Ole Miss trip not a favorite for Vols

Pearl teams haven't had success in Tad Pad

Game preview: UT vs. Ole Miss

MEMPHIS - Ole Miss is not at the top of the list when it comes to Tennessee's favorite road trips or places to play in the SEC.

In fact, it's at or near the bottom.

"It's obviously not as nice as other places,'' senior Steven Pearl, who has been a part of the two UT men's basketball teams that have been drubbed 83-69 and 81-65 in Oxford, Miss, said Thursday. "You fly into Memphis, then you take the bus to Oxford, and that makes for a long day before the game.

"I don't know if all that had to do with us losing there, because we just have gotten outplayed and out-hustled there.''

The Vols (13-7, 3-2 SEC) will make another go at getting a win against the Rebels at C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum today (TV: WVLT, 4 p.m.).

Ole Miss (13-7, 1-4) and Auburn are the two SEC campuses UT coach Bruce Pearl has yet to record a win during in his five-plus seasons with the Vols.

And Bruce Pearl won't get a win today - at least not in person - as he's serving the sixth game of his eight-game SEC suspension.

UT associate head coach Tony Jones will continue to manage game-day duties while Pearl has elected not to travel with the team.

"It's getting harder for me, but I'm sure it's getting more comfortable for Tony and the assistant coaches from the standpoint of how we're preparing, delivering the scouting report and play-call lists,'' Pearl said. "But for me, each game has become increasingly more difficult to watch.

"The bus pulls away, and there goes my family without me. It's a terrible feeling.''

Jones looks to make the most of the situation, but traveling to and playing in Oxford has proved to be a tough chore the two times Pearl-led Tennessee teams have played there.

"Ole Miss is a difficult place to play; it's a different kind of place,'' Jones said. "It's a small town, and our accommodations there . . . we have to go into our rooms from outside.

"There's no other place we've played games at in the five years we've been here where that has been the case.''

The series trend favors the Rebels - the home team has won every game since the 2002-2003 season.

The current UT coaching staff is 4-2 against Ole Miss, yet the Rebels are one of only two annual opponents who have a cumulative scoring advantage over Pearl teams, 453-452. Kentucky, 7-4 versus Pearl teams, is the other at 819-739.

The Rebels' arena, affectionately known as the "Tad Pad,'' is the smallest in the SEC with a seating capacity of 8,700.

Ole Miss has drawn an average home crowd of 5,585, second-lowest in the SEC only to Mississippi State (4,326), and nowhere near the 18,297 average crowd at Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena.

No doubt, the Vols will have to bring their own energy and excitement to the dimly lit 45-year-old gymnasium.

Ole Miss should be well-prepared, having sat idle since scoring a 78-51 victory at LSU last Saturday.

It's a good bet the Rebels will look to get All-SEC pick Chris Warren involved early and often. The senior guard ranks among the top three in the league in the following categories:

n Free-throw shooting (first, .948);

n Free throws made (first, 92);

n Scoring (second, 18.3 points per game);

n Made 3-point shots (second, 54);

n Assist/turnover ratio (third, 2.1); and

n Assists (third, 4.1 per game).

UT senior point guard Melvin Goins said his assignment against Warren will be challenging.

"They do a lot for Chris; he'll do as much off the ball as on the ball,'' Goins said. "They'll run some stagger screens and double-back screens for him.''

Vols senior Josh Bone, who has been handling the back-up duties at wing, had his most prolific UT performance against Warren when the teams met in Knoxville last season.

Bone, then a seldom-used walk-on, came off the bench to shut down Warren as the Vols beat Ole Miss in overtime, 71-69.

"People didn't really know what to expect from me before that,'' Bone said. "I made some plays on the defensive end and hit a few shots on the offensive end in that game, and that was big for me.

"I've yet to score nine points in a game since then.''

Bone's season-high point total this season is six, on three occasions.

Rebels Favored: Ole Miss has opened as a 2-point favorite, which marks only the fourth time the Vols have been an underdog this season.

UT is 3-1 as an underdog, with wins over Pittsburgh, Villanova and Georgia, and a loss to Connecticut.

SEC Tweets: Steven Pearl and Florida's Chandler Parsons had a Twitter exchange involving their respective road trips to Ole Miss and Mississippi State on Friday evening.

"This hotel bed is a joke.' #hardestintheSEC" Parsons tweeted.

Pearl re-tweeted Parsons' comment and added: "Starkville and Oxford . . . two worst road trips in the SEC.''

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/mgrif32 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/askgriff/

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Comments » 45

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

Take care of the ball. Play tough and bring back the win. Can Hopson stay focused two games in a row? GBO!!!

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Nothing like going to a college town and playing in a small, throwback gym.

UT is a better team than Ole Miss and should win the game, but we shall see--as the old adage goes, "that's why they play the game".

If we want it more, we'll win. If we don't, we won't.

MemphisVol writes:

I'm taking my four year old down to the game tomorrow. GET HUGE VOLS! Expect To Win!!!

stevefrommemphis writes:

"We have to go into our [hotel] rooms from outside."

They'd be much better off staying Friday night in a nice hotel in Memphis, then riding the bus to Oxford tomorrow morning. It's only 80 miles. Spend as little time in Mississippi as possible.

cwbytruckers writes:

Ole Miss 76 Tennessee 61

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

2 things against us;Rebels with 5 days of rest and preparation;The Ole Miss road jinks..Rebels offense centers around guards throwing up 3 pointers and Warren and Graham are good shooters..We have struggled defending hot 3 point shooters and Pearl and Shay better have a nice plan in defense..It's a must that our guards press for turnovers..In the end it comes down to the Vols shooting 50%;points off turnovers and points in the paint couldn't hurt..I get the feeling Tobias will have a big game.It will be interesting to see what defense Ole Miss chooses.If we have any shot at the tourney; games like this are must wins and a time to become a consistent team..The loss at ARK. is a carbon copy of todays game..Winning at home is one thing but beating lesser teams on the road is something that contenders do easily.It's time for the Vols to show they are contenders in the SEC East!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funny that you mention 80 points;Statistically 90% of the time we reach the 80 point mark the Vols win.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

2 things against us;Rebels with 5 days of rest and preparation;The Ole Miss road jinks..Rebels offense centers around guards throwing up 3 pointers and Warren and Graham are good shooters..We have struggled defending hot 3 point shooters and Pearl and Shay better have a nice plan in defense..It's a must that our guards press for turnovers..In the end it comes down to the Vols shooting 50%;points off turnovers and points in the paint couldn't hurt..I get the feeling Tobias will have a big game.It will be interesting to see what defense Ole Miss chooses.If we have any shot at the tourney; games like this are must wins and a time to become a consistent team..The loss at ARK. is a carbon copy of todays game..Winning at home is one thing but beating lesser teams on the road is something that contenders do easily.It's time for the Vols to show they are contenders in the SEC East!!!

"Contenders in the East" not very high expectations, all you have to be is in the East to be a contender in the East.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Makes sense. The Vols usually do a pretty good job on an opponent's leading scorer. The problem is that they often let someone else have an unusually good game against them. I think Goins and Bone hold Warren down a bit, but defensive rebounding and the Vols' offensive efficiency will be key areas to watch. Tough chore for the Vols in several respects. Agree with others that this game will say a lot about how competitive the Vols will be going forward in the SEC. I expect to see a lot of zone from Ole Miss. The Vols need to attack the interior and keep the ball moving the way they did against LSU.

GoGoVols writes:

Been to Oxford many times...Ole Miss is the nicest campus I have ever seen. And yes there are hotels with inside rooms..the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express are fairly new and very nice. Maybe UT needs a new travel agent so our team can quit making excuses..

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

While we really appreciate your input, most of those stats have to be viewed in light of who they were playing. Tennessee has the #1 strength of schedule and Ole Miss is only at #64. Thus our RPI ranking of 19 and Ole Miss's of 77. Since you're a gung ho stat guy, I thought you'd like that important one.

HtownVol writes:

Anyone able to help me find a way to watch the game on the web?

I pay SO MUCH money to DirecTV to make sure I watch every UT Football and Basketball game, yet today I cant find the UT game on the guide.

I pay for the Full Court package, Sports package (fox sports, all local sports channels all over the country) AND Sunday Ticket, Game Plan and League Pass!

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. I know a couple sites but I want to be sure to be able to watch this game somehow.

If I miss any UT football or basketball game I can only follow the score and stats and it bothers me when I cant watch my Vols live.

Thanks,
GO VOLS!

murrayvol writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Funny that you mention 80 points;Statistically 90% of the time we reach the 80 point mark the Vols win.

A lot of teams win when they get to 80.

murrayvol writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"professional handicapper" bwahahahahahah!

voloffaith writes:

in response to murrayvol:

"professional handicapper" bwahahahahahah!

VandyGrad in his/her new(for a while) posterchild name still putting out that same stuff. Remember football predictions made that blew up in his/her face? Troller dude/dudette for what it is worth........

On topic,which Vol team shows up today? Focused,energized keep moving around on offense and get good shot(not necessarily a 3ptr) inside or out. Then play hardnosed defense and make Johhny Rebs work 4 every shot.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Anyone able to help me find a way to watch the game on the web?

I pay SO MUCH money to DirecTV to make sure I watch every UT Football and Basketball game, yet today I cant find the UT game on the guide.

I pay for the Full Court package, Sports package (fox sports, all local sports channels all over the country) AND Sunday Ticket, Game Plan and League Pass!

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. I know a couple sites but I want to be sure to be able to watch this game somehow.

If I miss any UT football or basketball game I can only follow the score and stats and it bothers me when I cant watch my Vols live.

Thanks,
GO VOLS!

Can be seen via your computer on ESPN3

bigdisbig writes:

It all depends on which Vol team shows up in Ole Miss. If the team that lost to Charlotte shows up we lose big time. If the team that beat Villanova or Pittsburg shows up, we win big. One just cannot bet on this team. Scotty is a streaky player as is Brian Williams. Everyone must bring their A game on the road. Home court advantage is 10 points in most places and without CBP there I see the Vols losing a close one. I hope not but I would go with the odds makers on this one.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Anyone able to help me find a way to watch the game on the web?

I pay SO MUCH money to DirecTV to make sure I watch every UT Football and Basketball game, yet today I cant find the UT game on the guide.

I pay for the Full Court package, Sports package (fox sports, all local sports channels all over the country) AND Sunday Ticket, Game Plan and League Pass!

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. I know a couple sites but I want to be sure to be able to watch this game somehow.

If I miss any UT football or basketball game I can only follow the score and stats and it bothers me when I cant watch my Vols live.

Thanks,
GO VOLS!

Just go to whatever local station carries the SEC network at game time, if there is one. For some reason, those stations are often lax about informing the local media AND the cable and satellite providers that they are carrying a game in that time slot. That was how I found the LSU game, even though none of the other sources said it was on.

trl_x writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Anyone able to help me find a way to watch the game on the web?

I pay SO MUCH money to DirecTV to make sure I watch every UT Football and Basketball game, yet today I cant find the UT game on the guide.

I pay for the Full Court package, Sports package (fox sports, all local sports channels all over the country) AND Sunday Ticket, Game Plan and League Pass!

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. I know a couple sites but I want to be sure to be able to watch this game somehow.

If I miss any UT football or basketball game I can only follow the score and stats and it bothers me when I cant watch my Vols live.

Thanks,
GO VOLS!

http://atdhe.net/

This is one place...as of right now.

PeeEllthree writes:

I know one thing. Miss st-Bost, Augustus, Ravern, Sidney, et al is the most underachieving team in the SEC in the past 4-5 years. Ridiculous talent but Rick doesn't know how to use them.

HtownVol writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Can be seen via your computer on ESPN3

ESPN3 is the same as the Full Court on TV, isnt it? I pay for ESPN GamePlan and the game is not listed but perhaps it is one of the "to be announced" games.

Thanks everyone who tried to help.

I HAVE TO watch ALL my VOL games!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to pj_ladyvolnMI:

While we really appreciate your input, most of those stats have to be viewed in light of who they were playing. Tennessee has the #1 strength of schedule and Ole Miss is only at #64. Thus our RPI ranking of 19 and Ole Miss's of 77. Since you're a gung ho stat guy, I thought you'd like that important one.

It also would be interesting to know how we did stat-wise against the teams we beat compared to their stats on their wins...or the games we lost and the stats...I guess these pro stat people don't look at all that much. Anyhow the stats go out the window when we beat them at Ole Mississippi!!GBO!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Don't worry about the beds in Oxford.

Worry about beating Rebs, which they should.

GBO

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Sorry to be a little off topic, but how about the U Conn vs Louisville game? Walker hits his usual 3 to set up a win, then Louisville hits a shot to send it to O T. With little time left, U Conn up 4 I think, I assumed they had it won, so turned it off. Just now saw where Louisville won by 1 79-78.

Mike won't be giving a report on this game.

Depends of which Vol team decides to show up. If we get off to a good start, it's a possible win. Otherwise,
well..............

Dobervol writes:

OM has no defense for the "Good" Scotty, if he shows up, while we have no defense for the Bad Scotty. Warren is important, no doubt, but Hopson will be the determining factor, IMO, on way or the other.

kyletrktr writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Anyone able to help me find a way to watch the game on the web?

I pay SO MUCH money to DirecTV to make sure I watch every UT Football and Basketball game, yet today I cant find the UT game on the guide.

I pay for the Full Court package, Sports package (fox sports, all local sports channels all over the country) AND Sunday Ticket, Game Plan and League Pass!

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. I know a couple sites but I want to be sure to be able to watch this game somehow.

If I miss any UT football or basketball game I can only follow the score and stats and it bothers me when I cant watch my Vols live.

Thanks,
GO VOLS!

Its on the channel that Auburn and South Carolina are playing on right now, should be a local channel. Good game, tennessee needs this one.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

in response to HtownVol:

ESPN3 is the same as the Full Court on TV, isnt it? I pay for ESPN GamePlan and the game is not listed but perhaps it is one of the "to be announced" games.

Thanks everyone who tried to help.

I HAVE TO watch ALL my VOL games!

I'm watching it online at http://espn.go.com/espn3/player?id=11...

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

holly f-ing sh**t...19 ft's vs 5...

part of the fouls are BS, then turned into UT's immaturity.

Vols have GOT to learn they will be jobbed on the road. Best revenge isn't pouting or retaliating, it's sending the other team off with a loss....THEN you can show out a bit.

Ironcity writes:

At a time when the referees have been at an all time worse in the SEC they have managed to out due themselves in one of the worst called haves I have ever seen in my 51 years. Its a miracle that we are tied in this game. I always thought a foul had to occur if you are going to call an intentional but I guess if you want to commit a foul and fail thats good enough for the SEC refs.

voltheway writes:

i am glad we haven't renewed bruce's contract, so he can go take his 15+ roster with him. can someone tell me why in the world skylar mcbee is still on the team? he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, and i thought golden was a shooting guard? he hasn't made a shot all year. i have quit watching this game b/c of two reasons: the refs are absolutely TERRIBLE, and b/c i'm tired of watching our basketball team digging a bigger hole. why is maymon not on the court instead of pearl? well i guess you really can tell when you've hit rock bottom, b/c you look like UT basketball.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

In this game Ole Miss doesn't have to make a basket ( 7 in first half ) because they are making a living at the line.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Very sloppy on both teams! I'm surprised the refs know which call to take? Sloppy. I'm glad we're even this far in the game. Harris is not playing good offense! Trying too hard maybe. What I can't believe is that Williams is one of the few holding on to the ball.lol When we were ahead we looked good shortly as the ball was moved around well and we played a little D. It may be a close one if our defense stays in the locker room.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

UT, too, is paying for the dumb alley-oops and junk. gotta learn.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

QUIT THE FRIGGING SHOWBOATING and score.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

okay, lots better gentlemen.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Good second half...for us.

johnlg00 writes:

Is there ANY possible way all the McBee-Little Pearl-Williams haters will just give their mindless disdain a rest NOW? In case you didn't notice, the Vols went on their big run that turned the game in their favor with those guys playing major minutes.

Hopson played well in the first half until he picked up his second foul, but only got a few in the second when the Vols were pulling away. Harris couldn't buy a bucket in the first half but still contributed in other ways throughout. McBee didn't score that I remembered but he played good defense and made some good passes. Tatum finally woke up in the second half and was right in the middle of that big Vol run. As for SP, if the haters don't get how he contributes to the team after what they saw today, nothing and no one will convince them otherwise. Williams and Fields were a two-headed monster in the post. All told, that was about as dominating a half of ball on the road as the team has had all year. If they can keep THAT up, they just may be hitting their stride.

Oh, BTW, funny how the West rose up and smacked the Gators and Chickens upside the head! But rave on, trolls, I'm sure you'll find SOME way to make the Vols look bad today, and I'm just dying to see how you try to do it.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Is there ANY possible way all the McBee-Little Pearl-Williams haters will just give their mindless disdain a rest NOW? In case you didn't notice, the Vols went on their big run that turned the game in their favor with those guys playing major minutes.

Hopson played well in the first half until he picked up his second foul, but only got a few in the second when the Vols were pulling away. Harris couldn't buy a bucket in the first half but still contributed in other ways throughout. McBee didn't score that I remembered but he played good defense and made some good passes. Tatum finally woke up in the second half and was right in the middle of that big Vol run. As for SP, if the haters don't get how he contributes to the team after what they saw today, nothing and no one will convince them otherwise. Williams and Fields were a two-headed monster in the post. All told, that was about as dominating a half of ball on the road as the team has had all year. If they can keep THAT up, they just may be hitting their stride.

Oh, BTW, funny how the West rose up and smacked the Gators and Chickens upside the head! But rave on, trolls, I'm sure you'll find SOME way to make the Vols look bad today, and I'm just dying to see how you try to do it.

It was a good team effort, including McBee and SPearl. I'm seeing some potential here...next year Pearl may be a D1 player...uhhh oh wait a min.! ok Next year Pearl will be a great Asst. Coach some where...
Williams had an outstanding game.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I could re-post this stat forever!!! Uhh I meant statment I mean statement! HAAALgh!

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to voltheway:

i am glad we haven't renewed bruce's contract, so he can go take his 15+ roster with him. can someone tell me why in the world skylar mcbee is still on the team? he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, and i thought golden was a shooting guard? he hasn't made a shot all year. i have quit watching this game b/c of two reasons: the refs are absolutely TERRIBLE, and b/c i'm tired of watching our basketball team digging a bigger hole. why is maymon not on the court instead of pearl? well i guess you really can tell when you've hit rock bottom, b/c you look like UT basketball.

Go online and figure out the game of basketball, get a clue, calm your asz down and learn the game. You are the BIGGEST clown on this site tonight and that includes trolls. What a joke.

voltheway writes:

uhmmm excuse me? i wish i could meet you in person buddy and see if: 1. you are a woman 2. you are older than basketball itself and 3. how bigga boy you are. also, if you have to go online to figure out the game of basketball then you shouldn't even be aloud to be a UT fan. learn how to spell and quit worrying about everybody else. thanks, and have a wonderful day!! haha

VOLS_and_REDSOX_4ever writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey CantStandSaban
67-64 Vols
That was the UT-Vandy score
you lost, you're bitter we get it.
UT is better than Vandy, you know it, we know it, you just try to bash UT to make yourself feel better about yourself. UT is going to be in March Madness.
You're pathetic

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to voltheway:

uhmmm excuse me? i wish i could meet you in person buddy and see if: 1. you are a woman 2. you are older than basketball itself and 3. how bigga boy you are. also, if you have to go online to figure out the game of basketball then you shouldn't even be aloud to be a UT fan. learn how to spell and quit worrying about everybody else. thanks, and have a wonderful day!! haha

If you wish meet me in person, I'll be at the convention center wednesday night and tell you the same thing to your face, jackazz. I'm 40. 6'1, 190. Not a big boy.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm sorry...I just can't ignore it!!!! It's ALLOWED not ALOUD in this sitiation!! Don't tell people how to spell! Voltheway! C'mon?!
And why do U 2 want to meet...? Ya'll is funny.

voltheway writes:

in response to PeeEllthree:

If you wish meet me in person, I'll be at the convention center wednesday night and tell you the same thing to your face, jackazz. I'm 40. 6'1, 190. Not a big boy.

40... yeah i figured you were old. i'm 20 so you might wanna stretch before wednesday. bball has changed since you were in college, so find something to do other than live on this site and trying to rip me for my opinions buddy.

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