The Bruce Pearl way always has involved a process of evolution on the basketball court.
Players get an opportunity to show their wares and learn their shot spots and, ultimately, a rotation and shot hierarchy shakes out.
"I like for things to play out,'' said Pearl, in his sixth year as coach at Tennessee.
But time has run out on the process for Pearl with a home game against rival Memphis fast approaching on Wednesday (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.).
"I've got ideas, and some things we have to work on between now and Memphis,'' Pearl said. "We'll have a couple of days of practice, which we desperately need.''
Pearl said he's ready to "make some tough decisions" and cut the Vols' playing rotation down from 10.
"The decisions will come down to this: The guys who can defend and move their feet can play,'' said Pearl, who watched the College of Charleston shoot 57.1 percent from the floor in a 91-78 victory over the Vols (9-4) on Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Pearl pointed out that in UT's 7-0 start and ascension to No. 7 in The Associated Press poll, opponents hit better than 50 percent from the floor in only two of the 14 halves of basketball.
Over the past six games, opponents have shot better than 50 percent in seven of 12 halves.
The Vols' lack of continuity is the other issue Pearl addressed.
"While our players have dimensions, offensively and defensively this team has struggled to find ways to make each other better,'' Pearl said. "Offensively and defensively, we don't make each other better.''
UT freshman Tobias Harris, who scored 16 points and had eight rebounds in the loss to the Cougars but was only 5-of-18 shooting, agrees with Pearl.
"This team needs to play better team basketball,'' Harris said. "Me and Scotty (Hopson) need to feed off each other better and create for the whole team.
"The team looks at us to score, so we need to do our jobs and create our shots and when they are not there look for others.''
Jones Preview: Vols associate head coach Tony Jones took over on the sideline Friday when Pearl was ejected after getting his second technical with 5:25 remaining.
Senior Josh Bone said he didn't notice much of a difference in how Jones handled the team.
"I couldn't tell a difference,'' Bone said. "Both are so into the game, they run things the same way, so there really wasn't much difference.''
Hot Harris: Harris has hit 25 of 28 (89.3 percent) free-throw attempts over the past four games.
Hopson missed his last two free throws in the final minutes against Charleston, but is still 22 of 26 (84.6 percent) from the foul line over the past four games.
The rest of the team is a collective 28 of 53 (52.8 percent) from the free-throw line over the past four games.
Who Was Out: Skylar McBee didn't play against Charleston because he's still recovering from a flu.
That wasn't the case for freshman wing Jordan McRae and junior wing Renaldo Woolridge, both of whom have had issues on defense.
Post Cut?: With Pearl cutting his rotation, it would seem likely that only two posts will play, barring foul troubles.
Sophomore Kenny Hall started against Charleston, but in nine minutes was 0-for-2 shooting with two rebounds.
Senior transfer John Field, in seven minutes, was 3-for-5 shooting with four rebounds.
Sophomore transfer Jeronne Maymon has been seeing minutes at power forward, but has center abilities.
Maymon was only 1-for-4 shooting against the Cougars, but he had five rebounds in seven minutes.