All the stops planned for stopping Vanderbilt

Pearl's orange jacket just part of game plan for Vols

Tennessee's game plan is simple: find a way.

Outside shooting, penetration, half-court sets or transition baskets - men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl won't be picky.

"We just need to be better offensively,'' Pearl said Tuesday. "Vanderbilt is playing better than anyone we've played here.

"Kansas came in, they were No. 1 but . . . they weren't playing their best basketball.''

The 21st-ranked Commodores (15-3, 4-0 SEC) bring a nine-game win streak into Thompson-Boling Arena for Wednesday night's 7 p.m. tip (TV: ESPNU). It's Vanderbilt's best start in SEC play in 44 years.

The 14th-ranked Vols (15-3, 3-1), meanwhile, are looking to extend a 10-game home-court win streak and remain in contention in the SEC East.

"This is always one of our favorite games,'' UT senior J.P. Prince said. "The orange jacket (worn by Pearl) comes out, and you know Wayne (Chism) enjoys his matchup with A.J. Ogilvy.''

Chism has gotten the better of the Commodores' 6-foot-11 center the past two seasons, yet Ogilvy's name consistently surfaces ahead of Chism's on the All-SEC teams.

Chism returned to practice Tuesday after sitting out Monday with a sprained knee he suffered at Georgia last Saturday.

"Wayne was OK, but we didn't go hard,'' Pearl said. "Wayne has played well against Vanderbilt, and I'm sure they are well aware of that, and I'm sure they will do what everyone else is trying to do against him.

"That's get Wayne in foul trouble or somehow disrupt his game.''

Chism's elevated play in SEC games is just one component of UT's surprising run since the well-documented Jan. 1 arrest of four players that led to All-SEC forward Tyler Smith being dismissed from the team.

Pearl said the Vols' success has been more about character than any new-fangled rotation or strategic plan of attack.

"Since the complexion of the team changed, we're 5-1 with two victories over top-25 teams,'' Pearl said. "We've just found a way, and that's been our identity.

"It's a tough group of kids that have overcome a tremendous challenge.''

Point guard Bobby Maze said he hasn't really put much thought into the new personnel groupings.

"You get so caught up in the game, you don't even realize it's not the same players on the floor,'' Maze said. "At certain times you still know who to get the ball to in what spots, but it's really about there being more to prove.

"There was a lot said about us when that incident happened, and we've had a lot of doubters.''

The Vols have opened as a 5 1/2-point favorite, despite the fact Pearl is 4-0 against the Commodores in Knoxville, including last year's 69-50 Valentine's Day massacre in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Smith, it's worth noting, accounted for more than half of UT's scoring in that victory, pouring in a career-high 30 points in addition to dishing out three assists.

Prince has had to step up an assume many of the play-making duties in the halfcourt game in Smith's absence.

"J.P. has always been an important playmaker,'' Pearl said. "Now, he's one of our primary playmakers.''

As Prince evolves, so does the team's personality.

"Tyler and I fed off each other before,'' Prince said, "so this is something I've had to get used to.''

Pearl said he anticipates Vanderbilt will play a great deal of zone against the Vols, both 2-3 and 3-2, on account of UT's recent 3-point shooting struggles.

Scotty Hopson has gone 6-of-11 shooting beyond the arc the past two games, but the rest of the team is a combined 0 for 15.

"There's more to being effective against zone than shooting well from outside, but it will start there,'' Pearl said. "Part of the reason people are playing zone against us is it's not as easy for me to play call and get Wayne touches on the inside.

"To say Wayne's a key would be an understatement.''

Pearl said he had no update on the future of 6-10 junior post Brian Williams, who remains suspended indefinitely as one of the four players arrested.

Big Orange TipOff Club: Basketball historian and former LSU athletic director Joe Dean Sr. will be the featured speaker at 11:30 a.m. today at Calhoun's on the River at the Big Orange TipOff Club luncheon.

The club also is putting together a bus trip to Columbia, S.C., for the Feb. 20 game against South Carolina.

For more information on either event, go to www.bigorangetipoff.com

Tickets available: UT has tickets available in the upper deck at $15 apiece for the Vanderbilt game and can be purchased at Uttix.com, the UT ticket office or by calling 865-656-1200.

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Comments » 48

Volin68 writes:

GBO

bhjohnso#207063 writes:

um.....

"The Vols have opened as a 5 1/2-point favorite, despite the fact Pearl is 4-0 against the Commodores in Knoxville, including last year's 69-50 Valentine's Day massacre in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Smith, it's worth noting, accounted for more than half of UT's scoring in that victory, pouring in a career-high 30 points in addition to dishing out three assists."

Ok, so the Vols are the favorite "despite" Pearl being 4-0 against Vandy at home?

And 30 points is more than half of 69?

I'll take a part-time job and proofread your articles, KNS....

bhjohnso#207063 writes:

OK I take back the 2nd one if you factor in the points off the assists....my mistake.

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Looks like SC may get them tonight..

zigvol writes:

Man Devon Downey is pretty da-n good....

huntined#565710 writes:

DOWN GOES KY!!! DOWN GOES KY..
Sorry catscratch but you lasted like we did when we were number #1 We lost our next game..Going to see some good games from here on..KY may have spent too much time talking to OBAMA and not getting ready for the game..Bet he don't call them tomorrow..

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Outcome of our game will depend on our 3 pt. shooting. We can not go 0-fer by everyone but Scotty.

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to zigvol:

Man Devon Downey is pretty da-n good....

TRUE man I wish we had one player that would go to the basket like he does. TWO guys on him and he still scores WOW!!

wildcatbasketball writes:

in response to huntined#565710:

DOWN GOES KY!!! DOWN GOES KY..
Sorry catscratch but you lasted like we did when we were number #1 We lost our next game..Going to see some good games from here on..KY may have spent too much time talking to OBAMA and not getting ready for the game..Bet he don't call them tomorrow..

Huntined--We got our AZZ's kicked tonight but we will be back. I actually told a few guys today that we were going to get beat tonight. Downey can play and is one of the best in the SEC...Good luck tomorrow against Vandy!! Not a bitter poster at all and enjoy SEC basketball.

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to wildcatbasketball:

Huntined--We got our AZZ's kicked tonight but we will be back. I actually told a few guys today that we were going to get beat tonight. Downey can play and is one of the best in the SEC...Good luck tomorrow against Vandy!! Not a bitter poster at all and enjoy SEC basketball.

Well we ran into a buzz saw in GA. they were ready and out played us..But any team in the SEC can get you especally at home.. I think this may have been a wake up call for you and I agree you will be ready from here on out..
Also you have class man to take a loss like that..

schymtz writes:

"Tennessee's game plan is simple: find a way. Outside shooting, penetration, half-court sets or transition baskets - men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl won't be picky."We just need to be better offensively,'' Pearl said Tuesday...." Please don't misread this: I like this coach and this team. I am fond of beating Vandy...but this article starts out more like a wish list than a game plan. It's at least the second in a row talking about how great they are and how hard it's gonna be. Yes, Vandy has been playing very, very well so far this year, so I suspect CBP has a much more carefully planned game plan than a wish and a prayer. I sometimes overdo civil war stories, and Ulysses S. Grant will never be the most favored general to be quoted in these parts. That being said, there is a tale of this general growing weary of his staff officers talking about "Robert E. Lee is g'wana do this and do that to us. He'll surround us, swallow us, show up in our rear" and so on. Grant said "Gentlemen, I'm tired of hearing about what Bobby Lee is gonna do to us. I'm here to listen to what you are going to do to him." I want the Vols to do unto Vandy before Vandy even gets started. My favorite quote of this season is from one Volunteer saying to another before the Kansas game: "We are maybe the only two people in here that know we are going to win this game." That is focus. Do unto Vandy...Go Vols!

schymtz writes:

South Carolina, coming off three straight but deceptive losses, [sound familiar?] BEAT UK. VANDY now leads the SEC East 4-0. It will be a two or three way tie for the SEC East lead by this time tomorrow evening. GO VOLS! UT is not playin' for second or third place.

Fryinpansvols writes:

This games means a lot to us now that UK just got beat by South Carolina. Winner takes over 1st in the SEC East. Beat Vandy and GBO!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Cat, you tryin' to say that it doesn't help for a Prez to swell up # 1 heads a little more?

Psshaw!

VolJunkie writes:

in response to jcvet:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sounds like a high school dating motto ... :)

The SEC East is unbelievable this year, should be a good one tonight.

Go Vols!

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

Downey has unreal ball handling-skills and touch around the basket. He single-handily took over the game and had Kentucky totally perplexed. They knew what he was going to do but could not stop him. The irony of the game was that Kentucky did not have anyone small and quick enough to guard him. I hope Maze and Bone can control him somewhat.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to grvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We can always hope! Gotta say, it scares me a little when CBP and Prince talk as if they regard each other as co-coaches! It seems to me that CBP is trying to build JP's confidence, when JP's real problem is that he has TOO much confidence compared to what he actually accomplishes on the court. CBP may disagree, but I am happy that that particular little dynamic will come to an end after this season. In any case, we will need the "good" JP to go with the "good" versions of all the guys to pull it off tonight.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree. I would much rather see Wayne setting up on the foul line against the zones than at the top of the circle. I'm sure CBP thinks they can reverse the ball better with Wayne at the top and he may not trust Wayne handling the ball with defenders all around him as they would be if he had it on the foul line.

KENVOL writes:

in response to bhjohnso#207063:

um.....

"The Vols have opened as a 5 1/2-point favorite, despite the fact Pearl is 4-0 against the Commodores in Knoxville, including last year's 69-50 Valentine's Day massacre in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Smith, it's worth noting, accounted for more than half of UT's scoring in that victory, pouring in a career-high 30 points in addition to dishing out three assists."

Ok, so the Vols are the favorite "despite" Pearl being 4-0 against Vandy at home?

And 30 points is more than half of 69?

I'll take a part-time job and proofread your articles, KNS....

You forgot about the points from the three assists.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to schymtz:

"Tennessee's game plan is simple: find a way. Outside shooting, penetration, half-court sets or transition baskets - men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl won't be picky."We just need to be better offensively,'' Pearl said Tuesday...." Please don't misread this: I like this coach and this team. I am fond of beating Vandy...but this article starts out more like a wish list than a game plan. It's at least the second in a row talking about how great they are and how hard it's gonna be. Yes, Vandy has been playing very, very well so far this year, so I suspect CBP has a much more carefully planned game plan than a wish and a prayer. I sometimes overdo civil war stories, and Ulysses S. Grant will never be the most favored general to be quoted in these parts. That being said, there is a tale of this general growing weary of his staff officers talking about "Robert E. Lee is g'wana do this and do that to us. He'll surround us, swallow us, show up in our rear" and so on. Grant said "Gentlemen, I'm tired of hearing about what Bobby Lee is gonna do to us. I'm here to listen to what you are going to do to him." I want the Vols to do unto Vandy before Vandy even gets started. My favorite quote of this season is from one Volunteer saying to another before the Kansas game: "We are maybe the only two people in here that know we are going to win this game." That is focus. Do unto Vandy...Go Vols!

Good philosophy and I enjoy your historical examples, but it may be possible that CBP really DOESN'T have any magic plan to deal with Vandy. The thing is, with the team Vandy has this year, there really IS no obvious weak point UT can count on to exploit. You can't really point to one single guy and say, "If we can take HIM out of the game, we will win." I think it really WILL be as simple as every single Vol playing his best possible game with no clever wrinkles to hang their hats on.

huntined#565710 writes:

Next two games will sure show us where we stand in the East.. Vandy will be a tough game and FLA right on our heels. Maybe GA can get them today but we have to take care of our own games. That loss by KY let some teams back in the hunt but teams like us still have to play them.From here on out every game will be important.there will be some good BB in the SEC in the next few weeks..

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

We can always hope! Gotta say, it scares me a little when CBP and Prince talk as if they regard each other as co-coaches! It seems to me that CBP is trying to build JP's confidence, when JP's real problem is that he has TOO much confidence compared to what he actually accomplishes on the court. CBP may disagree, but I am happy that that particular little dynamic will come to an end after this season. In any case, we will need the "good" JP to go with the "good" versions of all the guys to pull it off tonight.

His "who wants the ball" jumping baseline passes and clanging offset foul shots are really disturbing, but he has shown the ability in some games (Kansas) to be a special player offensively and defensively. I hope that Bruce can find a way to control Helter-Skelter.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Downey has played like that his whole career! He can just weave his way through any number of defenders and throw up some kind of shot. He draws so much attention that help-side defenders don't block out, allowing an under-sized USC team to get offensive rebounds. Downey only shot something like 9-for-30 from the field, but USC must have scored 15 or 20 on put-backs. The thing to do against him may just be to play him one-on-one, let him get his 30, and concentrate on holding all the others down, especially Raley-Ross.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Good philosophy and I enjoy your historical examples, but it may be possible that CBP really DOESN'T have any magic plan to deal with Vandy. The thing is, with the team Vandy has this year, there really IS no obvious weak point UT can count on to exploit. You can't really point to one single guy and say, "If we can take HIM out of the game, we will win." I think it really WILL be as simple as every single Vol playing his best possible game with no clever wrinkles to hang their hats on.

PS: The good thing for the Vols is that THEY don't really have one guy who an opponent can stop and count on beating the Vols. Chism comes closest, but we have won games when he didn't have big numbers. However, somebody like Hopson, Hall, or Maze DOES have to have a big game and JP MUST use good judgment with the ball if Chism DOESN'T have a big game.

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Outcome of our game will depend on our 3 pt. shooting. We can not go 0-fer by everyone but Scotty.

No doubt, walk-ons Bone and McBee are going to have to shoot a higher percentage from the arc. You've gotta love their defensive determination though. It seems the team is stronger defensively when they are on the court. I think they will shoot better in TB arena.

shoelessvol#236864 writes:

Huge game tonight! MUST WIN! Hope everyone able to go does and raises the roof on Vandy. HATE the Dores! By the way, seems like Ogilvy has been at Vandy about 6-7 years!

VolGrad writes:

KenVol and BigOrangeKoolAid:

You should really keep reading before replying to a post. He corrected himself in the post immediately after his initial one.

VolGrad writes:

Need Chism to do his outside/inside thing tonight. Likewise need Scotty to get his Hops-on with the outside tre' and the drive inside to the basket. He has had several huge dunks this year on 6'10 and 6'11 guys when driving inside. I think we've only seen the surface of what Hopson is capable of thus far. When you've got guys like Chism and Hopson hitting from anywhere on the court, it makes it all the more easy for the rest of the team to do whatever they want, i.e. Prince and Maze taking it to the hole. It would also be nice to see McBee and Woolridge get on a hot streak with the 3's.

GBO! Beat Vandy!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Need Chism to do his outside/inside thing tonight. Likewise need Scotty to get his Hops-on with the outside tre' and the drive inside to the basket. He has had several huge dunks this year on 6'10 and 6'11 guys when driving inside. I think we've only seen the surface of what Hopson is capable of thus far. When you've got guys like Chism and Hopson hitting from anywhere on the court, it makes it all the more easy for the rest of the team to do whatever they want, i.e. Prince and Maze taking it to the hole. It would also be nice to see McBee and Woolridge get on a hot streak with the 3's.

GBO! Beat Vandy!!!

Yep; the Vols are going to need all of that tonight. I think they are going to go all-out to get that bad taste from UGA out of their mouths. I just hope they don't all feel they have to do it all by themselves, or that they feel that they can just outscore Vandy. Only a total team effort across the board, on both offense and defense, can get it done tonight. GBO!!! TCB!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to shoelessvol#236864:

Huge game tonight! MUST WIN! Hope everyone able to go does and raises the roof on Vandy. HATE the Dores! By the way, seems like Ogilvy has been at Vandy about 6-7 years!

I'm sure Vandy feels the same way about Chism! They probably feel like they have gotten a bellyful of him over the course of his career. I hope he has a couple more big doses to give them! GBO!!! TCB!!!

VolunteerLifer writes:

So, Kentucky can be beaten, at least away from Rupp. That means if we hold serve at home and grab some road wins we can stay in the hunt.

Our biggest weakness is a lack of depth and experience at the post positions. Hopefully, Vandy will not be able to exploit that. Chism staying out of foul trouble and playing a good defensive game is the key to the win tonite.

mtcarmeltnvol writes:

in response to mtcarmeltnvol:

His "who wants the ball" jumping baseline passes and clanging offset foul shots are really disturbing, but he has shown the ability in some games (Kansas) to be a special player offensively and defensively. I hope that Bruce can find a way to control Helter-Skelter.

A more appropriate description of Prince's inconsistant play I think would be "Jekyl & Hyde". I had Helter-Skelter on my mind after reading another post.

VolGrad writes:

in response to bigorangekoolaid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Figures.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bigorangekoolaid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That is just the typical "coach-speak" that all coaches use. I have never in 50+ years of paying close attention to basketball and football heard a coach say of an upcoming opponent, "These guys are a bunch of chumps. I can't believe we even scheduled them. We will run these guys right out of the gym." Some of them may have BELIEVED that on occasion, and maybe even told their teams that, but any coach I ever heard, or heard OF, would choke before he let such words out in public.

However, surely you would agree that Vandy is no worse than the SECOND-best team to come into TBA so far this year. In fact, they are probably no worse than the THIRD-best team we will entertain all year.

I agree completely about the substitution merry-go-round this staff seems addicted to. There are LOTS of pretty good teams whose starters routinely play 30+ minutes per game, game after game. If ours can't, then they aren't as well-conditioned as we have been led to believe they are.

VolGrad writes:

in response to bigorangekoolaid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm with you on this one. The SEC East is obviously improved. Heck, the whole SEC is improved over recent years. But the statement the previous poster made about the SEC East being unbelievable makes it sound like we've reached the level of the Big East or ACC play of recent years. (This year, however, the ACC is way down, apparently.)

I don't believe the SEC East will have all 6 teams finish in the top 20 at the end of the season. That might be close to unbelievable, especially if half of those finish in the top 10.

GBO!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mtcarmeltnvol:

A more appropriate description of Prince's inconsistant play I think would be "Jekyl & Hyde". I had Helter-Skelter on my mind after reading another post.

Either term works for me(;-P)!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to VolGrad:

I'm with you on this one. The SEC East is obviously improved. Heck, the whole SEC is improved over recent years. But the statement the previous poster made about the SEC East being unbelievable makes it sound like we've reached the level of the Big East or ACC play of recent years. (This year, however, the ACC is way down, apparently.)

I don't believe the SEC East will have all 6 teams finish in the top 20 at the end of the season. That might be close to unbelievable, especially if half of those finish in the top 10.

GBO!

You may be right...but don't count on the ACC being down. Duke is better. North Carolina is definately down...for now. Don't think I'm a fan...just have a healthy fear is all. I'm hoping this is our year to outlast them in the NCAA's but I still wouldn't bet on it.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

SEC is close...real close to being back!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

The last time I said bad things about JP he came up with 2 or 3 big games! Therefore I think His brain is where he sits! His best game has nothing to do with basketball etc, etc.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Is there anywhere to watch the game online? I've looked all over.

schymtz writes:

in response to pj_ladyvolnMI:

Is there anywhere to watch the game online? I've looked all over.

ESPNU

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to schymtz:

ESPNU

Try www.channelsurfing.net

schymtz writes:

Thank god for TIME OUT

schymtz writes:

Anybody got a spare miracle? I expected Tennessee to make that run [sigh]

Mule_Days_King writes:

I am hiring a private detective to find Wayne Chism's game. No one has seen it in the last 3 games.

schymtz writes:

Looks like we got beat. Next time around I hope Chism is well. I was not expecting this. JP had a mostly great game. Blech! Vandy #1, UK #2, UT #3. Hopefully, Fla. will pay.

Mule_Days_King writes:

I hate losing to Peabody High more than anyone. What a piss-poor effort on the defensive end.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hopson's fouls killed the rotation. He only played 22 minutes.

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