Vandy at top of its game for visit to UT

Chism misses practice; Vols drop from No. 8 to 14 in poll

It might seem too early in the season to be using the phrase "must win.''

But as Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl likes to say, it is what it is.

The Vols' place in the SEC standings and NCAA tournament seeding will be greatly affected by this week's home games with Vanderbilt (7 p.m. Wednesday) and Florida (1 p.m. Sunday).

"You've got to win your games at home, and you've got to split on the road,'' Pearl said. "You can say it (must-win), I'm not going to use those words. I'd like to play better, shoot it better, space it better and execute better.''

Tennessee (15-3, 3-1 SEC) slipped to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll after its 78-63 loss at Georgia on Saturday.

But more significantly, the Vols dropped a game behind No. 1-ranked Kentucky (19-0, 4-0) and the 21st-ranked Commodores (15-3, 4-0) in the SEC East.

"This is the deepest, most-talented Vanderbilt team I've seen,'' said Pearl, who's 4-0 against the Commodores in Thompson-Boling Arena and 6-2 overall as UT's head coach. "Vanderbilt and Kentucky are playing the best basketball in the league right now.''

The Commodores are riding a nine-game win streak. The short-handed Vols, meanwhile, were dealt a dose of reality at Georgia.

UT senior center Wayne Chism suffered a sprained knee in the first half and was held out of Monday's practice.

"With (Chism) having a sprained knee, and not playing (Monday) and seeing what happens, it's a challenge,'' Pearl said. "He has been living with trainer Chad Newman.''

Chism was receiving electronic stimulus therapy while watching practice after experiencing some swelling in his knee. He's expected to be able to take part in today's walk-through.

Pearl said junior post Brian Williams remains suspended indefinitely as a result of his role in the well-documented Jan. 1 traffic stop that resulted in the dismissal of All-SEC forward Tyler Smith and the four-game suspensions served by Melvin Goins and Cameron Tatum.

OUTLIVE Social: Two-time national championship coach Billy Donovan of Florida will join Pearl for the OUTLIVE social fundraiser at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Marriott.

CBS' Gus Johnson and Greg Anthony also will attend the event, which will send its proceeds to the OUTLIVE initiative and UT Medical Center Cancer Institute.

Orange Slices: The Vols have not started an SEC season 4-0 since 1988-89. . . . UT allowed Georgia to shoot .563 from the field, a season-high by an opponent. . . . The Bulldogs led by as many as 24, the most the Vols have trailed by all season.

The Race: An ABC-TV crew attended Monday's practice, putting a microphone on Pearl and interviewing Renaldo "Swiperboy" Woolridge as part of a special called "The Race to March Madness" which is scheduled to air the first week of March.

Bracketology: ESPN's Joe Lunardi's NCAA tournament projection for the Vols is as a No. 3 seed in the East Regional. Lunardi projects UT to play College of Charleston in the first round.

The Vols have an RPI of No. 15 and a schedule strength that ranks 35th according to RealTimeRPI.com.

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Comments » 40

Fryinpansvols writes:

I agree that these two games at home this week are must wins! Beating Vandy will give us another win against a rankend opponent. I love beating those frog dissecting Vandy snobs! Go beat Vanderbilt and GBO!

Fryinpansvols writes:

Ranked I mean. GBO!

FeelVol writes:

Why is this team considered short handed? Is it because we're not playing ten or eleven or because Williams hasn't been reinstated,the game against Georgia was the first time that I believe we could have used big Brian to bang against their bigs inside.My feeling is that team chemistry is much better with eight possibly a nine man rotation with two or three others capable to contribute if needed.Again I believe our chemistry is about as well as I've seen it in a couple of years.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rcr12:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sure the thought has occurred to him, but not much gets by you!

VolJunkie writes:

There's no place like home, there's no place like home ...

Yeah, just say it, the next two are "must-wins". Vandy has a good team and is playing with confidence, Florida, well, CBP owns them. Hopefully good attendance for both games at TBA.

Go Vols!

johnlg00 writes:

On a more serious note, this may be the best Vandy team any of us has seen. I've seen them play a few times, and I don't see a clear advantage for the Vols at any position. The Vols will have to recapture that "lightning-in-a-bottle" energy they had in all of 2010, until last Saturday, to win this game. I hope this is the game when CBP initiates a more energetic warm-up routine, because we CANNOT get off to the kind of stumbling start that has largely characterized this team this year. If they spot Vandy a double-digit lead in the first half, it will be VERY difficult to catch up, because, among other things, they are the best free-throw shooting team in the league. The Vols will need the kind of performance they mustered against Kansas to have a real shot to win this game. A packed, rockin' TBA is essential! GBO!!! TCB!!!

huntined#565710 writes:

Will Chism be able to play? Without him in there to mix it up it will be hard to win this game. The croud will help but we will need a good game from 3-4 players to win it. Got to have these next two games at home...

tennrich1 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Georgia was so AMPED for that game its hard to determine if we were intimidated or just exhausted...That's probably, no IS the best a Georgia team has played in three maybe four years...and their bigs just out hustled and out banged ours....

tennrich1 writes:

in response to tennrich1:

Georgia was so AMPED for that game its hard to determine if we were intimidated or just exhausted...That's probably, no IS the best a Georgia team has played in three maybe four years...and their bigs just out hustled and out banged ours....

and the extremely poor shooting from the perimeter sure didnt bale us out either....

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to Fryinpansvols:

Ranked I mean. GBO!

A vandy fan or player would have been smart enough to get the spelling right the first time.

richvol writes:

in response to FeelVol:

Why is this team considered short handed? Is it because we're not playing ten or eleven or because Williams hasn't been reinstated,the game against Georgia was the first time that I believe we could have used big Brian to bang against their bigs inside.My feeling is that team chemistry is much better with eight possibly a nine man rotation with two or three others capable to contribute if needed.Again I believe our chemistry is about as well as I've seen it in a couple of years.

I agree wholeheartedly,why play 11 guys if we are not pressing? Again,it's hard to get into any kind of flow offensively when you are constantly being pulled from the game. How do you ever develop any chemistry and anticipation with your teammates?

Twice during the Georgia game Prince and Hall collided with one another on a lob dunk. If they were practiced enough at being on the floor with one another that would not happen. Pick your best seven or eight and go with it.

Mule_Days_King writes:

Hope Wayne is healthy for the game because he absolutely owns AJ Ogilvy.

Ogilvy wears Wayne Chism PJ's.

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Hope Wayne is healthy for the game because he absolutely owns AJ Ogilvy.

Ogilvy wears Wayne Chism PJ's.

Chism may own Ogilvy, but he struggles against stronger centers. He was getting shoved around in the Georgia game like a rag doll. He's more suited for the 3 or 4 position because of his lean physique good perimeter shooting ability.

Pearl has never recruited a dominant center. This may be because he does not think it fits his style of basketball. I don't think Tn will ever be final four team until he recruits one.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to brownsvillevol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Georgia was shooting too well from outside, contrary to their performance previously, for a zone to have done us much good. When we started to fall behind, we needed to at least try to apply more pressure than is usually possible from a zone. The fact that we were ALSO struggling on offense meant that we couldn't wait for Georgia to cool off from the outside even though we were getting pounded on the inside in the man-to-man. Face it, the way Georgia played Saturday, I'm not sure we could have done ANYTHING that would have given us a win. The team may be better off if they just burned that game tape and pretended the whole thing never happened(;-P)!

Volumnus writes:

in response to johnlg00:

On a more serious note, this may be the best Vandy team any of us has seen. I've seen them play a few times, and I don't see a clear advantage for the Vols at any position. The Vols will have to recapture that "lightning-in-a-bottle" energy they had in all of 2010, until last Saturday, to win this game. I hope this is the game when CBP initiates a more energetic warm-up routine, because we CANNOT get off to the kind of stumbling start that has largely characterized this team this year. If they spot Vandy a double-digit lead in the first half, it will be VERY difficult to catch up, because, among other things, they are the best free-throw shooting team in the league. The Vols will need the kind of performance they mustered against Kansas to have a real shot to win this game. A packed, rockin' TBA is essential! GBO!!! TCB!!!

You are correct sir! This Vandy incarnation reminds me of the Vandy teams in the 60's that used to come into Stokely and beat us like a cheap rug! Back then we had no hope of catching up or catching lightning in a bottle. This group at least knows they can do that!

Your assessment of talent is true as well. This is not a tremendously talented team, it is however, when it plays together a "tremendous team". I was working in a remote location on Sat and could not see the debacle with GA. From what I have heard it was pretty much a total letdown, much like USC. Vandy won't allow that.
Go Vols!

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Hope Wayne is healthy for the game because he absolutely owns AJ Ogilvy.

Ogilvy wears Wayne Chism PJ's.

He may own Ogilvy, but the freshman from Georgia pushed him around like a rag doll. Chism is more suited for the 3 or 4 position because of his lean physique and perimeter shooting ability. I don't think Brian Williams ever will ever be the solution either. He's too foot slow and doesn't jump well. Kenny Hall may be able to fill this position if he put's on more weight but I see him more as a power forward because of his height.

Pearl is going to have to recruit a more dominant center to match up with the top teams.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rcr12:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The purpose of the pre-game warm-up SHOULD be to prepare the team to play the game, both physically and mentally. I have noticed for some time now that the team has a very laid-back, lackadaisical pre-game routine. The guys just amble through the lay-up line, casually tossing up shots and not even noticing if they go in or not. When they start shooting individually, they do the same thing, shooting from ridiculous distances, flipping up shots from over their heads, yakking with each other and the crowd, etc., etc. In the Kansas game, the crowd and the chance to play against a #1-ranked team helped them get up from the start. They never get that boost on the road and rarely get it at TBA unless the crowd is really fired up for the game.

Every team and every player has their own way to get ready for a game, but when you see that kind of warm-up and then see that they seem to lack energy and focus at the beginning of most games, there would seem to be SOME kind of correlation and therefore there should be some kind of change in how they get ready to play. Some teams run sprints from baseline to mid-court line, work seriously against each other one-on-one, work on moves and shots they will actually use in the game. The Vols don't do much if any of that. You do the math. The slow starts REALLY hurt us; try anything to change that, I say.

schymtz writes:

in response to VolJunkie:

There's no place like home, there's no place like home ...

Yeah, just say it, the next two are "must-wins". Vandy has a good team and is playing with confidence, Florida, well, CBP owns them. Hopefully good attendance for both games at TBA.

Go Vols!

Yeah, yeah...I like "owning" Florida, BUT CBP and the Volunteers "owned" Georgia until last week. Once upon a time, Vandy beat a #1 ranked team. This IS Knoxville. This is OUR house. Time to focus on the task at hand one game at a time - or are you one of us (myself included) who believed, after Ole Miss and Alabama, that Georgia would be somehow less challenging.UT looked off their feed that whole game because Georgia wanted Tennessee. Once upon a time UT did to Texas exactly what Georgia did to us. We learn from such events and it ain't near as much fun an winning. When CBP calls a time-out as early as he did against GA, the team better wake up quick of trouble will follow quickly. Go, Vols: BEAT VANDY!

schymtz writes:

in response to johnlg00:

On a more serious note, this may be the best Vandy team any of us has seen. I've seen them play a few times, and I don't see a clear advantage for the Vols at any position. The Vols will have to recapture that "lightning-in-a-bottle" energy they had in all of 2010, until last Saturday, to win this game. I hope this is the game when CBP initiates a more energetic warm-up routine, because we CANNOT get off to the kind of stumbling start that has largely characterized this team this year. If they spot Vandy a double-digit lead in the first half, it will be VERY difficult to catch up, because, among other things, they are the best free-throw shooting team in the league. The Vols will need the kind of performance they mustered against Kansas to have a real shot to win this game. A packed, rockin' TBA is essential! GBO!!! TCB!!!

I love the phrase ...'that "lightning-in-a-bottle" energy...' to describe effective offense, especially when it comes off a well built wall or a quick inbounds steal. Vandy WILL bring their 'A' game. I would like to see the student section have a letter by letter sign "Lighting in a bottle" sign all the way across their section, the chereleaders screamin' it, and fans standing and shouting until and after the first baskets. UT has had lazy slow starts since Kansas and I sure would love to see the cork fly out of the bottle when UT wins the tip-off and scores a lay-up at .01 into the first half!

volsdew writes:

in response to FeelVol:

Why is this team considered short handed? Is it because we're not playing ten or eleven or because Williams hasn't been reinstated,the game against Georgia was the first time that I believe we could have used big Brian to bang against their bigs inside.My feeling is that team chemistry is much better with eight possibly a nine man rotation with two or three others capable to contribute if needed.Again I believe our chemistry is about as well as I've seen it in a couple of years.

amen brother we will need him for the long haul why not let him back in was he wearing aress good greif

johnlg00 writes:

in response to schymtz:

I love the phrase ...'that "lightning-in-a-bottle" energy...' to describe effective offense, especially when it comes off a well built wall or a quick inbounds steal. Vandy WILL bring their 'A' game. I would like to see the student section have a letter by letter sign "Lighting in a bottle" sign all the way across their section, the chereleaders screamin' it, and fans standing and shouting until and after the first baskets. UT has had lazy slow starts since Kansas and I sure would love to see the cork fly out of the bottle when UT wins the tip-off and scores a lay-up at .01 into the first half!

Unfortunately, "lightning in a bottle" also connotes a very rare, ephemeral type of energy! I would settle for a miner's persistent, grinding type of energy--"pound the rock", if you will. Whatever one chooses to call it, the Vols had BETTER have it Wednesday! GBO!!! TCB!!!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to mtcarmeltnvol:

He may own Ogilvy, but the freshman from Georgia pushed him around like a rag doll. Chism is more suited for the 3 or 4 position because of his lean physique and perimeter shooting ability. I don't think Brian Williams ever will ever be the solution either. He's too foot slow and doesn't jump well. Kenny Hall may be able to fill this position if he put's on more weight but I see him more as a power forward because of his height.

Pearl is going to have to recruit a more dominant center to match up with the top teams.

Chism has owned Ogilvy because AJ is typically a lazy, underachieving player. He has been playing well of late but historically Wayne knows how to exploit Ogilvy's tendencies.
The freshman from GA will push around a lot more people down the road. Pearl's style of play doesn't suit a dominant center, so him recruiting one isn't going to happen in the near future.

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Chism has owned Ogilvy because AJ is typically a lazy, underachieving player. He has been playing well of late but historically Wayne knows how to exploit Ogilvy's tendencies.
The freshman from GA will push around a lot more people down the road. Pearl's style of play doesn't suit a dominant center, so him recruiting one isn't going to happen in the near future.

I did not mean to be redundent, but this was my first comment and did not realize that it would have to be reviewed before it was posted.

I realize that Pearl prefers a fast-pressing type team, but I think it's also good to have the option to play a power game for teams that can dictate a slower game. I'm sure that he recruited Jurick with that in mind but it obviously did not materialize.

N2Motorsports writes:

I'll be there Wednesday night sporting my Orange blazer!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to N2Motorsports:

I'll be there Wednesday night sporting my Orange blazer!

I hope there are about 20,000 more just like you! The Vols will need every one of you. GBO!!! TCB!!!

cloudodust writes:

They're ALL pumped when we play 'em. From LSU to Georgia to Kentucky to Florida, they want to say they took down Tennessee. No mas, no mas. GBO.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mtcarmeltnvol:

I did not mean to be redundent, but this was my first comment and did not realize that it would have to be reviewed before it was posted.

I realize that Pearl prefers a fast-pressing type team, but I think it's also good to have the option to play a power game for teams that can dictate a slower game. I'm sure that he recruited Jurick with that in mind but it obviously did not materialize.

You make a decent point, but the classic low-post, back-to-the-basket center is a vanishing breed in basketball these days. Oh sure, there are a few, like Cole Aldrich of Kansas and even Ogilvy of Vandy, but for the most part, the dominant big men in the game are power-forward types like Patrick Patterson of UK, among dozens of other possible examples. Even Jarvis Varnado, who may well end his MSU career as the NCAA career leader in blocked shots, is a rather slender 6'9" or so with limited offensive skills.

This is even true in the NBA. Shaq was great when he was younger, but who is another classic, All-Star-caliber center in the NBA? There are still a few big guys around, but no threats to the legacies of Russell, Chamberlain, Jabbar, Malone--Moses, not Karl--and such. The best of them today are undersized quick leapers like Amare Stoudamire, perimeter shooters like Dirk Nowitzki, or all-around talents like Tim Duncan. I agree that every team needs rebounding beef, but it is mostly packaged differently these days.

schymtz writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Unfortunately, "lightning in a bottle" also connotes a very rare, ephemeral type of energy! I would settle for a miner's persistent, grinding type of energy--"pound the rock", if you will. Whatever one chooses to call it, the Vols had BETTER have it Wednesday! GBO!!! TCB!!!

AMEN.

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

A vandy fan or player would have been smart enough to get the spelling right the first time.

I'm sure you have never fat fingered a word when typing or have never misspelled one. GBO!

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

You make a decent point, but the classic low-post, back-to-the-basket center is a vanishing breed in basketball these days. Oh sure, there are a few, like Cole Aldrich of Kansas and even Ogilvy of Vandy, but for the most part, the dominant big men in the game are power-forward types like Patrick Patterson of UK, among dozens of other possible examples. Even Jarvis Varnado, who may well end his MSU career as the NCAA career leader in blocked shots, is a rather slender 6'9" or so with limited offensive skills.

This is even true in the NBA. Shaq was great when he was younger, but who is another classic, All-Star-caliber center in the NBA? There are still a few big guys around, but no threats to the legacies of Russell, Chamberlain, Jabbar, Malone--Moses, not Karl--and such. The best of them today are undersized quick leapers like Amare Stoudamire, perimeter shooters like Dirk Nowitzki, or all-around talents like Tim Duncan. I agree that every team needs rebounding beef, but it is mostly packaged differently these days.

Whether you call the position Center or Power Forward, we are definitely going to have someone who can match up physically with players like Demarcus Cousins at 6'-11", 260 lbs. If B. Williams is coming back, I hope he's back before the Kentucky game.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mtcarmeltnvol:

Whether you call the position Center or Power Forward, we are definitely going to have someone who can match up physically with players like Demarcus Cousins at 6'-11", 260 lbs. If B. Williams is coming back, I hope he's back before the Kentucky game.

Amen! We could surely use him; I just wish he was a little tougher for his size. Actually, I have always liked what the late, great Al McGuire used to call the "aircraft carriers", the big units at the center of the fleet. It's just that for the most part there aren't many. Cousins is a big guy but he isn't a classic post player. I surely agree that the Vols need to recruit some size to go along with all the great perimeter players we have coming in.

wildcatbasketball writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Amen! We could surely use him; I just wish he was a little tougher for his size. Actually, I have always liked what the late, great Al McGuire used to call the "aircraft carriers", the big units at the center of the fleet. It's just that for the most part there aren't many. Cousins is a big guy but he isn't a classic post player. I surely agree that the Vols need to recruit some size to go along with all the great perimeter players we have coming in.

John---I respect your opinion most of the time but I have to disagree with you.Cousins is a beast inside. He is hard to handle in there. On another note,I am a little worried tonight down at SC. I have an uneasy feeling about this game. UT will beat Vandy at home as long as they keep the game "helter skelter", if you will,. They do not want to get in a half court game with Vandy.

volsfan92 writes:

Go VOLS! UT will have a tough battle, and a fast start would really help....need to be ready from the start

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Amen! We could surely use him; I just wish he was a little tougher for his size. Actually, I have always liked what the late, great Al McGuire used to call the "aircraft carriers", the big units at the center of the fleet. It's just that for the most part there aren't many. Cousins is a big guy but he isn't a classic post player. I surely agree that the Vols need to recruit some size to go along with all the great perimeter players we have coming in.

I just checked and we are currently ranked #137 in the Country in rebound margin and you can probably guess where Kentucky is.

If Williams was able to lean on him part of the game, at least Hall could get a breather. Chism will be busy enough with Patterson.

Of course I'm getting off track of the story which is Vanderbilt. The Vols have shown they can play with anyone in the country after losing a third of their players, so I would not bet against them at home against Vandy.

DarthWilson writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

A vandy fan or player would have been smart enough to get the spelling right the first time.

Thats why we diselikes 'em.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to wildcatbasketball:

John---I respect your opinion most of the time but I have to disagree with you.Cousins is a beast inside. He is hard to handle in there. On another note,I am a little worried tonight down at SC. I have an uneasy feeling about this game. UT will beat Vandy at home as long as they keep the game "helter skelter", if you will,. They do not want to get in a half court game with Vandy.

Quite a premonition you had! It did pretty much look like a "trap-game" situation going in, but I just didn't think USC had enough firepower or size inside to spring that trap. As for Cousins, he certainly was a beast last night! My earlier comment referred to the fact that, until last night, I hadn't really seen him play that much with his back to the basket, but, after all, I haven't seen all of UK's games this season. More a matter of how he was used than ability to play that way. Although Calapari had Camby at UMass, none of his Memphis teams had classic, back-to-the-basket centers. Now he seems to have one again!

I think most of us who have paid attention all year are concerned about Vandy tonight. The Vols have enough talent and everything else to beat anybody when they are right, but they don't have any margin for error against good teams. Of course, that could be said about dozens of teams, as we saw last night in Columbia! I'm worried especially about how strong and how quick for how long Chism can be with the hurt knee. If he is good to go and avoids his customary two fouls in the first four minutes, we should be OK.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mtcarmeltnvol:

I just checked and we are currently ranked #137 in the Country in rebound margin and you can probably guess where Kentucky is.

If Williams was able to lean on him part of the game, at least Hall could get a breather. Chism will be busy enough with Patterson.

Of course I'm getting off track of the story which is Vanderbilt. The Vols have shown they can play with anyone in the country after losing a third of their players, so I would not bet against them at home against Vandy.

I didn't realize we were THAT far down in rebound margin! Still, none of CBP's teams have really been board-pounders. He seems to hang his hat on winning the turnover battle, defending the initial shot, and relying on team rebounding. From what I have heard, Williams should be back by the time we play UK. We could certainly use him tonight for the reasons you mentioned. I give the Vols a good shot tonight, but it will take their A game.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to Fryinpansvols:

I'm sure you have never fat fingered a word when typing or have never misspelled one. GBO!

I bet you I have never called any team,player,or coach slobs either.Name calling is for adolescences.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I'm sure the thought has occurred to him, but not much gets by you!

laugh out loud!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to rcr12:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nothing really to say I just for some reason can't bypass a chance to correct someone smarter than my self. It's spelled d e f e n s e.

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