Vols know beating Kentucky still at center of successful season

Chance for greatness

Tennessee has been ranked in the Top 25 all season, logged a fifth-straight 20-win season and scored its first Thompson-Boling Arena win over a No. 1-ranked team (Kansas).

UT coach Bruce Pearl concedes it has been a pretty good season.

"But seasons are judged based on how you do against Kentucky,'' Pearl said Friday. "We could have a good year without beating Kentucky, but we can't have a great year without beating Kentucky.''

The No. 2-ranked Wildcats (27-1, 11-1 SEC) tip off against the 19th-ranked Vols (20-7, 8-5) at noon today (TV: WVLT) in Thompson-Boling Arena.

"Your friends, your family, everyone will be watching when it's on CBS; you don't even have to have cable,'' UT senior J.P. Prince said. "When the lights are on you want to put on a show, and we've done good in the big games because we all like the big stage.''

The Vols were making the most of an ESPN GameDay build-up in Rupp Arena when the teams met two weeks ago, holding a 52-50 lead over Kentucky with 10 minutes left to play.

"I think we played about as good as we could those first 30 minutes, being on the road,'' Pearl said. "A lot of what happens this time depends on how elevated we can play, and what our crowd does for us.''

The game is not only sold out, but Vols fans also are staging an "Orange Out," with many clad in OutLive T-shirts sold to benefit the UT Medical Center Cancer Institute.

Kentucky coach John Calipari likely won't appreciate the environment.

At SEC Media Days in Birmingham in October, Calipari said to a crowded room of media "I can't stand the color'' orange.

But the Wildcats, who arrived for Friday's shoot-around wearing Marine-style camouflage hats - Calipari included - have other concerns.

Kentucky is playing to clinch a share of the SEC regular-season title, and with a win over UT it would take another step toward clinching a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

"This won't be for the faint of heart,'' Calipari told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Friday afternoon. "No boys in this game.''

Kentucky is the tallest team in college basketball with an average height of 6-foot-7, and Wildcats front line players DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton rank as the most talented, according to Pearl.

Prince said that front line sets the Wildcats apart, moreso than their celebrated backcourt of freshmen John Wall and Eric Bledsoe.

"Their guards get all the TV highlights and the publicity, but their bigs win the games for them,'' Prince said. "They (guards) don't have to worry about rebounding, so they can get out and start the (fast) break.

"Cousins and Patterson do the dirty work. The reason (Wall) can drive through the lane is because you can't leave Cousins or Patterson.''

The Vols tried to combat that in Lexington by playing a lot of zone defense, the better to provide help defense.

Calipari said after the Wildcats' 73-62 win that he was caught off-guard by Pearl's defensive tactics, and he wouldn't be surprised to see the Vols try something different today.

"He (Pearl) may try to come up with some funky defense,'' Calipari said.

Pearl's response?

"I don't know how funky it will be,'' he said. "We'll try to play some zone again.''

UT senior post Wayne Chism went through walk-through drills Friday and has been cleared to play after re-injuring his hip in Tuesday's loss at Florida.

"I've worked my butt off to get back in time for this game,'' said Chism, who suffered the original hip injury when Wall undercut him at the end of the first half in Kentucky. "I'll take whatever medicine I need for the pain to play.

"This is going to be a great game.''

By Pearl's logic, it will have to be for the Vols to qualify this as a great season.

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Comments » 71

fpcoach writes:

I'll be watching....cheering for the VOLS...GBO

dvols writes:

kentucky doesn't have a prayer..........

TheDudeAbides writes:

This game must always be treated as 'the game' by the players/coaching staff. It Is.

Volfan1 writes:

"Chism, who suffered the original hip injury when Wall undercut him at the end of the first half in Kentucky."
That is EXACTLY right. He UNDERCUT Chism.
One call does not make a game, but it sure didn't help....Loss of points, loss of momentum, plus another foul and injury to our most important player.
Go Vols.

schymtz writes:

TENNESSEE MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM
FAILS AGAIN TO MAKE TOP TEN
From The Beacher Report
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/35...

Once More, the Tennessee Men's basketball team has failed miserably to meet the expectations of Hyper-Hybrid fans and interlopers at GVX. Unable the be the Best #1 team ever-ever all time, The Tennessee Volunteers - including walk-ons, can't even crack the top ten most disappointing teams of the season and may even be compelled to demonstrate failures in March Madness! How many of these teams would not only beat but also humiliate the Vols? Tennessee can't even figure out how to lose! Disappointed detractors such as bigorangekoolaid, VolDog25, TaterVol, & VOLDoll registered their dismay by starting a petition to oust Coach Pearl for failure to make the top ten most disappointing teams for a fifth straight year. "Tennessee can't even claim to be the worst disappointments in the SEC," tearfully stated a broken-hearted anonymous poster on GVX. "Once more, we have finished BEHIND Arkansas and LSU."

No. 1: North Carolina (14-14, 3-10 in ACC)
No. 2: Michigan (13-14, 6-9 in Big Ten)
No. 3: Connecticut (17-11, 7-8 in Big East)
No. 4: Notre Dame (18-10, 7-8 in Big East)
No. 5: UCLA (12-14, 7-7 in Pac-10)
No. 6: Arkansas (14-14, 7-6 in SEC)
No. 7: Oklahoma (13-14, 4-9 in Big 12)
No. 8: Oregon (12-14, 4-10 in Pac-10)
No. 9: LSU (10-17, 1-12 in SEC)
No. 10: Houston (14-13, 6-7 in Conf. USA)

LEXKYVOLS writes:

If we hit 10 or more 3's we win. If not we lose.

IPUTONFORTN writes:

We will win. I have a great feeling about this game!

stevefrommemphis writes:

Kentucky basketball: a tradition of winning built on a foundation of corruption by Adolph CorRUPPt.

Things they don't teach in Kentucky government schools....
(1) Only school to receive the NCAA death penalty for basketball. http://hoopedia.nba.com/index.php?tit...

(2) Kentucky's Shame: 1989 SI Cover http://hoopedia.nba.com/index.php?tit...

vols1987 writes:

in response to LEXKYVOLS:

If we hit 10 or more 3's we win. If not we lose.

silly comment. will just need to play well, have the crowd behind them, and we'll be fine.

Volumnus writes:

Which Vol team will show up??? The super Jekylls or the "you run away and we'll hide"s... I hope the Jekylls will show up, I hope they will hang in there and play hard and hit their layups and free throws. If they hit the layups and free throws then they don't have to shoot the threes. You shoot 3 pointers against KY and miss, you don't get the 2nd shot because they get the rebound.

GBO!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

Let's get ready to ruuuummblllle!!!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UT 70
UK 68

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

didn't seem like that long ago that our best prognosis was to lose by 40 on our home court.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to TheDudeAbides:

This game must always be treated as 'the game' by the players/coaching staff. It Is.

Yup...

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to Volfan1:

"Chism, who suffered the original hip injury when Wall undercut him at the end of the first half in Kentucky."
That is EXACTLY right. He UNDERCUT Chism.
One call does not make a game, but it sure didn't help....Loss of points, loss of momentum, plus another foul and injury to our most important player.
Go Vols.

Chism's the MAN!!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

I think the key honestly is not to panic if we get down and start reverting to throwing up a plethora of 3-pointers.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to TaterVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

sad... why? cuz he didn't break the law? Iowa is a "one-party-consent" state, i.e. you can record your own conversations without the other party's consent... read up on the law (if you can read at all)

IPUTONFORTN writes:

I really hope Steven Pearl doesn't play much tomorrow. Otherwise, we will have a very difficult time winning the game. Not to be negative, but that's just the truth.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to IPUTONFORTN:

I really hope Steven Pearl doesn't play much tomorrow. Otherwise, we will have a very difficult time winning the game. Not to be negative, but that's just the truth.

Respectfully disagree. Steven Pearl steals us minutes and has done a damn fine job of that all year. I only wish we got the hustle from everyone else that he puts out.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

I think the key is to stop this "rotation nation" of the bench and keep the best players on the floor as long as possible...and give Chism some help guys! I think you can win!!!
VOLS.....TCB.....KOKO......GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to kyvol98:

Respectfully disagree. Steven Pearl steals us minutes and has done a damn fine job of that all year. I only wish we got the hustle from everyone else that he puts out.

I respectfully agree with you. He has done a great job for us all year but there have been a few times I think another player should be getting some of those minutes as they continue to grow. But you are right. He is a valuable asset to this team and most of them do need his hustle and heart for "sho"!!!!

Fryinpansvols writes:

A couple of things: First we have to play with hustle and heart for 40 minutes. Not 20 minutes that we play with most games such as Florida in the first half Tuesday night. Or even 30 minutes that we played with in Rupp two weeks ago. We have to play for the entire game. Second, Pearl will have a game plan dialed up to win. We ran zone defense and it worked in the first 30 minutes of the previous Kentucky game but then UK starting hitting outside shots with Bledsoe. Expect some man to start out then the switch to zone. Third, make the most of trips at the charity stripe. We have to hit our free throws. Kentucky shoots nearly as bad as UT at the Free Throw line, but we have to hit them. Interesting stat the other night by Jimmy Dykes. He said Tennessee leaves 6 to 7 points out there every night by missed free throws so we have to take advantage of the home court advantage and hit our free throws. Lastly, we need our 6th man in such a big way. This is the biggest home game of the year for us so our crowd with the Orange-Out needs to be jacked up and be as loud as you can. Beat Kentucky and GBO!

richvol writes:

Hamilton should insist to Slive that we get to shoot 43 free throws like our opponets do every time we get jobbed by the idiots officiating. Even if we make only half we at least get them in foul trouble...it's only fair.

In all seriousness,we have to get Cousins in foul trouble or we are in trouble. We also have to hit some threes and Prince has to play like he is a SMART senior...not a bonehead.

VolInIndy writes:

We need to get in Cousins' head like we did at coRUPPt. The boy has serious immaturity/emotional issues.

DebKY writes:

Tennessee doesn't stand a chance if Little Pearl plays extended minutes! When he is playing, its like having only 4 players on the floor, and he is pathetic on offense! If you have noticed, the opposing team doesn't even bother to guard him!
Kentucky's #1 VOL FAN

vol_4_fan writes:

in response to kyvol98:

Respectfully disagree. Steven Pearl steals us minutes and has done a damn fine job of that all year. I only wish we got the hustle from everyone else that he puts out.

Well put. SP plays with heart and passion, we need that from all of the players. Go Vols

kurofmi writes:

coRuppt Arena? LOL. How can a drug peddlin, pistol-packin, rape perpetratin team call ANyone else coRuppt? LOL. My only interest is if your columnists write that 'The Cats won' or 'The Vols lost'? Oh well, spring practice in 6 weeks, right? LOL.

littlec195360#215853 writes:

Attack!

LEXKYVOLS writes:

in response to vols1987:

silly comment. will just need to play well, have the crowd behind them, and we'll be fine.

"Play well" have you been hiding under a rock all season? In order for us to win, we have to play great, almost perfect.

The teams we had the most problems with this year - teams who are big in the paint, and UK is one of the biggest if not the biggest.

In order for us to win, we have to hit outside shots - if not we score 50 points at the most and Wall, Paterson and Cousins will have this between them. Again, 10 is the number. Not saying we win if we hit 10 but if we do not hit 10 3's we will lose.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

I think the key honestly is not to panic if we get down and start reverting to throwing up a plethora of 3-pointers.

Now THAT is a wise observation! As a military man, you are no doubt aware that the greatest casualties in a battle occur when an aggressive force pursues a demoralized, retreating one. If we don't panic at the first set-back, which seemed to be the case in the second half at Rupp, we will still have a chance to win even if we get behind a little bit.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to IPUTONFORTN:

I really hope Steven Pearl doesn't play much tomorrow. Otherwise, we will have a very difficult time winning the game. Not to be negative, but that's just the truth.

If Hall and Williams would play the way they are capable of playing, Steve won't HAVE to play the kind of minutes he is playing. Steve's minutes are the DIRECT result of no one else consistently playing his position better. Don't blame Steve for at least TRYING to step up when other no doubt more talented players are cowering. I agree that our chances of winning will go down if Steve plays major minutes because that will mean that Hall and Williams have ONCE AGAIN failed to step up when we really needed them.

N2Motorsports writes:

TATERVOL, couldn't think of a rebuttle for schymtz post???

wildcatbasketball writes:

Good Luck Vol Fans!!! This should be a great game today...ENJOY!!!

dlobh writes:

in response to vol_4_fan:

Well put. SP plays with heart and passion, we need that from all of the players. Go Vols

Bruce's boy may play with the most passion of anyone on the team, no doubt. However, if he gets stuck on the low block guarding Cousins, Patterson, or Orton, he will get scored upon with ease like he was on back to back trips down the court in the 2nd half against the Gators. We will need great games from our real bigs, Chism, Williams, and Hall.

SEC__Headgear writes:

in response to DebKY:

Tennessee doesn't stand a chance if Little Pearl plays extended minutes! When he is playing, its like having only 4 players on the floor, and he is pathetic on offense! If you have noticed, the opposing team doesn't even bother to guard him!
Kentucky's #1 VOL FAN

Steven Pearl played an integral role in the wins in early January. He continues to hold down minutes as a role player which should include more shooting, espectially since the opposition believes that he will never take a shot. We need him in the paint today to get to the foul line. Also his size and dispensability would be well spent on roughing up thier bigs.

mlynn1 writes:

in response to N2Motorsports:

TATERVOL, couldn't think of a rebuttle for schymtz post???

That's his MO, hem him up and he dissapears!

Down_The_Field writes:

GO BIG ORANGE!!!

this would be a nice birthday present.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

AARRRGGGHHH! Why, why must I live in the mid-Atlantic and watch stupid G-town!!! At least BO isn't calling the game.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

I HATE living in the mid-Atlantic!!!

schymtz writes:

The day WILL come when Kentucky will have to acknowledge that THEY cannot have a successful season until they beat the VOLS! TENNESSEE is already successful this year! GO VOLS! BEAT Kentucky!!!!!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

okay, thank you, cbs sportsline! not High-Def, but it'll do.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

here we go again, Vols get hammered trying to get a board, no foul.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

here we go again, Vols get hammered trying to get a board, no foul.

They are hustling and drawing some fouls! Would like the game to be over now since we are ahead!.BTW....tell me you are not already drinking yet????? GBO!!!!!!!!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

WHERE DID THESE GUYS COME FROM!! YAHOOOOOO!!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

They are hustling and drawing some fouls! Would like the game to be over now since we are ahead!.BTW....tell me you are not already drinking yet????? GBO!!!!!!!!

No, I'm perfectly sober... I was away at a conference, unsupervised, which is the only reason I drank... back home w/the fam, now.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

18-4!!! What is going on here!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

No, I'm perfectly sober... I was away at a conference, unsupervised, which is the only reason I drank... back home w/the fam, now.

Thats good to know! I'm sure they are glad to have you back! We need to go up by 40 because I know eventually, KY shots will start to fall. Just hope and pray they keep this up for the full 40 minutes! We CAN beat KY if they do that!!
Crowd is pumped. I'm loving this game right now!

schymtz writes:

GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO!

schymtz writes:

"He (Pearl) may try to come up with some funky defense," Calipari said.
GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO!
'Now start the 2nd half like down 10 and keep up the good work for another 20 mins!!!
GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO! GO! GO! GBO!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

How is TN up by 11 at the break w/SP playing? LOL.

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