Vols get back to business for Oklahoma State

Scouting report targets Cowboys' 4-guard offense

The Tennessee men's basketball team was all business Tuesday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena.

There wasn't much yelling, and there was no horseplay.

Just sneakers squeaking and coach Bruce Pearl teaching.

"We're already back up because it's a new season,'' junior forward Tyler Smith said. "It's the tournament, and it's time to stay focused.''

Pearl said the ninth-seeded Vols (21-12) have a lot to learn about their first-round NCAA tournament opponent, eighth-seeded Oklahoma State (22-11), in a short amount of time. Friday's game in Dayton, Ohio, tips off at 12:25 p.m. (TV: WVLT).

"This is a tough scout,'' Pearl said. "They do a lot of good stuff, and they have counters to everything they do.''

Junior Wayne Chism said the pain from last Sunday's 64-61 loss to Mississippi State in the SEC tournament championship game is gone.

"I couldn't sleep on that plane ride home because we just wanted to win it so much, and I think that led to us trying too hard,'' Chism said. "But once I got home, I could look ahead.

"We saw Oklahoma State and Pitt in our bracket, and we knew it was time to get ready to play some ball.''

Pearl tutored the Vols on the intricacies of the Cowboys' four-guard offense, noting Oklahoma State's toughness and athleticism.

"In (Terrel) Harris and (James) Anderson, you have two guys like Tyler (Smith) and J.P. (Prince) who are great athletes and great shooters,'' Pearl said. "(Byron) Eaton at point guard is an extremely tough cover one-on-one.''

So tough that what worked for the Vols against SEC star guards Devan Downey (South Carolina) and Nick Calathes (Florida) might not apply.

"We've been in situations with a guy like Calathes where we could switch (defenders),'' said Pearl, who had posts Brian Williams or Chism switch out at times. "I don't think you can switch on Byron Eaton.''

Eaton, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior, averages 14.1 points and 5.5 assists per game. A hard-nosed competitor, Eaton is clearly the Cowboys' emotional leader.

"He's much more mature, and he's really running that team,'' said UT point guard Bobby Maze, who played against Eaton before transferring out of Oklahoma. "They depend on him much more now than then.

"He's their go-to guy and he's definitely a better all-around player than when I played against him.''

Smith said he's just eager to get back on the floor and compete again.

"We don't feel anything about that (Sunday) loss because it's time to play,'' Smith said. "We're not worried about seed or who we're matching up with or might match up with. We're just focusing on ourselves and trying to get better.''

Pearl cut Tuesday's practice shorter than normal because the Vols have had just one off day since playing three games in three days in Tampa, Fla.

"(Lady Vols) Coach (Pat) Summitt always talks about keeping them fresh and furious,'' Pearl said, "so that's what today was about.''

The Vols will bus to Dayton this morning and practice at Wright State this afternoon.

Pearl in Ohio: Tennessee is 5-3 in the NCAA tournament under Pearl.

Pearl is 4-0 all-time in NCAA tournament games in Ohio: 2-0 in Cleveland (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and 2-0 in Columbus (Tennessee).

Cowboys Return: Oklahoma State is making its first NCAA tournament appearance since the 2004-05 season when the Cowboys advanced to the Sweet 16.

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Comments » 42

bluetick writes:

Going to be a good game. Too bad it is at a time most people are working or in class. Grrrrrrr!

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to supersmo18:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And ETSU Bucs.

UTandETSUfan writes:

Go Vols! Yall can do it, and I'm so happy that i don't have friday classes!

Bluetick, CBSsports puts all the games online, and most campuses (if your in school) have wifi that you can watch it on your laptop, and if work, there is the ever useful "boss button"

therewillbeorange writes:

Coach 'em up BP!

givehim6 writes:

I fill good about playing Oky. st., because the vols usually play good after a loss. But Pitt. not sure.

bmaples writes:

My prediction from earlier, and I'm sticking to it:

Tennessee beats OKST by 10-15.
Tennessee beats Pitt by 5 or less, possibly in OT.
Tennessee advances to Sweet 16.

Bruce in Louisville

Layla_Kiffin_is_hott writes:

Out of the four teams pearl has put on the flour this is my favorite one. None of the other teams have grown and developed as much as this team from begining to now. No matter what happens I'm proud to have been part of this team and am excited to see the future. Go Vols! By the way if we beat Ok state we WILL beat Pitt...

mike#208050 writes:

in response to bmaples:

My prediction from earlier, and I'm sticking to it:

Tennessee beats OKST by 10-15.
Tennessee beats Pitt by 5 or less, possibly in OT.
Tennessee advances to Sweet 16.

Bruce in Louisville

Tenn by 2 over OK St.
Pitt mauls vols. (no disrespect, Pitt is that good)
UT has Bruce for a few more years.
Louisville plays in final four and loses to Memphis, Karma boys.

Pitno vs. Calipari = one great game!

TIGRFAN in knoxville

Alwaysavol writes:

"In (Terrel) Harris and (James) Anderson, you have two guys like Tyler (Smith) and J.P. (Prince) who are great athletes and great shooters,'' Pearl said."

I've heard and read a lot of opinions on J.P.'s game, but even on his best days I never thought of putting "J.P. Prince" and "great shooters" in the same sentence. I think Bruce must be trying to stroke J.P.'s ego.

BigOrangeVol writes:

The line has UT as a 2-point favorite.

Volumnus writes:

in response to BigOrangeVol:

The line has UT as a 2-point favorite.

The line is set by the odds makers to pull in the most money. I would not gamble on this team if I still gambled, too inconsistent. That being said, I hope they do well.

WJ writes:

We can beat anyone in the country if we play the way we are capable, but unfortunatly it seems that we can only play at this level for short periods of time. Hopefully we will put together a stretch of great play in the BIG DANCE!

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

skip this if you've read it before;

Tyler passes and does not shoot, we win. Tyler shoots, we lose.

Thing is, Tyler still socres points if he passes first. He rebounds, he gets steals, he gets layups, and he gest free throws.

When Tyler drives and throws up junk, we might as well pack up and go home.

As for wayne and 3's: if he sets up, he's good; if he is still moving, he misses.

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to bmaples:

My prediction from earlier, and I'm sticking to it:

Tennessee beats OKST by 10-15.
Tennessee beats Pitt by 5 or less, possibly in OT.
Tennessee advances to Sweet 16.

Bruce in Louisville

I'll just have to agree with you on zthat!

Halls3 writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sad thing is they beat UT twice like a drum.

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to ButchIsBack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Neither did you...ButchisBitter

abnerPeabody writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ajbake writes:

"In (Terrel) Harris and (James) Anderson, you have two guys like Tyler (Smith) and J.P. (Prince) who are great athletes and great shooters,'' Pearl said.

Tyler and JP are good shooters? I'm not a hater, but I disagree with that. Go Vols.

MBEACHVOL writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

skip this if you've read it before;

Tyler passes and does not shoot, we win. Tyler shoots, we lose.

Thing is, Tyler still socres points if he passes first. He rebounds, he gets steals, he gets layups, and he gest free throws.

When Tyler drives and throws up junk, we might as well pack up and go home.

As for wayne and 3's: if he sets up, he's good; if he is still moving, he misses.

I agree, when Tyler tries to score he winds up 2-12, 1-11 etc. When he lets the game come to him we usually win by double digits and he ends up scoring more than when he is motoring down the lane with 3 men hanging on him throwing it somewhere toward the rim.

Ironcity writes:

in response to ajbake:

"In (Terrel) Harris and (James) Anderson, you have two guys like Tyler (Smith) and J.P. (Prince) who are great athletes and great shooters,'' Pearl said.

Tyler and JP are good shooters? I'm not a hater, but I disagree with that. Go Vols.

I had to read that one a couple of times. Neither Tyler or JP are great athletes either. They are however really good basketball players.

Vol_In_Ohio writes:

Any guesses what session one tickets are going to go for on the street on Friday?

They look a little high online right now (face value and way up from there). Session two has OSU and Louisville in it so I know there is demand for those. I don't think people near Dayton care about the four teams in the early session.

Just trying to sneak in for as little as possible so I can make some noise for our inconsistent Vols!

Vol_In_Ohio writes:

in response to ajbake:

"In (Terrel) Harris and (James) Anderson, you have two guys like Tyler (Smith) and J.P. (Prince) who are great athletes and great shooters,'' Pearl said.

Tyler and JP are good shooters? I'm not a hater, but I disagree with that. Go Vols.

I think Bruce meant great athletes like Tyler and JP but also great shooters as well (unlike Tyler and JP).

I think most of us can agree with that. I had to read it twice myself.

wagee12 writes:

Layla_Kiffin_is_hott writes:
Out of the four teams pearl has put on the flour this is my favorite one. None of the other teams have grown and developed as much as this team from begining to now. No matter what happens I'm proud to have been part of this team and am excited to see the future. Go Vols! By the way if we beat Ok state we WILL beat Pitt...

Gotta agree with this post. Last year's record breaking team was fun to watch, but these guys, well, they keep you glued to your seat for better or for worse. Bruce Pearl has been a true blessing for UT!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

The problem is not Tyler nor JP shooting . It's their spur of the moment decison making. You can't drive a filled lane and expect a foul call everytime! Like Maze they need to decide earlier what to do with the ball. Either take or pass it back out if there are 2 or 3 defenders. If you leave your feet or stop dribbling too earlier there's no option usually but to shoot.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Vol_In_Ohio:

I think Bruce meant great athletes like Tyler and JP but also great shooters as well (unlike Tyler and JP).

I think most of us can agree with that. I had to read it twice myself.

One on one Tyler and JP can be great shooters. But it's hard to shoot with 2 or 3 players' hands in your face!
They should not force the ball inside. Still great shooters doesn't describe either so far this year. Great dunkers maybe.

topgun writes:

This will not be a 2 point spread game. The winner will win by about 10 points in a relatively high scoring game of 150-155 total points. IF the correct UT team shows up--knocks down some threes and 65% of the free throws, AND keeps OSU honest on their threes with a tough, mano v mano, D--UT wins 80-70.

But, if OSU gets hot with the threes and dribble drives, it will be a long night for the VOLs and we lose by 12. Go VOLs!! We have got to beat these guys!!!

Bigger_Al writes:

Believe in Bruce!

VolWoman writes:

Why did they have to ride a bus?? That's not like going to Vandy.

diggerland17#448133 writes:

I am as fustrated with this basketball team as Ive ever been with any team @ UT (including the Jerry Green era). We have talent but it seems that we , for whatever reason, just dont have the FOCUS it takes to win big games. For the past 3 years I could not wait to print off a bracket so I could place the VOLS in the ELITE 8 or Final 4. Two years ago I had the VOLS cutting down the nets. This year is a different story with PITT looming large if were to get past a very good Okie St team. For some odd reason I think this could be our year to make noise in the tourny bc no one is expecting us to do anything. No expectations- very good coach could = best NCAA tournment in our history!GO VOLUNTEERS! LETS SHOCK THE WORLD!

VolJunkie writes:

in response to VolWoman:

Why did they have to ride a bus?? That's not like going to Vandy.

Less expensive and beats the hell out of packing a plane and going through all that nonsense at the airport. These days if I can reasonably drive somewhere instead of fly, I'll take the open highway ...

Go Vols!

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to Formerly_Kiff_World_Order:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why does this team have to have "something to prove" to play with any intensity? I just don't get how you can't be up for a SEC championship game no matter who you are playing!!

VolJunkie writes:

in response to diggerland17#448133:

I am as fustrated with this basketball team as Ive ever been with any team @ UT (including the Jerry Green era). We have talent but it seems that we , for whatever reason, just dont have the FOCUS it takes to win big games. For the past 3 years I could not wait to print off a bracket so I could place the VOLS in the ELITE 8 or Final 4. Two years ago I had the VOLS cutting down the nets. This year is a different story with PITT looming large if were to get past a very good Okie St team. For some odd reason I think this could be our year to make noise in the tourny bc no one is expecting us to do anything. No expectations- very good coach could = best NCAA tournment in our history!GO VOLUNTEERS! LETS SHOCK THE WORLD!

I hear you but your "for the past 3 years" statement is telling. Prior to that you could print off a bracket and not find UT anywhere on it. CBP has spoiled us to the point where we are disappointed in a 9 seed. I'm not saying that just making the NCAA is enough nor should that be our final destination, but I think you have to appreciate the road this program has traveled to get to this point.

Go Vols!

Ironcity writes:

in response to jakethevolguy:

Why does this team have to have "something to prove" to play with any intensity? I just don't get how you can't be up for a SEC championship game no matter who you are playing!!

Who says we weren't up for the championship game? We were and we played hard but not good. Bottom line is this team is NOT as talented nor as smart as the teams of the past. We don't have anyone that is even 1/2 as talented as Chris Lofton. We don't have a player that can consistently make a play when the shot clock heads to zero.
We don't have a defensive stopper like JuJuan.

Its not to say someone won't step up now and then or that someone might step up in future years. Some have called it a lack pf leadership, I think its that IT factor that some guys have and others don't. Unfortunately for UT we don't have anyone with IT.

Lofton had always been a big play guy, last year JuJuan became a big play guy. Bradshaw made big plays when he was a Junior and a Senior. We all thought Tyler would be that guy but his game is built to support others, not to take control. The only two that might be big play guys are Maze and Chism.

I get the feeling Chism wants it to bad and that clouds his judgment at crunch time. As for Maze. I am just not sure he is good enough top be the man.

Ironcity writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Voice you need to give examples. I watch our games and they pass the ball 10 times every possession. Who are these selfish guys you mention on the court. Who are the guys that whine all the time? Its funny every time we win, everyone talks about all effort and the great attitude we have. Every time we loose, our fan base screams and yells and pouts. In fact "Voice of Reason" your comment really describes the UT fan base much more so then the team.

Short of a perfect record, I don't think 1/2 the people on this board will ever be satisfied.

HallowedHill writes:

Don't forget to practice free-throws.

Ironcity writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

In my day I use to watch them practice a lot. That is a great way to tell whats going on.

I haven't seen anything on the court or around the bench that suggest anything more then immaturity.

It bothers me when I see everyone laughing it up 6 minutes into a game because we are off on a hot start or someone just made three straight threes.

I think a lot of these players don't understand or value winning until they lose. I think its why you see senior lead teams like LSU having success in crunch time and teams like UT, UF and KY all teams with tremendous talent struggle with a bunch of underclassmen at crunch time.

I think it also makes one realize the value of a player like C Lo who just hated to lose and never let the emotion of the moment get the best of him. He just made everyone around him better. People outside the program saw that but as a fan of the team I never realized how much he meant to the players around him until I watch this team. Right now no one on our team makes anyone around him better except for maybe Brian Williams.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

skip this if you've read it before;

Tyler passes and does not shoot, we win. Tyler shoots, we lose.

Thing is, Tyler still socres points if he passes first. He rebounds, he gets steals, he gets layups, and he gest free throws.

When Tyler drives and throws up junk, we might as well pack up and go home.

As for wayne and 3's: if he sets up, he's good; if he is still moving, he misses.

agree with you. add this to Chism - when he sets up he hits the 3's well, when he SLINGS them like last week, he always misses.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to Formerly_Kiff_World_Order:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree with most of what you said. UT can beat both teams but if the refs don't call some fouls, we don't get Blain in foul trouble and the 7'3" will kill us.

If the refs call it tight, we can beat Pitt by 5-10 if we play well.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

sorry, I meant Blair

mocsandvolsfan writes:

If we work on defense we stand a chance to go far. Defense always opens up offense for a running team.
If we pass and screen we'll do better on offense at half court...but hopefully we'll be in transition and that won't matter much.

UT88 OKSU 75

johnlg00 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

I agree with most of what you said. UT can beat both teams but if the refs don't call some fouls, we don't get Blain in foul trouble and the 7'3" will kill us.

If the refs call it tight, we can beat Pitt by 5-10 if we play well.

What is this "7'3"" of which you speak? Pitt certainly doesn't have anyone that size. You must be thinking of Hasheem Thabeet of UConn. Pitt is the #1 seed in our regional and, like many on here, I give us a fair chance against them IF we get by OSU first. However, if we play Pitt and they get Big East refs, we could be in real trouble; Pitt will beat us by a pin/knockout in the wrestling/boxing match that will ensue.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to Formerly_Kiff_World_Order:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

too much whinning about seeding----seeding only matters to teams that know they arent going all the way and just want to see how far they advance---if your intent is to be the last team standing makes no diff if you are a 1 or a 16--you have to win all your games------having to beat a 1 on the second round is no different than having to beat them in round 5------if the #1 is no longer in the mix when round 5 comes then they werent really a legit 1 anyway---quit complainin about seeding and just win games regardless of the seeding strength order you play

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