Vols could see change at point guard

Pearl says McBee, Bone may get more time against S. Carolina

Bruce Pearl: "We need better point guards to win"

Forward, rewind. Forward, rewind.

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl ran the tape of the Florida game back and forth on Sunday, searching for answers.

The Vols (15-10, 5-5 SEC) played one of their best games of the season against the Gators on Saturday, hitting an SEC-best 49 percent from the floor and grabbing a season-high 14 steals.

And still, it wasn't enough, as UT fell to No. 17 Florida, 61-60.

Pearl recognizes that when his team's best isn't good enough, change is in order. Tennessee's next men's basketball game is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Thompson-Boling Arena against South Carolina (13-10, 4-6).

"We have to have better point guard play, so there could be some changes,'' Pearl said. "Right now, it's Melvin Goins and Trae Golden. It could have to be Skylar McBee or Josh Bone. That could be in the cards against South Carolina.''

UT fans will remember that without Goins, the Vols likely would not have beaten San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season. Nor would Tennessee have beaten top 10 teams Villanova and Pitt earlier this season without Goins' stellar play.

But Goins has struggled to make plays recently, dishing out two assists in the 94 minutes he has played over the past three games.

Golden, Georgia's high school player of the year last season, has four assists in 33 minutes over the past three games and has failed to score a field goal.

"We've got to get our point guards to distribute the ball more efficiently,'' Pearl said. "I know Melvin is capable of it. It's going to require him to be more aggressive getting to the basket to make plays for others.''

McBee, who currently backs up Scotty Hopson at shooting guard, had strong performances in wins over Vanderbilt and Georgia while running the point.

Bone has proven valuable most anywhere he has played this season, and like McBee, he brings an element of hustle that has sparked UT.

Pearl doesn't necessarily believe the Vols are broken as much as they are in need of some fine-tuning at point guard.

"After South Carolina Wednesday we'll have gone through everyone in the league except Mississippi State, and there's no one we can't beat,'' Pearl said. "We had better rhythm offensively at Florida, and it was good to see Scotty back being aggressive again and attacking the basket.

"It's just a matter of getting guys on the same page.''

Timeout review: Pearl reversed his stance on his decision not to call a timeout when he saw the final play going awry.

"I've gone through the last possession a number of times (on tape),'' Pearl said. "I should have called timeout with five seconds left when we didn't have floor balance. It was 14.7 (seconds) when the ball went through the net (on Erving Walker's basket). At the 12-second mark, I'm calling the set, and that's a long time to get to our spots.

"But we just didn't get to our spots. At that point, what we should be trying to do is drive the ball to the basket.''

No Charity: The Vols are last in the SEC in free-throw attempts per game, averaging 14.8.

LSU ranks 11th in the SEC in that category at 17.1 per game. Vanderbilt, averaging 25.9 shots per game from the foul line, leads the SEC.

"The bottom line (against Florida), was that we went to the foul line 10 times and Erving Walker went to the line 10 times,'' Pearl said. "I can not comment any more on that.''

UT led the nation at one point prior to the start of SEC play in free-throw attempts per field-goal attempt.

Hot Scotty: Hopson is the top 3-point shooter in SEC play, making 16 of 33 from 3-point range (48 percent) in UT's 10 SEC games.

"I felt we did a lot of great things,'' Hopson said after the loss to Florida. "Guys had that swagger again, and we all felt we were going to win.

"We made some progress as far as guys realizing what it's going to take.''

RPI watch: The Vols have dropped to No. 25 in the most recent RPI ratings, but they still boast the No. 3 strength of schedule nationally, according to RealTimeRpi.com.

UT's RPI doesn't figure to get a boost with its next opponent, as South Carolina is only 120 in the RPI ratings.

The Vols have the highest RPI of any 10-loss team in the nation. The next-best RPI for a team with 10 losses is Michigan State, coming in at No. 48. The Spartans are 13-10 overall, 6-6 in the Big Ten, and have the No. 8 strength of schedule.

UT was listed as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament by ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi prior to its loss to Florida on Saturday.

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Comments » 72

flatrock writes:

Hard to put all the blame on Goins. He has certainly struggled, but he hasn't had much help.
Vol posts don't catch well, and shoot even worse;
and the Vols don't generate many fast-break opportunities from their defense. Net result:
very few assist chances for our PGs. Bruce admitted that our last possession was a disaster
from the very start, so I am still scratching my head as to why somebody didn't call timeout.
Hopson had a size advantage on his guy, so a
4-out alignment with him on the low block
would have forced Florida to collapse
and leave an outside shooter open. Bruce's teams
have gone from being a force on inbounds offense
and defense to being a farce. Seems like he did
a better job with Buzz's boys than he has with his own recruits!

pastorbmp#612314 writes:

in response to flatrock:

Hard to put all the blame on Goins. He has certainly struggled, but he hasn't had much help.
Vol posts don't catch well, and shoot even worse;
and the Vols don't generate many fast-break opportunities from their defense. Net result:
very few assist chances for our PGs. Bruce admitted that our last possession was a disaster
from the very start, so I am still scratching my head as to why somebody didn't call timeout.
Hopson had a size advantage on his guy, so a
4-out alignment with him on the low block
would have forced Florida to collapse
and leave an outside shooter open. Bruce's teams
have gone from being a force on inbounds offense
and defense to being a farce. Seems like he did
a better job with Buzz's boys than he has with his own recruits!

"Seems like he did a better job with Buzz's boys than he has with his own recruits!" -Flatrock

Funny, but this seems to be so true.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

in response to pastorbmp#612314:

"Seems like he did a better job with Buzz's boys than he has with his own recruits!" -Flatrock

Funny, but this seems to be so true.

not really true at all.

both sets had split-second chances to make big runs in the NCAA. you folks are getting spoiled. Badly.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

I'm not going to pound this, because it's well-known that
-SEC road reffing sucks
-Bruce and the Vols are getting some punishment by the refs.

Look at Walkers basket....huge amount of holding, blocking, and fouling against UT's interior players.

govolsbaby writes:

ive not paid much attention to mcbee but i hope we start him at point.
he reminds me of my favorite player steve nash.
6'3'', white, no.13, good 3 point shooter...
but ive yet to see if he has the passing skills
pearls PGs have never been ones known for dishing out the ball and setting up scorers thats something id like to see change!
2 assists in 94min? cmon goinss!

TennVol01 writes:

McBee can't hit the side of a barn from 10 feet. He claims to shoot 400 plus shots a day, 6 days a week...but never tells us how many went in. Please, please, please, only put him in if we are 20 points ahead. He is so reckless when he gets the ball. Did Pearl fall and hit his head, and told no one??

jumboliyah writes:

we shuda, we cuda, we probably will, we might, I thought, after I looked, we haven't, we were, earlier we...., HOW ABOUT THIS STOP TALKING AND START DOING!!!!!!!

NEWSFLASH...foot in their rear, trash cans on the court, push em till they puke....BINGO...they get better...it ain't rocket science Bruce....Pat Summit's been doing it for 35 years...try it, it works!

We're tired of your gas...

jumboliyah writes:

I'm sick of the gangsta rapping pre game huddle, the flying wing run, the laughing after making a break away, the salutes, the standing at attention...how about running these guys till they puke and quit or grow up. I've been buying season tickets since 1972 and if the current status continues I will not be buying them in 2011-12.

jumboliyah writes:

McBee at PG...really? I thought Goins was the one that landed on his head Saturday.

cdldoc#211897 writes:

in response to jumboliyah:

I'm sick of the gangsta rapping pre game huddle, the flying wing run, the laughing after making a break away, the salutes, the standing at attention...how about running these guys till they puke and quit or grow up. I've been buying season tickets since 1972 and if the current status continues I will not be buying them in 2011-12.

I don't think you will be missed. So then you think this is worse than Buzz ball? Get a shrink.

richvol writes:

The five players on the floor have never been allowed to get into any type of rhythm and consequently any chemistry.

If you are going to press teams then you need to sub but the style of play Pearl has switched to needs 8 players...and that's only for breathers.

The different combinations of players Pearl constantly changes causes subtle differences in every play. The point guard,who changes every five minutes as well,doesn't know exactly where others are going to be so it makes it impossible to anticipate or plan.

I'm wasting my breath though...Pearl will never change his tune.

b24vol writes:

THE WAY WE'RE PLAYING....NIT with 14 losses

chrisw2967 writes:

Put Mcmiss at the point and might as well cancel the rest of the season.He is not the answer by any means.He cant play any def. and sure cant play no off.Maybe Pearl should look at benching Mcmiss and stop all the rotating and see what happens.

FeelVol writes:

in response to richvol:

The five players on the floor have never been allowed to get into any type of rhythm and consequently any chemistry.

If you are going to press teams then you need to sub but the style of play Pearl has switched to needs 8 players...and that's only for breathers.

The different combinations of players Pearl constantly changes causes subtle differences in every play. The point guard,who changes every five minutes as well,doesn't know exactly where others are going to be so it makes it impossible to anticipate or plan.

I'm wasting my breath though...Pearl will never change his tune.

I certainly agree with you richvol and I feel that Pearl has no control over this team also the five on the court at the end of the game have lost us several games.Ready for changes.

VOL75ga writes:

Perimeter passing may move the ball on the outside but aren’t most fouls committed when someone is driving to the basket? And running the clock down to 10 seconds or less before going to the basket smells of desperation. I seem to remember in the first 7 games when they looked great and were winning, EVERYONE was going to the basket at some point. You can’t get your free throw attempts up if you don’t get fouled, but then this team is a poor free throw shooting team anyway.

baneberry writes:

I didn't think the officiating made any difference. UT likes to grab and hold and I thought the referees let them play for the most part. BP commented that Walker went to the FT line 10 times himself. It comes down to the fact that we were 40% from the FT line. Whoever works with the players shooting FT's should be canned.

tnvol4ever writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not sure how well Bone can play the point but he has shot the ball pretty well as of late. Would love to see him get more minutes. Walker went to the floor a few times simply because he was off balance and we got called for it. I think we were gun shy on his winning basket because of it.

shipperman#280095 writes:

This is Pearl speak for: My son needs to play PG, so he can get more time. As soon as the NCAA slams us, and they are going to, FIRE BRUCE PEARL

tennisvol writes:

Let's see now - Scotty is the best 3 pt. shooter in the SEC and Goins throws it up at the buzzer.
Pearl's right, he should have called a time out.

TennVol01 writes:

in response to b24vol:

THE WAY WE'RE PLAYING....NIT with 14 losses

Currently, UT is not even attractive to the NIT.

TennVol01 writes:

in response to jumboliyah:

I'm sick of the gangsta rapping pre game huddle, the flying wing run, the laughing after making a break away, the salutes, the standing at attention...how about running these guys till they puke and quit or grow up. I've been buying season tickets since 1972 and if the current status continues I will not be buying them in 2011-12.

Spot On !!
You left off the way they walk/shuffle to the locker room at the end of the first half...while the opponents trot or run to the locker room. This is no longer a team. It is a group of athletes who are looking out for number one.

brod writes:

point guard play has been a problem this year. might be a little too late for the change. too bad we had bobby maze just two years. i just wonder who tennessee will play in the first round of the nit....on a side note, sorry guys but coaching was not the problem saturday. this team just can't get it done. the come up short in the end most of the time.

eduardo writes:

All a pg has to do is drive and dish and get back on D...thats all!!!!

wigmeister writes:

Time to face reality. There were very high hopes for this team going into the season. Veteran team. A lot of talk and bravado early on. But, this team has major weaknesses, and they aren't going to go away. I thought before the season this might be the year. But, alas, they may be NIT bound. They are not a fast team. Pressure bothers them. They can't shoot foul shots with any consistency. We do not have any confident pure shooters. They are sloppy. Floor coaching has not been awesome, especially at ends of games. Either they turn it around quick, or this season will be totally lost. That is reality.

Ironcity writes:

in response to Claudettevol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He lost his cool when the 17yr old kneed him in the groin and Hopson was called for a foul. The refs have not given UT any respect this year but thats not the reason we are falling short. Pearl has pinpointed the problem however I am not sure the solution is on the team.

Ironcity writes:

in response to eduardo:

All a pg has to do is drive and dish and get back on D...thats all!!!!

Those are three things Goins doesn't do.

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to eduardo:

All a pg has to do is drive and dish and get back on D...thats all!!!!

And the winner!! That is it. Go get the ball, direct traffic, drive and finish or dish or get to the line. Of course McBee isn't a great fit, but I guarantee he has more than 1 assist per game because he can pump, penetrate a little and is about the only guard that knows how to get good passing angles. 3 assists in 3 games is horrid.

LiveFaith writes:

This has all the same feelings of Phil trying to decide to bench Crompton and try Stevens. Not happy thots.

brokendownoldvol writes:

What a joke. Just put Steven Pearl at pt. He hustles and tries as hard as he can. At TN it doesn't matter that he has no business on the court with Div I players. He hustles!

abnermc writes:

in response to Claudettevol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There's a lot you "don't realize" hon,if you don't believe swagger is important in BB games

Madkels writes:

How do players at this level only hit 40% of their free throws? If this team was just a tad above average from the line, both losses to UF would be wins and the Bama loss would be a win. Watching the lady Vols against Vandy wasn't much better late in the game on Sunday. I hope CBP puts them on the line for hours until it improves.

oldbasshead writes:

There no mystery here. Hit your free throws and rebound better and you win every close game you have lost this year.

lomas98 writes:

in response to Madkels:

How do players at this level only hit 40% of their free throws? If this team was just a tad above average from the line, both losses to UF would be wins and the Bama loss would be a win. Watching the lady Vols against Vandy wasn't much better late in the game on Sunday. I hope CBP puts them on the line for hours until it improves.

While I agree players should hit better than 40%, TN as a team is actually shooting pretty average compared to their peers. They rank right in the middle of the free throw percentage rankings in the whole country. I don't know if we have any one player shooting 40%, but they did as a team Saturday night and I think Hopson was 1-4. While true if they hit just 2 more free throws they would have won, what if FL hit 2 more too. Every team can make the same argument. Wisonsin leads the country in percentage at around 82%. There are only 4 top 25 teams in the top 25 of ft rankings. You can practice them all you want for hours, but doing them in a game is a different animal.

VOLHEAD writes:

Free throws, folks, free throws. I'm not exactly sure how many we missed, but I'm certain that had we made some we missed we would have won this game.

richvol writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am seeing the same things.

Bogytrain writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Being an obsessed troll is not a pretty thing dude. You need another hobby for sure.

theoldbear writes:

Point guard play has been a weakness of every Bruce Pearl team.

The best passer on this team is Brian Williams. But I wouldn't move him to point guard!

If Bruce thinks McBee will be the next Dane Bradshaw, I think he's mistaken.

Playing Steven Pearl at the point makes about as much sense as any other possibile change. Which is none.

What is needed is for Melvin Goins to play point guard, and four other players to play team basketball. All at the same time. I haven't seen that much all season.

I've heard it said that Hopson is leaving after this year. Please!

I've heard it said that Harris is one and done. Not the way he's playing the last three or four games.

Maymon finally got on the floor Saturday. Out of shape, out of sync, out of the game.

This team has no leader, on or off the floor, and no chemistry.

Yet they could still win 20 games. Or finish with a losing record.

I count six games that have been lost due to last minute ineptitude.

Well, at least it has been a total team "effort"!

MusicCityVol writes:

Whoever the point guard is needs to be able to organize the team and lead them into an offensive set in late game situations. That has been a problem ALL YEAR! There are other things that need improving so as to avoid the last second shots but the fact is in the college game teams are going to have to win some games at the end of regualtion. UT can't do that. Even the UGA buzzer-beater was one where Williams bailed the team out from an atrocious airball off a disorganized set.

I've blogged about it if you care to read more. I've even put up some video of a couple of late game situations that the Vols have found themselves in this year.
http://checkerboardchatter.blogspot.c...

Ironcity writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why do you waste yours and our time on this sight? You have to be beyond a total zero to continue your diatribe day in and day out.

Ironcity writes:

in response to theoldbear:

Point guard play has been a weakness of every Bruce Pearl team.

The best passer on this team is Brian Williams. But I wouldn't move him to point guard!

If Bruce thinks McBee will be the next Dane Bradshaw, I think he's mistaken.

Playing Steven Pearl at the point makes about as much sense as any other possibile change. Which is none.

What is needed is for Melvin Goins to play point guard, and four other players to play team basketball. All at the same time. I haven't seen that much all season.

I've heard it said that Hopson is leaving after this year. Please!

I've heard it said that Harris is one and done. Not the way he's playing the last three or four games.

Maymon finally got on the floor Saturday. Out of shape, out of sync, out of the game.

This team has no leader, on or off the floor, and no chemistry.

Yet they could still win 20 games. Or finish with a losing record.

I count six games that have been lost due to last minute ineptitude.

Well, at least it has been a total team "effort"!

Really the issue is its hard to sit a player that puts forth the effort Goins does when their isn't a obviously better choice. The fact is he makes everyone on the court worse then they truly are. The kid has guts and he is easy to root for but having him on the court more then 15 minutes a game is detrimental to this team. Hopson and Harris rarely get the ball timely. Its unfair to throw the ball to Hopson with 5 seconds on the shot clock and expect him to get a good shot off. Its unfair to ask Harris to drive from the top of the key to score his points. Goins makes me yearn for the days of Jordan Howell the last guard we had that made everyone on the floor worse then they were.

cargen#1339565 writes:

It is a shame every coach that was on tv this week in any game wanted to do the calling of the game or making complaints to the refs. Pitt. Nova. Purdue, Tn. ( Pat and Bruce both riding the refs. If the actions of all coaches were recorded,the outcome would be the same, they are doing it to me. Come on NCABB comish clean up the behavior of both coach and player. It would be nice to be able to watch a game without all of the body decor on the warriors,feathers and head turbans will be next.

Ironcity writes:

in response to lomas98:

While I agree players should hit better than 40%, TN as a team is actually shooting pretty average compared to their peers. They rank right in the middle of the free throw percentage rankings in the whole country. I don't know if we have any one player shooting 40%, but they did as a team Saturday night and I think Hopson was 1-4. While true if they hit just 2 more free throws they would have won, what if FL hit 2 more too. Every team can make the same argument. Wisonsin leads the country in percentage at around 82%. There are only 4 top 25 teams in the top 25 of ft rankings. You can practice them all you want for hours, but doing them in a game is a different animal.

Well said. the only thing I might change is we probably should not have thrown the ball to Tatum with the game he was having. He sure looked like a dear in headlights at the line and that was a bad effort. It was always nice to have Lofton in the early years and Maze last year making all the FT at crunch time. this year I can't think of one player (maybe Golden) who I want on the line to win the game.

DoolanderVol (Inactive) writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Have you moved out of your parent's basement yet?

carbonzip writes:

McBee is a turnover machine if you include missed threes and reach in fouls. While his hustle is admirable, he really cannot defend
around the basket.

What we need is an offenive scheme that requires the pg to carry out specific tasks while others are screening and cutting, etc. Keep Williams out of the low post so there is room to drive the lane or to find backdoor cutters.

VolunteerLifer writes:

I'm not giving up on Melvin, because at times he can play really well, especially on defense. He has really helped us in many crucial games. I had high hopes he would be a good and improved PG this season. However, it might be a good time to have him play a back-up role and observe others play his position. Maybe he'll regain his form later.

But I've always thought McBee might make a good PG. Lord knows he hasn't made a good shooter yet. Bone may have what it takes, but I don't think he is a very good dribbler. Golden is more of a scoring guard than point guard, I guess. This experiment will be interesting.

DoolanderVol (Inactive) writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

a**hole? It's pathetic that you have to call people names over the internet to make yourself seem tough. Keep hiding behind that computer screen tough guy.

VOLHEAD writes:

Goeins will come around. Sometimes the notion of sitting down is what's needed to motivate. Let's hope this is the case here.

VOLHEAD writes:

My apology, Melvin, for misspelling your last name in previous post...

brod writes:

well, i went to govols.com and noticed that there were quiet a few comments on this article. then i went into the comments to read and realized mrpearl_still has about half of the ones on here.

SunshineVol writes:

Seriously, it’s taken until February 14th to realize Goins dribbling in the backcourt for 20 seconds isn’t productive and the points per game is in a freefall… dropping 7 points since 2009 and 3 since last year? Really, do you think, with an 11 man rotation, the run and gun and full court pressure may work again by wearing out other teams like Kentucky with their 6 man rotation? Golly, does it a take “McBrick” three-pointer up the side of head to see these things?

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