 4 good games in a row together. I want them to be successful, but I am less optimistic than the coach.

volball7222 writes:

I think the ETSU vs Pitt will be an entertaining game. Don't be surprised if ETSU makes it close...they are very fast and athletic. It would be fun to see Both UT and ETSU win....and in the womens tournament the very same thing can happen. What if both play each other in the second round? Wow...

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

UT has the POTENTIAL to beat anyone in the bracket. If JP continues to make 7 or 8 turnovers, its all over. He has so much potential. If he and Tyler play their game, we run over OSU and will beat Pitt. Neither game will be close. I think we win or lose both by at least 10.

cobbwebb writes:

in response to chuck0303#1342365:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

chuck- i agree with your comment, however, i would like to take it a step farther! bruce pearl has done a great job with this program! we need to look at the big picture, this program has made tremendous strides under coach pearl! we may have some down time under coach pearl, but i believe we will enjoy many more ups! this is a coach whom has won almost 100 games in 4 yrs at TENNESSEE, and a lot of those wins have come against top notch competition! be proud to be a vol bball fan, i am!
GO VOLS! beat okie st.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to TCHDWN10C:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True. But it only helps to play the killer schedule if you win some of those games. Losing to LSU, Auburn, Alabama, and Memphis, all in the last minute, cost us a big slice of seeding in the NCAA's. Think about it: we won all those types of games last year. If [like last year] we win those plus the Gonzaga OT and the SEC CG, we are 27-6 with an RPI in the Top 10 and a 2 or 3 seed to go with it. I think we need to play those marquis games but unfortunately, we just couldn't win the close ones this year. If all our juniors return, plus West at the point, look out for next year!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

Glad you are expecting a great game. Memphis is not.
I know, time for the vol fans to start saying how the vols have to play tougher teams and Memphis gets the easy teams. You guys just don't get it. You see, that's the the object of the thing. Get a high seed so you don't have to play a good team. Never mind..vols will never get it. You're destined for mediocrity and sweet 16 and higher finishes.
I'm willing to bet you won't win a game this year.

If Cal is the coach you think he is then he won't be overlooking any team at this point.

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