Vols want new streak over Georgia

Pearl decides not to accompany team to Athens

Bruce Pearl talks about the Vols trip to Georgia

Once upon a time, Tennessee dominated Georgia in men's basketball, winning 10 games in a row over the Bulldogs.

That story was brought to an emphatic end last season in Athens, Ga., when Georgia scored a statement victory, 78-63.

The Vols (11-6, 1-2 SEC) look to start the next chapter of the border-state rivalry on a positive note when they tip off against the Bulldogs (13-3, 2-1) at Stegeman Coliseum tonight (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.).

Once again, UT coach Bruce Pearl won't be on the bench as he serves the fourth game of his eight-game SEC suspension.

Pearl said goodbye to the players and staff Monday night in Knoxville, opting not to make the trip to Athens.

"If we could have done our walk-through there, I would have gone,'' Pearl said. "But Georgia has a gymnastics meet going on, so I won't be able to work with them at all.

"I can't help them anymore; the game plan is in, the scout is in, and the play calls are in,'' he said. "It's one thing at Arkansas where we had a 12 o'clock tip, but for me to be in the hotel all day and try to avoid them doesn't make much sense.''

One of Pearl's parting comments to his team during Monday's practice was that "(Trey) Thompkins is the best player in the league."

Thompkins, the SEC's preseason player of the year, has been an obvious focal point for UT during its preparation.

"We'll use all three of our bigs, Brian (Williams), Kenny (Hall) and John (Fields),'' Pearl said. "Our bigs will be in foul trouble.

"They put (Thompkins) at the four - that will be as tough of a matchup as Tobias (Harris) will have all year.''

The Vols' staple has been man-to-man defense, but with Georgia struggling shooting from the perimeter (31.3 percent with an SEC-low 68 made 3-pointers) it's possible UT might switch some things up.

Whatever approach the Vols take, they will need to go about it with greater energy than they showed in Monday's practice.

UT's scout team got the better of the starters in scrimmage.

"The fact we didn't have the energy today was an example of how not to play,'' Pearl said. "I would have liked to have come out a little sharper today.''

Anything less than a high-energy performance could result in a repeat of last year's blowout in Athens, as Georgia led by double-digits from the midway point of the first half to the final buzzer.

Junior Cameron Tatum, one of four UT players who played his high school ball in Georgia, still can recall Travis Leslie's highlight dunk like it was yesterday.

Leslie's two-handed, reverse windmill dunk made ESPN's SportsCenter that day and served notice that the new era of Georgia basketball under coach Mark Fox had begun.

"Losing that game and the streak hurt, because it was something we wanted to keep going,'' Tatum said. "I was sitting on the bench when Leslie had that dunk, so I had a real good view.''

It's likely many recruits did, too, though it didn't sway last season's Georgia Mr. Basketball since-turned Vols point guard Trae Golden from picking UT.

"Georgia recruited me hard, and it ultimately came down to Georgia and Tennessee,'' said Golden, who originally made a verbal commitment to play at Ohio State. "I know Trey (Thompkins) pretty well; we played AAU ball together, and I see Travis (Leslie) all the time when I go back home.

"It's a big game for all of us.''

Missing Pearl?: Tatum said Pearl's absence on the trip will seem a little strange to him.

"It's going to be different, and it's going to be interesting to see how we respond,'' Tatum said. "But he can't be with us on game day anyway, and we had our walk-through here (in Knoxville).''

Point guard Melvin Goins said the team has to approach the trip as business as usual.

"We're getting used to not having coach around at games,'' Goins said. "We'll just try to keep our normal routine and come out focused.''

Underdogs: Georgia has opened as a four-point favorite, marking only the third time the Vols have been an underdog this season.

Pittsburgh was an 8-point favorite over UT, and Villanova was a 5 1/2-point favorite.

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Comments » 45

osbymartin#581730 writes:

UGA is unranked by the way. I wish they were ranked cause we play our best against ranked opponents. It will be a tough game..life on the road is the SEC is never easy.

BigOSammO writes:

Pitt with the nice win over Cuse tonight - may move them up to 2 or possibly 1 with an OSU loss. Who handed Pitt their sole loss? I forgot. Vols' RPI still #1 in the nation. Vols still undefeated against ESPN's coveted Big East. Vols 3-0 against ranked teams. Let's see some support! Whooping a good GA team and #8 UCONN back to back would be huge. GBO.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to BigOSammO:

Pitt with the nice win over Cuse tonight - may move them up to 2 or possibly 1 with an OSU loss. Who handed Pitt their sole loss? I forgot. Vols' RPI still #1 in the nation. Vols still undefeated against ESPN's coveted Big East. Vols 3-0 against ranked teams. Let's see some support! Whooping a good GA team and #8 UCONN back to back would be huge. GBO.

That Pitt win helped us...RPI is #24 SOS is #1. Big week for the Vols!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Go MOCS! We beat College of Charleston! Mocs still unbeaten in SC.
Sorry. I had to get that in.
I'd love to see UT beat Georgia and I think we can! GBO.

BigOSammO writes:

in response to osbymartin#581730:

That Pitt win helped us...RPI is #24 SOS is #1. Big week for the Vols!

Thanks for the correction - SOS, not RPI. Digger Phelps just made mention that Pitt missed 17 free throws against us, which is the only reason they lost the game and they're not #1 in the country. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda. Mark it a win Smokey. We out-played them and beat them handily at home. UConn's next. Then Digger can personally crown us Big East regular season champs, since we will have hammered their top 3 teams on/or close to their homes courts.

Joelomite2j writes:

Ill be at the game, GO VOLS!

born2ride writes:

Looks like the start of another losing streak.

Bigger_Al writes:

We started the new streak in the 2nd game of last season. If we get this one, it will be two in a row.

tnvol4ever writes:

This would be a huge win to say the least.
Got to show the same intensity for the whole game as the 2nd half of Vandy game and hope the refs call a decent game. Not sure either is possible.

CCLC writes:

in response to BigOSammO:

Pitt with the nice win over Cuse tonight - may move them up to 2 or possibly 1 with an OSU loss. Who handed Pitt their sole loss? I forgot. Vols' RPI still #1 in the nation. Vols still undefeated against ESPN's coveted Big East. Vols 3-0 against ranked teams. Let's see some support! Whooping a good GA team and #8 UCONN back to back would be huge. GBO.

Despite the blowout win this past Saturday, the mid-week loss to Vandy made Georgia's stay in the AP top 25 very brief. They did receive the second most votes of unranked teams in both the AP and Coaches poll so I guess you could say Dogs are ranked 27th. Also, Tech's win over UNC last night upped UGA's RPI ranking to 38. For the record, it would be VERY unlikely for UGA to be left out of the tourney as a major conference team with a top 40 RPI ranking.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to born2ride:

Looks like the start of another losing streak.

Witch Doctor guess that means the start of another "whine" streak for you? Witch Doctor say time to put down the sippy cup.
Bones never lie.

Biggie writes:

I'm outta here! GVX666 has po'd me enough. I'm going to VOLNATION where it's still free.
Bye Ya'll

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor guess that means the start of another "whine" streak for you? Witch Doctor say time to put down the sippy cup.
Bones never lie.

Either the sippy cup or off his mom's t-e-e-t. Take your pick.

huntined#565710 writes:

This will be a hard game to win but if they play good D they can win it.Our bigs will have to man up and they will get some fouls called on them but I think we can score on them and they have a tough time with the 3's Hope this is not the game they start hitting them.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor guess that means the start of another "whine" streak for you? Witch Doctor say time to put down the sippy cup.
Bones never lie.

I was gettin' worried, witchy. Been way too long. Glad to have you back.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to born2ride:

Looks like the start of another losing streak.

This is a sports thread... not e-harmony.com. No one cares about your date life.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Thems some UGLY dawgs...I like hounds mahself!!

CCLC writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Thems some UGLY dawgs...I like hounds mahself!!

Hounds are bred for sniffin' and Bulldogs are bred for fightin'. Nuff said.

oscar285 writes:

in response to CCLC:

Hounds are bred for sniffin' and Bulldogs are bred for fightin'. Nuff said.

And for chasin' parked cars!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tnvol4ever:

This would be a huge win to say the least.
Got to show the same intensity for the whole game as the 2nd half of Vandy game and hope the refs call a decent game. Not sure either is possible.

Sadly, I don't think both of those things are possible, either. I would settle for the team playing with skill and intensity throughout, whatever the outcome may be. BTW, playing well in a loss is not a "moral victory", but it beats the HECK of getting DRILLED in a loss, IMHO.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CCLC:

Despite the blowout win this past Saturday, the mid-week loss to Vandy made Georgia's stay in the AP top 25 very brief. They did receive the second most votes of unranked teams in both the AP and Coaches poll so I guess you could say Dogs are ranked 27th. Also, Tech's win over UNC last night upped UGA's RPI ranking to 38. For the record, it would be VERY unlikely for UGA to be left out of the tourney as a major conference team with a top 40 RPI ranking.

UGA would have to collapse completely not to make the tourney this year. They will have one of the best teams in the SEC this year. Even if the SEC itself is down this year, UGA has done well enough that they should have NO problem making the tourney and getting an upper-half seed. If they beat UT, UF, and UK even once each, they could get an upper-quarter seed.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

I was gettin' worried, witchy. Been way too long. Glad to have you back.

Witch Doctor been working hard last couple weeks...Witch Doctor NOT like starting the year out like this! Witch Doctor say NICE e-harmony zinger...Witch Doctor say Bravo!(golf clap)
Bones never lie.

everydayisorange writes:

in response to CCLC:

Hounds are bred for sniffin' and Bulldogs are bred for fightin'. Nuff said.

I own an English Bulldog and he wouldn't bite a flea! Bred for fightin! hee hee haw haw haw! What a joke!

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

I own an English Bulldog and he wouldn't bite a flea! Bred for fightin! hee hee haw haw haw! What a joke!

Most Bulldogs I see are lickin' their balls.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Most Bulldogs I see are lickin' their balls.

Looks like I was eating dinner @ the wrong time..LOL!!! My food almost ended up all over my laptop.

VOLDoll writes:

DickieV @cmorrow662 Vol fans listen to the THE TRUTH . Fact ur coach admitted HE lied to the NCAA ! Major diff. from Fact & Perception (Calipari)

WOW! Vol fans we have sunk lower than Memphis. Thank you Bruce Pearl.

Bigger_Al writes:

Bruce lied about giving hot dogs to commitments. Calipari lied about a) not knowing Camby was getting paid (Cali Vacation Part 1), b) not knowing Rose cheated to get into school (Cali Vacation Part 2), and c) will soon lie about not knowing Bledsoe got paid (Stay tuned, the Cali Vacation will continue soon!).

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

Looks like I was eating dinner @ the wrong time..LOL!!! My food almost ended up all over my laptop.

Sorry. That's my bad.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Just like playing any team a 45% FG percentage is a must..Against Vandy we shot 20% in the first half and 50% in the 2nd half; coupled with better defense it was enough..Shutting down Thompkins;Leslie and Robinson is near impossible..But if we shoot around 45% and play reasonable defense we could get the win..Contenders DON'T open games or halfs shooting 25%!!!Interesting fact in Ga's loss to Vandy..Vandy shot 35 FT's to Ga's 15.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Bruce lied about giving hot dogs to commitments. Calipari lied about a) not knowing Camby was getting paid (Cali Vacation Part 1), b) not knowing Rose cheated to get into school (Cali Vacation Part 2), and c) will soon lie about not knowing Bledsoe got paid (Stay tuned, the Cali Vacation will continue soon!).

I get it, it's OK for our coach to cheat but Calipari is scum. lol! We have some really ignorant fans. My lord!

VOLDoll writes:

If what Pearl has done is not such a big deal then why in the hell is everyone from the NCAA to broadcasters vilifying UT?
I'll tell you why, he lied and then came forward after his lying cheatin azz got caught.
If you dont believe that then you are a damn fool.

Bigger_Al writes:

YOU have some ignorant fans, TROLL. Do you believe that Cal's cheated his azz off because if he didn't, he would have been banned from the game?

osbymartin#581730 writes:

Oh phooey! Ted Valentine is officiating...could be a LONG night!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to CCLC:

Hounds are bred for sniffin' and Bulldogs are bred for fightin'. Nuff said.

I'm sniffin' some jeaousy outa you!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I wish I could watch this game!!!? These so called free sites are lying ways to get you to subscribe to something!! LIARS

GBO.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Wow! The game sounds like it's a good one. They said we were out hustling Ga. I like that.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

BASKET by SPEARL!!! If he gets hot there is No stopping us!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

whew. Good job on the road. Good shot Brian.

McMinnVol writes:

Great victory, but how many times did we let the shot clock expire on us? I think that's one area we need to work on.

GO VOLS!

CCLC writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I'm sniffin' some jeaousy outa you!

A heart-wrenching loss for the Bulldogs, but I just had the sense for much of the game that this wasn't their night. They needed to come out sharper, and didn't.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

YES! YES! YES! Down to the wire, and who else to nail the game winner! Big road win for the Big Orange! Now on to UConN!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to CCLC:

A heart-wrenching loss for the Bulldogs, but I just had the sense for much of the game that this wasn't their night. They needed to come out sharper, and didn't.

Honestly I didn't think we would win down there...good defensive game.

Bigger_Al writes:

Where's VolDoll the TROLL? Probably all in to the UK game.

Cal cheats with money and academic fraud and LIES! Pearl gives commitments food before they complete their Junior Year and LIES! Who"s worse? CAL!!

oskie_score writes:

in response to born2ride:

Looks like the start of another losing streak.

For Georgia! Vols 1-0!

MusicCityVol writes:

Started a new streak!!!!! What a Difference a Week Makes...

http://checkerboardchatter.blogspot.c...

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