KNOXVILLE — The buzzer at the end of Tennessee's 76-68 victory over Kansas on Sunday was heard across the country, in the sports bars in Kansas, in coaches' cluttered offices, around news media sports desks and in every hoops message forum on the Internet.
The out-manned squad in Knoxville that wasn't supposed to win had just outplayed mighty Kansas before a national television audience, toppling it from the undefeated column. They did it with a walk-on who was a Disney-like improbable hero and the L.A. rapper "Swiperboy" that racked up, among others.
Ever the promoter of his Tennessee program, even coach Bruce Pearl would have had trouble coming up with this script of victory.
The Kansas team spent 45 minutes in the dressing room sorting out just what had happened. But sports writers and bloggers found multiple story lines. Here's a look at the coverage:
Even by Pearl's standards, this was a pretty good win | David Climer, The Tennessean: Maybe we should've seen it coming. Upon further review, this was right up Bruce Pearl's comfort zone. He specializes in lost causes. In five seasons, he has resurrected Tennessee basketball by sheer will and by getting his team to overachieve. But even by Pearl's against-all-odds standards, this was a doozy. From a sheer goose-bump factor, UT's 76-68 conquest of Kansas on Sunday was in a league of its own.
Five thoughts on Vols' upset of KU - Luke Winn - SI.com: Can the Vols sustain this level of post-scandal energy? In the short-term, teams tend to rally around the loss of a key player, and Tennessee certainly did that on Sunday, receiving a number of huge, unexpected performances from bit players. Senior point guard Bobby Maze had by far his best game of the season, dishing out eight assists against just two turnovers, and scoring 16 points. Sophomore forward Renaldo Woolridge, who'd previously been better-known as a rapper -- check out his Tip Off (College Game Time) YouTube -- jumped into the starting lineup in Smith's place and shot 4-of-6 from long range for a season-high 14 points. And freshman shooting guard Skylar McBee, a walk-on, delivered the dagger three-pointer in the final minute to become an improbable hero. The Vols will likely be ranked in the top 10 in Monday's polls, but can they stay there with a rotation that includes three walk-ons (McBee, Stephen Pearl and Josh Bone)?
Beleaguered Vols receive big lift from unexpected source - NCAA Division I Mens Basketball - CBSSports.com: The first unofficial visit was to Chattanooga, Tenn., a Southern Conference school, and that made sense for Skylar McBee because he was, by most accounts, a Southern-Conference type of prospect. He could shoot it, sure. But he was kind of small, and not all that athletic. So the first visit was to Chattanooga, and the first question came from Chattanooga coach John Shulman. "He said, 'Skylar, if you could pick any school, where would you go?' " Skylar's mother, Sue McBee, recalled Sunday night, her smile still wide from an afternoon of basketball she never could've imagined where No. 16 Tennessee upset top-ranked Kansas 76-68 in Knoxville. "And I still remember Skylar looking at him and saying, 'Coach, if I could go anywhere I'd go to the University of Tennessee.' "
Rocky toppled: Vols stun KU | CJOnline.com: Bill Self was frustrated. That was obvious. He said that word a few times. It would seem obvious he was angry, and he may have been, but anger is a simple, reactionary emotion. This seemed more complex than that.
KU has work to do after road loss - KansasCity.com: Last year against Tennessee, Aldrich went 10 for 14 from the floor. Where is that offense these days?
Instant analysis: Tennessee 76, Kansas 68 - College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN: But thanks to key contributions from walk-ons and just plain outhustling the disjointed Jayhawks, the Volunteers somehow patched enough together to score one of the season's big upsets.
A hard slap of reality for Kansas - College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN: A week ago Saturday, Bill Self sat at the breakfast table at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott, wondering what Tennessee roster he'd face the next week. Four Vols had just been arrested a day earlier and were sitting in jail, their fate as basketball players still a long way from being decided. Self glanced at the Tennessee stats and saw that the players in question -- Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins -- were all substantial contributors. Selfishly, Self said he wished Tennessee would have its full complement of players, looking for as many bonus points that his Kansas team could score for a tough game on the road. But the KU coach also was well aware of another thing: There's nothing more dangerous than a team with a home crowd and adversity to rally around.
Tennessee Volunteers upset Kansas Jayhawks, 76-68, to send ripples through NCAA | New York Daily News: Maybe Kansas isn't the lock we thought to win the NCAA Tournament. The top-ranked Jayhawks, who struggled to get past Ivy favorite Cornell at home on Wednesday, slipped and fell against Tennessee Sunday. They hardly looked like the best team in the country.
Jayhawks suffer first loss of year | KUsports.com: A national media member, who hadn't seen Bill Self in a while, innocuously asked Kansas University's coach how he was doing Sunday night in Thompson-Boling Arena. "Awful. Awful. We were awful," Self said after the top-ranked Jayhawks' 76-68 loss to a somewhat-depleted No. 16-ranked Tennessee team that played three walk-ons a total of 45 minutes.
Kansas' big men didn't play big | KUsports.com: KU's guards didn't play nearly as well as Tennessee's band, but to pin it all on them would be to grant an undeserved pass to the big, talented, passive post players.
Hard Knox: No. 1 Kansas falls to No. 16 Tennessee - KansasCity.com: During his postgame talk with the soon-to-be former No. 1 team in the country - a discussion that lasted an exorbitant 45 minutes after Kansas' 76-68 loss to Tennessee - KU coach Bill Self made sure to give his Jayhawks a dose of reality. "We weren't gonna run the table," Self told them.
Tennessee Upsets Top-Ranked Kansas With Six Scholarship Players -- Clay Travis, NCAABB FanHouse: With less than a minute to play and Tennessee nursing a three-point lead, freshman walk-on Skylar McBee found himself holding the basketball as the shot clock wound down. McBee, who with his floppy brown hair and shorts that appear to almost double as pants, looks like a ringer from a junior high team. He's not supposed to be in this position. Not supposed to be draped by a defender for the No. 1 team in the country with the ball in his hands just a few months removed from playing high school basketball in tiny Rutledge, Tenn. But he's on the court because Tennessee is down to just six scholarship players and there is no one else to put in the game. He pivots right, the crowd screams as one, aware that the shot clock is winding down but not sure McBee is aware of that fact. And then, comes the magic, the reason why we all watch college basketball.
Will Kansas loss move Kentucky to No. 2? | John Clay's Sidelines: With Kansas losing to a short-handed but highly-motivated Tennessee, 76-68, at Thompson-Boling today, will Kentucky move from No. 3 to No. 2 in Monday's AP poll? Texas will surely take over the top spot. Kentucky is the nation's only other unbeaten team.
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