Pearl: Tennessee 'can't beat itself'

Vols have little time to bounce back from loss

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl’s focus on Sunday was to get the Vols moving forward without looking back.

Pearl said there was neither time nor reason to review Saturday’s gut-wrenching 65-60 overtime loss to Alabama at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Not with UT (15-8, 5-3 SEC) having road games at Kentucky and at Florida this week.

“This team — all of them, starters, reserves, practice players, coaches — we have to recognize where we’re at,’’ Pearl said Sunday. “We’re a game out of first, or a game out of last, and we’re at a point on our schedule where in order to win we’re going to have to play better.’’

Pearl will return to the bench for UT’s 9 p.m. Tuesday game at Rupp Arena against the Wildcats (16-6, 4-4), having finished serving his eight-game SEC suspension.

Pearl said it’s “possible” that Vols leading scorer Scotty Hopson (16.5 points per game) will return to the lineup after missing the past two games because of a sprained ankle he suffered in practice last Tuesday.

Hopson took part in Sunday’s light practice and didn’t appear to be too hobbled. But the Vols weren’t at full speed, and Pearl said Hopson’s ankle condition would be monitored closely and further evaluated today before any decision is made.

“You just get ready as fast as you can get ready,’’ Pearl said when asked if Hopson has added incentive to return because UT is playing Kentucky. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing.’’

Pearl said playing the Wildcats in Rupp Arena amounts to a “monumental task,’’ because “Kentucky hasn’t lost at home (this season) and doesn’t lose at home.’’

Indeed, the Wildcats are 10-0 at home this season, and the Vols have dropped four straight in Lexington since Pearl won in his Rupp Arena debut by a 75-67 count in 2006.

None of the current UT players have won at Kentucky.

“I’ve never been in another place like that, and I know I haven’t won there,’’ Vols’ senior center Brian Williams said. “I don’t even think it’s been close.’’

Tennessee’s average margin of defeat in its past four trips to Kentucky is 13.75 points, and no game has been closer than six points.

Williams is at a loss to explain it.

“Kentucky isn’t that loud; I’ve played in louder places,’’ Williams said. “I can’t explain what it is about Rupp, but it’s something.

“I guess it’s the old ghosts in there messing with you.’’

Pearl said that step one for the Vols is to recover from Saturday’s heartbreaker.

“This (Alabama) loss will be a hard one to bounce back from, especially with only one day to really prepare,’’ said Pearl, who will travel with the team to Lexington after a short practice today in Knoxville. “Tennessee can’t beat itself.

“I think after we lost to Florida in overtime this year, we came out and went down 17 to Vanderbilt at the half of our next game,’’ he said. “We have to snap out of this quicker.’’

McRae Suspension: Pearl said there’s a chance that freshman wing Jordan McRae, suspended Jan. 21 for using inappropriate language on the team bus in Connecticut, could return later this week.

Nagging Statistic: Alabama didn’t score a field goal in the final 4 minutes, 29 seconds of regulation, nor in the five minutes of overtime.

The Tide went 10 of 10 from the free-throw line to pull out the win.

“It’s real frustrating when you hear that statistic,’’ UT freshman Tobias Harris said Saturday. “You’d have thought we’d win that game. That just shows we didn’t convert on the offensive end.

“I think we were the tougher team, but we didn’t close it out.’’

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Comments » 29

VOLDoll writes:

There goes the neighborhood!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I did not enjoy watching UA outplay us...nor the lazy officiating.
Bama closed it out with good free throw shooting. We'll need every point we can muster against UK. but if we don't work harder on defense we just won't win most nights. Also our offense did not work as a team...again. The point needs to control that. The one starter I felt played hard on D and Offense was Tatum. I felt Harris played well but not as well as he is capable. We missed Hopson a lot more than I thought we would. We didn't hit any 3s when we needed them. It was a tough defensive game second half and we had a shot at winning...it just seemed we didn't click till towards the end of regulation. Nothing went right in overtime. Refs to me seem to just let everbody beat up on Williams. Maybe. I'm a little depressed about this one. I'd rather beat Bama than Ky. I hate Kentucky.lol
Don't quit on us Vols! Beat Wildcats!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

There's an odor drifting down from somewhere ...oh it's Dolly! Dang that's a strong perfume ...or something!

tennessee47 writes:

I hope they lose more games. If he can not turn the team around. Then it time for new head coach.We give him more than they gave pearl.I it getting out hand what we giving these coaches.When is going to stop. If there school does not get together decide to put cap on it.
These coaches will keep milking the school death,.
It not the only who want fork out the money. You got alumni who is the main reason for it.

TennVol01 writes:

"Tennessee cannot beat itself" ...

Yet the team finds ways to do so. It is difficult for fans who saw last years team do so well ... and now we have a more talented team yet have already lost eight games. As the team and fans wait on the upcoming NCAA sanctions, credibility and confidence is waning. The powers at UT should have kept silent about sanctions until they arrived. By making a big announcement to the world, the SEC stepped in early and stripped Pearl of eight games. Then UT cut all the coaches salaries. (who can give 100% after you lost a chunch of your salary?) Also, every sports broadcaster out there are like sharks every time the work a UT game.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

Tell you what..that Bama game sucked, and especially our lack of clutch plays at the end.

Sure, a little tired...but to shoot that poorly all game, and to have such a great chance to close it out.

A quick note: what in the HELL is Steven Pearl doing taking a ball to the rack?? Pull up, bank off the glass. He can't dunk, so don't even attempt to challenge a good big man, especially when you know the ref's aren't going your way.

Dumb, dumb play, and more than once.

sirshanksalot writes:

in response to tennessee47:

I hope they lose more games. If he can not turn the team around. Then it time for new head coach.We give him more than they gave pearl.I it getting out hand what we giving these coaches.When is going to stop. If there school does not get together decide to put cap on it.
These coaches will keep milking the school death,.
It not the only who want fork out the money. You got alumni who is the main reason for it.

I thinc it time,:; you go bac 2 elimintry skool. too lern gramer an punksooashun.....

VOLKING writes:

in response to VOLDoll:

There goes the neighborhood!

Why? Oh yeah, because you are here.

tennessee47 writes:

I get so tired of every one keep talking about UT sport. Never about any thing else about UT. Like there law school or medical school. Every thing is put on back burner. It all Sport program .

chiputfan writes:

in response to tennessee47:

I get so tired of every one keep talking about UT sport. Never about any thing else about UT. Like there law school or medical school. Every thing is put on back burner. It all Sport program .

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to tennessee47:

I get so tired of every one keep talking about UT sport. Never about any thing else about UT. Like there law school or medical school. Every thing is put on back burner. It all Sport program .

I get so tired of little turd making dumb comment. Little turd like talk about law school. Bet little turd only know law school when plead guilty for Food Stamp fraud and free lawyer tell little turd plead guilty. Little turd need go home.

RememberTheVols writes:

in response to tennessee47:

I get so tired of every one keep talking about UT sport. Never about any thing else about UT. Like there law school or medical school. Every thing is put on back burner. It all Sport program .

I agree with tennessee47's comment however disjointed it may be.

easleychuck writes:

in response to tennessee47:

I hope they lose more games. If he can not turn the team around. Then it time for new head coach.We give him more than they gave pearl.I it getting out hand what we giving these coaches.When is going to stop. If there school does not get together decide to put cap on it.
These coaches will keep milking the school death,.
It not the only who want fork out the money. You got alumni who is the main reason for it.

Brad Paisley pretty much summed it up in one word--Alcohol.

brod writes:

brian williams is a mop up only guy. it's time for pearl to realize that you don't feed it down to him when you need a big bucket against a team with a good inside game. it's pretty much a waisted possesion. reality check time...he is not wayne chism. i'm dreading this trip to rupp. they will be pissed after their loss to florida.

JohnnyD writes:

Not sure why no one has mentioned that the Vols were playing on one day of rest...

The announcers were horrible for the Alabama game! Lets go Vols...you can do it!!!

TennVol01 writes:

in response to tennessee47:

I get so tired of every one keep talking about UT sport. Never about any thing else about UT. Like there law school or medical school. Every thing is put on back burner. It all Sport program .

Last I looked ... this is the sports section. It is for sports fans. If you dislike sports, why are you reading this? UT's law and medicine schools are very good, but this is not the section to discuss them.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Then quit subbing so much and let one group of players get into the flow of the game. Seems everytime a group of players start making a run they all come out and a cold new bunch come in.

brod writes:

someone needs to tell tennessee47 that butchering the english language on this website is a bad idea. no need to give anyone that posts here a reason to make fun of you. we seem enjoy a good laugh at someone else's expense.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to JohnnyD:

Not sure why no one has mentioned that the Vols were playing on one day of rest...

The announcers were horrible for the Alabama game! Lets go Vols...you can do it!!!

I'ts OK. They got plenty of rest first half.(haha)

Futurecoach16 writes:

in response to TennVol01:

"Tennessee cannot beat itself" ...

Yet the team finds ways to do so. It is difficult for fans who saw last years team do so well ... and now we have a more talented team yet have already lost eight games. As the team and fans wait on the upcoming NCAA sanctions, credibility and confidence is waning. The powers at UT should have kept silent about sanctions until they arrived. By making a big announcement to the world, the SEC stepped in early and stripped Pearl of eight games. Then UT cut all the coaches salaries. (who can give 100% after you lost a chunch of your salary?) Also, every sports broadcaster out there are like sharks every time the work a UT game.

I think you missed the meaning behind "Tennessee cannot beat itself". He didn't mean it as they physically can't beat themselves, but rather if they want to win something, they can't beat themselves...

tenndave writes:

in response to RememberTheVols:

I agree with tennessee47's comment however disjointed it may be.

These are the dumbest comments I have ever heard. Why would you go to a sports site and expect to talk about things other than sports.

DUH! and capitals don' t do it justice.

mcdevitt#229126 writes:

I believe the BBall team loses at least four more - @ KY, @ FL, @ Vandy, and KY in Ktown. That makes 12 loses and puts us on the bubble for NCAA. Unfortunately, I think we are playing our way out of the big dance and into the NIT. Then its going to be a couple of years of sanctions and no SEC tourney, NCAA, NIT, etc. Look for the Basketball Program to hit a new low in the next 18 months before we get a new coach. Its very hard to watch the sinking ship go down so slowly. All we can do is hold our heads up and hope the NCAA does not hammer the program too bad.

johnlg00 writes:

True, the Vols didn't have one of their better-executed games Saturday. They played hard but their shots just didn't drop. Surprised no one mentioned that Golden, a better than 80% free-throw shooter, missed two in the late going. If he makes even one of those, the Vols probably win. Not blaming the loss on Golden, just pointing out that the Vols were THAT close to winning against a pretty solid Bama bunch. We have already seen that they can beat anybody when they don't beat themselves by playing sloppy. They aren't dead yet but they are rapidly running out of slack. They can drop this one Tuesday, though they could just as easily win it, and still be alive for a good seed.

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to AtlantaHawk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't understand your point. McRae has been suspended for saying the N word in front of boosters. BP found out, talked to him, investigated, talked to his parents and suspended him. He's been suspended longer than SEC players with DUI's, players who tweeted and berated their coach, players who have been busted 5 times in the UF drug program, players who have hit or threatened to kill women, players who had illegal agent contact, players living in a hotel at no charge, players driving escalades on ala campus, and players whose family solicit 200k from universities. Get my drift? Don't know how this point makes him a "snake oil salesman", in your words.

brod writes:

in response to AtlantaHawk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i wish i had as much confidence in this schizo team as you do. rupp arena is a hard place to win even for the best of ut teams.

RockyTopVolFan writes:

in response to VOLDoll:

There goes the neighborhood!

Your post was 1st and methinks the funniest!
lol

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

Bama has great athletes who are quick, can jump out of the gym and run the floor with the best of them. They beat Ky in Tusculoosa. Ky has some similar athlets but probably not as many. We need to learn to shield the ball around the basket when we play these shot blocking teams. Others on the team missed critical free throws as well as Golden. The unforced turnovers should be a thing of the past by now. It would probably have been best for Bruce to miss the entire season. His selfishness has already caused problems and I am afraid will cause even more problems for our beloved basketball program down the line. The brief return for the UCONN game was a joke. Now for a miracle at Lexington tonight. GO VOLS!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Cards are somewhat stacked against us at Rupp..This team only goes as far as our guards take us;If one or more has a bad shooting night;we struggle..Basketball is a shooters game.Even if our defense is a little lax; hot shooting from 2 guards win us the game.Harris and Williams will do their job but as was proven in the Bama game if Goins goes 0 for 10; thats 10 possessions and 20 points we don't get!!Same can be said for Tatum and Hopson..Simplistic as it is; it's still fact

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Can't see us winning this one, with or without Hopson. We lose by 15 without Hopson, lose by 8 with him.

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