Mark Wiedmer: Basketball Vols about to get back to normal

Tennessee guard Skylar McBee shoots a three-pointer during the game against Alabama at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.  The Vols lost 65-60 to the Crimson Tide during overtime.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Skylar McBee shoots a three-pointer during the game against Alabama at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. The Vols lost 65-60 to the Crimson Tide during overtime.

KNOXVILLE -- Forget Tennessee's 65-60 overtime loss to Alabama on Saturday evening, head-scratching though it might be. Forget, too, that this was the Volunteers' second OT defeat on home hardwood in this Southeastern Conference basketball season.

Both of those facts may indeed be important as UT attempts to stay in the hunt for an SEC East championship halfway through the conference season. As is the fact that leading scorer Scotty Hopson missed his second straight start with a high ankle sprain.

But what most of the Big Orange Nation is anxiously anticipating arrives Tuesday night at Kentucky's Rupp Arena. UT coach Bruce Pearl returns from his eight-game league suspension just in time to slip on that neon orange blazer against the Wildcats.

Or as Vols junior guard Cameron Tatum said when asked if Pearl's return could be any better timed: "No, it couldn't."

Continue reading at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Links

Comments » 23

Katphan29 writes:

Looking forward to UT at Rupp.

RockyTopRampage writes:

This is a must-win. Play hard, men. And as a bonus you get to see Calipari's p.o.'ed face after we hand the Mildcats a back-to-back loss

dvols writes:

aftr looking at the basketball recruiting (rivals) commits for this year....TN will be back to "normal" pretty soon...

VolunteerLifer writes:

I don't see how the team can get back to 'normal' any time soon with the musical chair of head coaches happening right now. Maybe after Pearl gets settled back into the job of coaching the games. Even then, one thing we've learned about this schizoid team is that nothing is 'normal' for them.

givehim6 writes:

The bball Vols need to work on how thay manage there time & energy, I'm not trying to nag just in both there OT losses thay have done the same thing, started off slow in the first half then played lights out in the second half to end in OT. But by OT the tank is empty.

TennVol01 writes:

At least Kentucky is not a home game. This has been a terrible season for home games. With the quality of players that the Vols have...they should never lose a home game. What's up with that?

Katphan29 writes:

in response to dvols:

aftr looking at the basketball recruiting (rivals) commits for this year....TN will be back to "normal" pretty soon...

While it is true that UK brings in the number one recruiting class in the nation next year, it also brings in a new crop of freshmen.

Sometimes seasoned players who stick with a university for four years bodes better for a school, although certainly the equation starts with talent.

One can never predict how a team will gel. Look at Mich State this year - who could have predicted how bad they are playing.

I think UK will be better at the end of the year than they are now, and hope they can finish 3d in the SEC East.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I am hearing rumblings from many Cat "fans" that are getting tired of Cal's "one and done" philosophy.

This week is the whole season as far as the Vols' conference play goes. This week will determine where the Vols will finish in the SEC reg. season. Next 5 games are the hardest conference stretch by far.

Katphan29 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

I am hearing rumblings from many Cat "fans" that are getting tired of Cal's "one and done" philosophy.

This week is the whole season as far as the Vols' conference play goes. This week will determine where the Vols will finish in the SEC reg. season. Next 5 games are the hardest conference stretch by far.

UK fans are like fans anywhere, the (we) complain and gripe about anything. If we weren't pulling in the top recruits, Cat fans would be complaining about that too.

I'm of the mindset - Cal said this - that you either play them, or you play against them. I'm fine with it, but clearly there is a price to pay for it.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Looking forward to UT at Rupp.

Likewise Katphan. Pretty important to both teams.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

I don't see how the team can get back to 'normal' any time soon with the musical chair of head coaches happening right now. Maybe after Pearl gets settled back into the job of coaching the games. Even then, one thing we've learned about this schizoid team is that nothing is 'normal' for them.

Mark Gottfried said the Vols are best in the SEC. And on some nights he's right.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TennVol01:

At least Kentucky is not a home game. This has been a terrible season for home games. With the quality of players that the Vols have...they should never lose a home game. What's up with that?

fOcUs! I should say lack of. This team is not always efficient when it counts.

Plenty of time and opportunity to put Bama away. Didn't do it.

james#216392 writes:

UK will be fired up and this is a loss. We will beat them in Knoxville. I can't believe Florida let UK back in the game last night. Up 13 and then the wrong players starting taking all the shots for Florida. No time outs were taken and Billy sat there and let it happen.

I wished there was a way all teams could be 100% equal when the season started talent wise. I beleive we would see that some of the big names (Coach K, Cal, Billy) would not be the top teams. They win because of their talent as much as coaching. A big name college coach told me one time that its more about Jim's and Joe's than X's and O's. I think he was right. I have coached 30 years and players make a lot of the difference. It is funny how certain plays make you look good when good players are running it. That same play looks herrible when the talent is weak. Welcome back Bruce and Go VOls.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Katphan29:

While it is true that UK brings in the number one recruiting class in the nation next year, it also brings in a new crop of freshmen.

Sometimes seasoned players who stick with a university for four years bodes better for a school, although certainly the equation starts with talent.

One can never predict how a team will gel. Look at Mich State this year - who could have predicted how bad they are playing.

I think UK will be better at the end of the year than they are now, and hope they can finish 3d in the SEC East.

I've NEVER heard a UK fan say "I hope they can finish 3rd in the SEC East."

You could get people on the Big Blue board whizzing down their leg with that line Kat.

murrayvol writes:

in response to james#216392:

UK will be fired up and this is a loss. We will beat them in Knoxville. I can't believe Florida let UK back in the game last night. Up 13 and then the wrong players starting taking all the shots for Florida. No time outs were taken and Billy sat there and let it happen.

I wished there was a way all teams could be 100% equal when the season started talent wise. I beleive we would see that some of the big names (Coach K, Cal, Billy) would not be the top teams. They win because of their talent as much as coaching. A big name college coach told me one time that its more about Jim's and Joe's than X's and O's. I think he was right. I have coached 30 years and players make a lot of the difference. It is funny how certain plays make you look good when good players are running it. That same play looks herrible when the talent is weak. Welcome back Bruce and Go VOls.

You make some good points but remember Florida doesn't have any "stars" on that team.

They've got good players but not a one will make all SEC. And if they can beat the Vols next week they're in great shape to be SEC champs.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Mark Gottfried said the Vols are best in the SEC. And on some nights he's right.

Maybe the best, maybe not. We do have three losses at the half-way point, two of them at home, and we haven't gone to Kentucky, Florida, or Vandy yet.

But the issue I was raising is: What is 'normal' for this team?

rockytopnation16 writes:

I am sick and tired of Overtime losses, as well as 1-point losses. It's very frustrating...1 freethrow, 1 shot, 1 bad call, decides the winner. Vols, please don't let it come down to that, you're going to give me a heart attack. I predict an win at Rupp Arena on Tuesday. Vols:65 UK: 60 GO VOLS!!!!

jandjhome#228397 writes:

BAMA has a good team. We made a good comback and should have won without going into overtime. If Harris had not missed his second basket on the one and one, there would have been no overtime, but if's do not win games. Green is very good but he played 14 minutes with four fouls on him which is hard to believe. This one may come home to haunt us.

Katphan29 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

I've NEVER heard a UK fan say "I hope they can finish 3rd in the SEC East."

You could get people on the Big Blue board whizzing down their leg with that line Kat.

VolFan in Murray, I hope UK can finish FIRST in the SEC, but realistically, if they finish 3d - at this point - I will be happy. Just looking at what is feasible.

I think we will have wins at home against FL, Vandy, and UT, but will likely lose in Knoxville, and possibly Vandy.

This UK team is improving....but slowly, very slowly.

John_10065 writes:

in response to Katphan29:

UK fans are like fans anywhere, the (we) complain and gripe about anything. If we weren't pulling in the top recruits, Cat fans would be complaining about that too.

I'm of the mindset - Cal said this - that you either play them, or you play against them. I'm fine with it, but clearly there is a price to pay for it.

I don't get to listen to local UT radio here in south central Indiana. But I can say this, if what I hear out of the UK "faithful" around here after they lose a few is the same in Knoxville, I am glad I don't hear it.

They have some great fans but they have more than their fair share of VERY vocal whiners.

clvolfan writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Maybe the best, maybe not. We do have three losses at the half-way point, two of them at home, and we haven't gone to Kentucky, Florida, or Vandy yet.

But the issue I was raising is: What is 'normal' for this team?

I myself wondered,what did they mean by normal?If you go back pre-Pearl,that's normal.I do not ever want the VOLS to be back to normal again.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Maybe the best, maybe not. We do have three losses at the half-way point, two of them at home, and we haven't gone to Kentucky, Florida, or Vandy yet.

But the issue I was raising is: What is 'normal' for this team?

Not sure what's "normal" for this team.

What's not normal is Category 5 turmoil coupled with an 8 game suspension for the HC. When CBP is back on the bench and Hopson back in the lineup maybe then.....maybe not.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Katphan29:

VolFan in Murray, I hope UK can finish FIRST in the SEC, but realistically, if they finish 3d - at this point - I will be happy. Just looking at what is feasible.

I think we will have wins at home against FL, Vandy, and UT, but will likely lose in Knoxville, and possibly Vandy.

This UK team is improving....but slowly, very slowly.

We'll both know more after Tuesday night.

With 2 home losses our SEC hopes hinge on beating UK & FU on the road. That doesn't happen often.

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