UConn's Jim Calhoun knows about UT system

Pearl pleased with Vols' effort and energy

Tennessee should be a quick study for Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun.

It's not just that Calhoun has been coaching college basketball for almost 40 years. He's also well versed in UT coach Bruce Pearl's system.

He will face it again Saturday afternoon in Hartford, Conn., when his eighth-ranked Huskies (15-2) take on the Vols (12-6) at the XL Center.

Before Calhoun began his 24-year run at UConn, he was a head coach at Northeastern University in Boston for 14 years. Tom Davis, Pearl's mentor, was the coach at Boston College for part of that time.

"Jim Calhoun and Tom Davis went toe to toe in Boston," Pearl said. "Rick Pitino and Jim Calhoun probably know my system as well as anybody. They grew up with it."

Pitino was the head coach at Boston University from 1978 through 1983, about the same time Davis was at Boston College.

"It won't take Jim Calhoun very long to watch us on tape and know exactly what we're trying to do and know how to take it away," Pearl said. "He's a Hall of Fame coach. He will be able to look at us and see our strengths and know our weaknesses."

Star Power: Freshman guard Jordan McRae got an inordinate amount of attention at Thursday afternoon's practice. That's because he was playing the role of UConn's Kemba Walker, who leads the Big East with a scoring average of 25.5 points per game.

Pearl compared readying his team for Walker to preparing for South Carolina's Devan Downey last season. But there's a difference.

"Downey is playing in Europe," Pearl said. "Walker is a (NBA) lottery pick."

Making Contact: When Pearl assigned guard Scotty Hopson to cover small forwards the last two games, he wasn't thinking only about defense.

Pearl theorizes that when Hopson is chasing guards around the perimeter on defense, he's less apt to venture inside offensively. Hopson, who has one of the quickest first steps in the SEC, is usually at his best when he's driving to the basket.

"We put him on the last two small forwards (including Georgia's Travis Leslie) with the idea that the closer Scotty gets to the basket, sometimes the better he looks," Pearl said. "He's having to physically mix it up more - so when we get down there on offense, we want him to mix it up. And it won't be the first time he's had to deal with contact."

Hopson was productive going to the basket against Georgia but also got in foul trouble, which limited his playing time.

Goins Too Far: UT point guard Melvin Goins is shooting better from 3-point range (38.2 percent) than he is overall (37.3 percent). Pearl has an explanation for the statistical anomaly.

"Melvin sometimes gets in there too deep, and puts himself in a position where underneath the basket there may be contact, but officials are not going to bail out someone who is 5-10 against someone who is 6-10," Pearl said. "So Melvin has got to stop getting that deep. And we've talked to him about that.

"When he gets in that deep, he's challenged to get back (on defense). So it doesn't do any good for Melvin to get in that deep and miss those shots."

Messaging Golden: Guard Skylar McBee has played 33 minutes in the last two SEC games after playing eight minutes in the previous two. He has responded by hitting four of nine 3-point attempts and hustling on defense.

He even played point guard briefly in Tuesday's victory over Georgia, which might make some wonder about the status of freshman point guard Trae Golden.

"We'd like to get more from Trae," Pearl said. "That's perhaps a message being sent."

Golden, who played just seven minutes against Georgia, is 4-for-20 from the field in the last six games.

Global Recruiting: UConn has more players on its roster from Germany (two) than Connecticut (one). Three countries, 10 states and six time zones are represented on the roster.

Tip-Ins: John Fields again will start at center and Brian Williams, who starred against Georgia, will come off the bench. . . . The Vols beat Georgia on a last-second shot by Williams in their last outing while UConn edged Villanova in its last game on a shot by Walker with 2.5 seconds remaining. . . . Hopson has scored at least 15 points in each of his last eight games. . . . Freshman Tobias Harris averaged 11 points and eight rebounds in UT's two other games against top-10 teams from the Big East, Villanova and Pittsburgh.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 35

TheOpinion writes:

Pearl compared readying his team for Walker to preparing for South Carolina's Devan Downey last season. But there's a difference.

"Downey is playing in Europe," Pearl said. "Allen is a (NBA) lottery pick."

UMMMM Who is Allen? Thought we were talking about Kemba Walker?

murrayvol writes:

Will be interesting to see how the commentators handle "the Pearl Dilemma" given the myriad (and serious) transgressions of Coach Calhoun.

cwbytruckers writes:

i predict a loss in this one. hope for the best i know. but something tells me that its not going to happen.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Really hope I'm wrong, but I'll be VERY surprised if we emerge with a win against UConn.

Calhoun will challenge our "big men" to score from inside and, when they show that they can't, it will force UT to rely on perimeter shooting and one-on-one drives. How to stop us on defense is no secret.

I just hope the game doesn't turn ugly for us. Still gonna cheer for my BasketVols!

VictorKruger writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Pearl compared readying his team for Walker to preparing for South Carolina's Devan Downey last season. But there's a difference.

"Downey is playing in Europe," Pearl said. "Allen is a (NBA) lottery pick."

UMMMM Who is Allen? Thought we were talking about Kemba Walker?

I'll venture a guess that he was thinking of Ray Allen, former UConn guard and current Boston Celtic. Then again, maybe he was misquoted, which seems unlikely,

rudy123 writes:

I could be wrong but I don't think we beat Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Memphis, Kentucky, Florida, Pitt or Villanova. Oh wait,
we did beat all of those teams and guess what?
We can beat UConn too. Pat Summitt will give us a few hints on how to beat UConn......

rudy123 writes:

in response to cwbytruckers:

i predict a loss in this one. hope for the best i know. but something tells me that its not going to happen.

You are correct, we can't beat UConn. We can't beat Calipari's Memphis team. We can't beat Kansas with only 6 scholarship players. We can't beat Ohio State with Evan Turner. We can't beat Florida with Noah. We can't beat Texas with Durant. We can't beat Oklahoma State. We can't beat Pitt, at Pitt. We can't beat Villanova in N.Y. and we can't beat Kentucky and their super freshmen.
We shouldn't even waste our time. Maybe we should forfeit and save the University the travel expenses and the lodging expenses.
I think that you will be surprised at how this game ends up.... Watch and see....

ArmyDad writes:

in response to getsimmsout:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee beat UCONN in the 2000 NCAA tourney. In 2001 UT lost in the first round to UNC-Charlotte.

hodocka writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

Really hope I'm wrong, but I'll be VERY surprised if we emerge with a win against UConn.

Calhoun will challenge our "big men" to score from inside and, when they show that they can't, it will force UT to rely on perimeter shooting and one-on-one drives. How to stop us on defense is no secret.

I just hope the game doesn't turn ugly for us. Still gonna cheer for my BasketVols!

This is exactly what I felt going into the Pittsburg game. The Vols seem to play their best against the best competition.

dmore writes:

I think coach Pearl has done a great job building this program to the status elite, and in his absence associate head coach Tony Jones and staff have done a outstanding job, with players in regards to preparation and motivation, the Vols are currently on a 2 game win streak! so to all those people who thought the Vols, where going to be down and out! I would like to quote a line from Sylvester Stallone in rocky 5, ” I AINT HEAR NO BELL”
GO VOLS!!!!!!!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Yes, it depends on which team shows up to play! If it's the one that beat Pitt, we have a good shot! If the "Oakland" team shows up, look out! They are inconsistent, but still fun to watch! GO VOLS!!!

cwbytruckers writes:

Thing is Kimba Walker is averaging 25 points a game. When we play guards that can score what happens. They go off on us. AKA Charleston guards. If he goes off this team will run us out of the building. Hope i am wrong. I will be watching and pulling for Tennessee. But if we get into a running game with UCONN. We are in way over our heads. Prediction. UCONN 83. Tennessee 60.

PUL4VOLS writes:

We have been "in way over our heads" before and ended up well. It is a matter of which team shows up. A well-disciplined one determined to play tough d the whole game will be a contender. A team that listens to the pre-game junk and goes out trying too hard, gets crunched. I hope the first group shows up. They are the ones who earlier made me think we had a team to contend with. Maybe we still do.

69grad writes:

As much as I love my Vols, I am not going to watch the game because of the ESPN bias against our team. I would rather read about it here than get angry and sickened by the announcers.

VOLinATL writes:

in response to 69grad:

As much as I love my Vols, I am not going to watch the game because of the ESPN bias against our team. I would rather read about it here than get angry and sickened by the announcers.

CBS is televising the game...

lomas98 writes:

With 4 games under JOnes and now Pearl for one game, what happens with the rotation? It seems they have at least defined some roles in the first 4 conference games. Maymon doesn't even play and McBee is getting more minutes and more shots and is making his share. Pearl is getting less minutes than before. How the substitutions are handled for this game will be real interesting to see. We are still playing the same number of people, but substituting when we need to instead of just doing it at a certain time.

AlpharettaVol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Everybody needs to remember that ESPN's studios are located within a three-point shot from UConn. You may remember that there was some controversy a few years ago when Marya (sp?) Moore was given a special tour of ESPN during her recruiting visit to UConn.

dvols writes:

bottom line is all the drama surrounding Bruce will make for great television in what would otherwise be just another dull Saturday in January......now go vols!

volinuptonky writes:

If they play defense like they have played the past two games and like the played against Pitt and Villanova we have a good chance. If we play defense they way we did when we were in our funk it could get ugly. Hope the good defensive team shows up. And if it does we have won the Big East Conference.

boroviathaochvolsfan writes:

in response to dmore:

I think coach Pearl has done a great job building this program to the status elite, and in his absence associate head coach Tony Jones and staff have done a outstanding job, with players in regards to preparation and motivation, the Vols are currently on a 2 game win streak! so to all those people who thought the Vols, where going to be down and out! I would like to quote a line from Sylvester Stallone in rocky 5, ” I AINT HEAR NO BELL”
GO VOLS!!!!!!!

LOVE IT!!! GBO!!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

Really hope I'm wrong, but I'll be VERY surprised if we emerge with a win against UConn.

Calhoun will challenge our "big men" to score from inside and, when they show that they can't, it will force UT to rely on perimeter shooting and one-on-one drives. How to stop us on defense is no secret.

I just hope the game doesn't turn ugly for us. Still gonna cheer for my BasketVols!

One thing I have learned....If Pearl is coaching...we ALWAYS have a chance...Ive said several times over the last few years I dont think we can win...been proved wrong, what, ten, fifteen times at least...now I'm not predicting a win for us...it just wouldnt surprise me anymore...

martinvol34 writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here's the kicker. He didn't try to get them there. They showed up knowing that they were violating policy. They nor their parents are not without blame. Piss on them all and wipe it up with Bama Toilet Rolls! LOL.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Guys,

Mute the TV and the ESPN blabber and listen to the play-by-play on the Vols Network. Bert Bertelkamp is entertaining.

*** You'll need Tivo or a DVR to match the action with the radio call ***

tennrich1 writes:

in response to cwbytruckers:

Thing is Kimba Walker is averaging 25 points a game. When we play guards that can score what happens. They go off on us. AKA Charleston guards. If he goes off this team will run us out of the building. Hope i am wrong. I will be watching and pulling for Tennessee. But if we get into a running game with UCONN. We are in way over our heads. Prediction. UCONN 83. Tennessee 60.

CBP and J.Shay are some of the best at isolating great players for one game as I have ever seen...its up to the players to execute hard nosed defense...I think we will be ready...still will be hard to win at UConn!!!

Bigger_Al writes:

Tricked again by not having "Adams" in the title. As long as he is reporting and staying factual, you can't really tell it's him.

But when he starts freewheeling, his sarcasm and needle come out, and the resulting negativity is something I can do without. Adams is a troll's troll, the original troll.

rbut5252#220065 writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Pearl compared readying his team for Walker to preparing for South Carolina's Devan Downey last season. But there's a difference.

"Downey is playing in Europe," Pearl said. "Allen is a (NBA) lottery pick."

UMMMM Who is Allen? Thought we were talking about Kemba Walker?

You may want to re-read the article friend, the article I read said "Walker is a (NBA)lottery pick"

esarmstrong#231516 writes:

In the category of "for what it's worth", Andy Katz of ESPN picked us to win Saturday. Among his comments regarding the pick, UConn has the best player on the floor, but Tennessee has the better overall collection of players.

Let's see what happens.

hueypilot writes:

in response to WEAREBETTERTHANVANDY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your name says it all.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rbut5252#220065:

You may want to re-read the article friend, the article I read said "Walker is a (NBA)lottery pick"

It said "Walker" when I read it, too. I'm guessing that at some point in trying to compare Walker to other great UConn players, Ray Allen's name came up. In transcribing notes for the article, the names might have gotten mixed up. If so, the mixup was corrected after it was first posted to the site. I never saw the article when it had Allen's name in it, but I have seen this happen on several previous occasions.

As for the game itself, I can't add much to what has already been said. No way to say in advance which Vol team will show up. They will probably need somebody like Cam Newton to come up big on offense. On defense, they need to force Walker into taking a lot of shots to get his points and then be SURE to rebound the misses. I give the Vols slightly better than a "puncher's chance" to win, but it WILL be an upset if they do.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to MrPearl2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

SSDD? You mean like you?

69grad writes:

in response to VOLinATL:

CBS is televising the game...

Thank you. I stand corrected. I will watch the game and hope I will not vomit from that azzhole Vitale.

VOLinATL writes:

in response to 69grad:

Thank you. I stand corrected. I will watch the game and hope I will not vomit from that azzhole Vitale.

That won't be an issue, since D. Vitale doesn't work for CBS

osbymartin#581730 writes:

I have always said knowing the system and what UT does is one thing stopping it is another...I am not saying it is unstoppable by no means..EVERYONE knew that Nebraska was running the option on every play and teams still couldn't stop it with Frazier running it.

kyletrktr writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Pearl compared readying his team for Walker to preparing for South Carolina's Devan Downey last season. But there's a difference.

"Downey is playing in Europe," Pearl said. "Allen is a (NBA) lottery pick."

UMMMM Who is Allen? Thought we were talking about Kemba Walker?

He didn't say Allen...

kyletrktr writes:

in response to dmore:

I think coach Pearl has done a great job building this program to the status elite, and in his absence associate head coach Tony Jones and staff have done a outstanding job, with players in regards to preparation and motivation, the Vols are currently on a 2 game win streak! so to all those people who thought the Vols, where going to be down and out! I would like to quote a line from Sylvester Stallone in rocky 5, ” I AINT HEAR NO BELL”
GO VOLS!!!!!!!

I agree with your Pearl statement, but i completely disagree with your Jones statement. Pearl was allowed to prepare the players, he just couldn't see them on gameday pretty much. And I don't understand why we would not call a timeout with 12 seconds left, WHEN WE HAVE 3 OF THEM. That might have avoided overtime, and we could be 3-1 without pearl instead of 2-2. 13-5 looks a lot better than 12-6 to me. I like the qoute you added too, pretty much sums up Pearl's years at Tennessee in a good way.

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