Vols start the season at No. 23 in AP poll

The Tennessee men’s basketball team extended its school record of consecutive preseason Top 25 rankings to five on Thursday and is on track to match or surpass its season ticket sales of a year ago.

The Vols, coming off their first NCAA tournament Elite Eight appearance, were ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press poll after being picked No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll last week.

“I’ve used the Top 25 as a benchmark of great consistency, and we pride ourselves on being competitive each year’’ UT coach Bruce Pearl said. “I think that’s (ranking) good considering we lost four starters and the winningest player in the history of Tennessee basketball (Wayne Chism).’’

“There are certain household names in the poll every year, and the more consistently you’re in it, the more it increases the perception of the program.’’

That perception has helped sell 14,800 season tickets at this point after reaching 15,100 a year ago.

This, in spite of an ongoing NCAA investigation into the men’s program.

“Our program was one point away from getting to the Final Four last year, but our fans are in the Final Four every year in attendance,’’ Pearl said, referring to the Vols ranking fourth in the nation in attendance each of the past four seasons. “Then we bring 18,000 fans to St. Louis (for the NCAA Elite Eight game). This really is Big Orange Country.’’

Defending national champion Duke was a runaway No. 1 in poll, followed by Michigan State, Kansas State, Ohio State and Pittsburgh. Florida is No. 9 and Kentucky is No. 11.

Pearl said the schedule, which has led to UT finishing with an average RPI rank of 12.4 over Pearl’s previous five seasons, also has something to do with it.

“You look at who we’ve brought in here to play, Kevin Durant at Texas, Coach Bill Self’s Number-one ranked Kansas team, Evan Turner at Ohio State,’’ Pearl said. “And then our facility, Thompson-Boling Arena, it’s such a great venue to watch college basketball.’’

Especially for the home fans: Pearl is 4-0 against top-five ranked teams and 70-8 (.897) in Thompson-Boling Arena.

This season’s home slate, which opens on Nov. 12 against Chattanooga, includes non-conference visits from Southern Cal (Dec. 21) and Memphis (Jan. 5) in addition to the ESPN GameDay crew coming for a men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader with Vanderbilt on Jan. 15.

Tennessee has been ranked in 20 consecutive AP polls dating back to the preseason poll of last year. It’s the second longest streak if its kind in the Pearl Era, behind a period of 32 straight polls the Vols were ranked from 2007-09.

About The tickets: The most season tickets UT can sell is 16,600, according to senior associate athletic director Chris Fuller.

“We’re really pleased where we’re at, because there aren’t many schools in the country that seat 14,800, much less sell that many season tickets,’’ Fuller said. “We have 1,500 season tickets left in the upper level, most all end zones above Row 10.

“We also have 150 family plan seats, for $110 apiece, that are 300 level end zone.’’

Fuller said the Vols also have a limited number of SEC Pack tickets left that sell for $60 apiece and include the home games with Kentucky, South Carolina and LSU.

“That’s the only way to get a Kentucky ticket without buying a season ticket,’’ Fuller said. “We think that’s a pretty good deal.’’

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 27

SATCHMOE writes:

it should be much higher,can you say Elite 8 from last year and 23 is the results ,somethings wrong.

macon_volfan writes:

in response to SATCHMOE:

it should be much higher,can you say Elite 8 from last year and 23 is the results ,somethings wrong.

can you say, loss of 3 senior starters? #23 is about right.....for now!

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to macon_volfan:

can you say, loss of 3 senior starters? #23 is about right.....for now!

I agree, MV. They will have to earn a higher ranking, being so young.

Volborn writes:

Has Pearl signed the contract yet? I'm getting nervous....I think there are some things in it other than the $ that he does not like,

volboy81 writes:

thats a good spot. Plenty of time & room to move up.

smokeyvol1 writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm using the same crystal ball as you, and it shows you being elected Queen at the mens state prison by tourney time!

BigOrangeRod writes:

Unfortunately, voters don't like Pearl. We'll move up in due time like we always do. Great opportunity with pre-season NIT up early.

allvols4life writes:

in response to smokeyvol1:

I'm using the same crystal ball as you, and it shows you being elected Queen at the mens state prison by tourney time!

Funniest post I have ever read. Made me laugh out loud, literally!

Greyfeathers writes:

Goodbye lyin' Bruce.

tomatosoup writes:

Tomatosoup says....let's get it on Vols! Let's show the world who we are really made of! If we don't get band from post-season play, I really think we've got a shot at going deep in the tournament. At least deeper than a lot of folks think at this time! Rock on ole' Rocky Top!

gglardon50#417841 writes:

in response to Volborn:

Has Pearl signed the contract yet? I'm getting nervous....I think there are some things in it other than the $ that he does not like,

What the rush to sign a contract.This is Bruce Pearl we are talking about.It's not like the guys a lier of the cheat.

rudy123 writes:

in response to Volborn:

Has Pearl signed the contract yet? I'm getting nervous....I think there are some things in it other than the $ that he does not like,

Yesterday morning on the radio Chris Low said that not only has Pearls contract changed to reflect the $1.5 decrease BUT it also reflects less of a bonus for him and his staff when they reach certain benchmarks. For instance, if Pearl was ot get a 5% bonus if we reached the Elite 8 on his previous contract, this new ocntract has him getting a 3% bonus if we reach the Elite 8.
So, if Pearl was thinking of earning the lost $1.5 by getting bonus' for reaching bench marks, then that is not going to happen.
Hamilton has Pearl in a position in which he is not coming from a position of strength. With the NCAA investigation, Pearl has few options.
I predict that this will be an AWESOME year for us and we could be a #1 or #2 seed BUT the NCAA won't let us play in the tournament.
During the off season, I predict that a team that is traditionally good but is not good now will lure Pearl away from us. A team like Indiana or Houston.
Hamilton will be responsible for us losing Pearl and it will be because Hamilton will want to be a cheap scape.

smokeyvol1 writes:

in response to Greyfeathers:

Goodbye lyin' Bruce.

Lazybone, is that the nickname your wife gave you?

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

Impressive! On track to break season ticket record! Wow, it's like no one gives a flip about the investigation! Weird!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I think I may pull for Chattanooga this year...I mean what could it hurt? I went to school there after all...besides it won't help Chattanooga for me to pull for them. That said I pick Chattanooga. 51 - 50.
We will need to play half court control the tempo ball (we as in UTC).

chrisw2967 writes:

that ranking is "too damn low"

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to smokeyvol1:

Lazybone, is that the nickname your wife gave you?

Yeah, and his first name's ED!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I think I may pull for Chattanooga this year...I mean what could it hurt? I went to school there after all...besides it won't help Chattanooga for me to pull for them. That said I pick Chattanooga. 51 - 50.
We will need to play half court control the tempo ball (we as in UTC).

I'm a Tulane alum, but God forbid, if Tulane and UT ever meet, I'd still pull for UT. Pretty bitter.

TKO writes:

Hopefully a post-season band won't follow in December.

huntined#565710 writes:

Two or three good wins will move them up or drop them out if they lose some at the start of the season...

volfan2002 writes:

I like starting out number 23 now we just have to go out and whoop the 9 and 11 teams and win the SEC title. I think we can do that.

ThunderVol2020 writes:

A post season band? Are you talking about a post season ban? A band and a ban are different things. I get a kick out of the post that show just how smart some people are.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

I'm a Tulane alum, but God forbid, if Tulane and UT ever meet, I'd still pull for UT. Pretty bitter.

well. My college days were awesome. I was there when UT came to Chattanooga... new bball Mckenzie arena. We actually played UT a great game. But UTC lost that one and almost all future against the Vols. But I was a Vols fan long before I went to UTC. It's always a tough game for me...

8ball writes:

in response to allvols4life:

Funniest post I have ever read. Made me laugh out loud, literally!

Funny Funny..

wildcatbasketball writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UK re-loaded and had the #1 recruiting class again is why they ranked high. Time will tell. Pre-season rankings are overrated in BB. I think UT and UK will be good at the end of the year.

ChatBleu writes:

in response to rudy123:

Yesterday morning on the radio Chris Low said that not only has Pearls contract changed to reflect the $1.5 decrease BUT it also reflects less of a bonus for him and his staff when they reach certain benchmarks. For instance, if Pearl was ot get a 5% bonus if we reached the Elite 8 on his previous contract, this new ocntract has him getting a 3% bonus if we reach the Elite 8.
So, if Pearl was thinking of earning the lost $1.5 by getting bonus' for reaching bench marks, then that is not going to happen.
Hamilton has Pearl in a position in which he is not coming from a position of strength. With the NCAA investigation, Pearl has few options.
I predict that this will be an AWESOME year for us and we could be a #1 or #2 seed BUT the NCAA won't let us play in the tournament.
During the off season, I predict that a team that is traditionally good but is not good now will lure Pearl away from us. A team like Indiana or Houston.
Hamilton will be responsible for us losing Pearl and it will be because Hamilton will want to be a cheap scape.

You can't be serious about a #1 or #2 seed. I guess you just read about the Vols and no other teams. You seem to think the Vols are going to be so great but if you are really keeping up with college basketball there are easily a couple of dozen teams much more talented than the Vols. Forget about another team wanting to lure Pearl away. There isn't another Division 1 school that would touch that cheating liar with a 20 foot pole. One poster was correct, the NCAA is going to suspend Pearl for at least a year and UT will eventually fire him at the end of this season. That contract wasn't rewritten just for salary changes. I assure you it has new termination clauses in it. He made sure the school is going to get anything short of the death penalty.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

chatbleau may be correct about other teams with talent, tho I think how many is blown up # wise. Duke will be good, of course...#1 good I don't know NCar. Kansas, Ohio St? Mich. St.?
Kentuck Fl...all probably as of now are better Ga. MAYBE WHO KNOWS? NOT you Chatbleau! We won't know till some time in march about top 10. Vols. should have no problem with top 25 competition...we'll see about top ten. It's fun to guess but chatbleau's posts are a waste of space!! I'd call him an idiot or psycho but he's probably just your ordinary interloper agitater...or maybe just tater or taterhead...well

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features