Pearl is 'still pretty burned from yesterday'

Bruce Pearl on the Hopson/Liggins matchup during the Kentucky game

Game summary: Tennessee vs. Kentucky (March 6, 2011)

Bruce Pearl most always attempts to put a positive spin on things, but the Tennessee coach isn't bothering to try to mask his disappointment after Sunday's loss to rival Kentucky.

“Still pretty burned from yesterday, just the way things unfolded for us,'' Pearl said at his weekly press luncheon on Monday. “It's hard to disguise the disappointment. ... what it is, is what it is, and it's been tough.''

The Vols (18-13) missed out on an opportunity to win the SEC Eastern Division's No. 2 seed by dropping a 64-58 decision to No. 15 Kentucky (22-8) on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee finished with the No. 5 seed in the division with the loss, putting them into a first-round matchup against Arkansas (18-12) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the SEC tournament at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The winner plays the SEC regular season champion, No. 12 Florida (24-6), at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Pearl said the status of UT senior center Brian Williams remains unknown, but he added there's a chance Williams will try to practice this afternoon.

Williams hasn't played or practiced since the Vols' loss to Mississippi State on Feb. 26, when he injured his back.

Pearl said his six outgoing seniors took Sunday's loss to Kentucky particularly hard, but he was pleased by the support he felt after the game when he and his players went into the stands to thank the fans.

“I can't begin to tell you what the response was; It was genuinely positive,'' Pearl said. ”I think our fans appreciated seeing me and the players up there. They were disappointed but very supportive.''

UT finished this season 10-8 in home games, the most losses since UT finished 7-8 during the 1994-95 season under kevin O'Neill.

The Vols finished fifth in the nation in home attendance, averaging 18,952. Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville and North Carolina were the schools to finish ahead of UT in average home attendance.

Pearl was asked if he felt the Vols had clinched at NCAA at-large berth at this stage of the season.

“We have some math that puts us in there, but I don't want to leave it up to that,'' said Pearl, whose team is No. 36 in the RPI rankings with a strength of schedule that ranks third in the nation.

“We've got eight wins versus top 50 (RPI) teams, and it would be 10 if Belmont wasn't 51 (in the RPI),'' Pearl said. “We've got 11 wins versus the top 100 (RPI); we have a great road record, but some bad losses.''

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 » 159

VOLliven2it writes:

Some of we fans feel burned too but it is what it is!

Pompey writes:

...the basketball program and the AD look tired and burned out....perhaps its time for a complete house cleaning........

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

The good news is that they have an opportunity to redeem themselves real soon. A loss to Arkansas, and they probably don't deserve to go to the NCAA tournament. Win the SEC tournament, and no one cares about the game yesterday.

KptDBVol writes:

....and perhaps not.

perhaps its time to quit piling on, support our people and move forward! Perhaps.....

CrankE writes:

Horse = Everything going on in the program. Pearl's problems, the team's lack of chemistry/leadership, etc.

Cart = Kentucky 64 UT 58, 10-8 at home, 5th place SEC East, etc.

Why should the horse get "burned" at the cart?

huntined#565710 writes:

That was a tough loss but a loss with ARK. Thursday will be A TOUGHER LOSS.

vut56#231073 writes:

Marvin West wrote an interesting column in Shoppers News, yesterday. No axe grinding, no vendettas, no personal bias; just laid out the facts of this season. One statement jumped out; "...it's his mess." (CBP) This team was recruited, formed, coached, directed, "cheated on" and game planned by none other than CBP. The buck stops there. If we are unhappy with the results, it is simple and a non-issue where responsibility should be affixed. We have had a great run. Will there be more? Only time will tell but there should be no mistake or soft soaping who or what is responsible for this year's lack of achievement.

CRFVols writes:

::yawn:: In other news....the Lady Vols look poised to make a deep run at another National Championship.

CoverOrange writes:

I hope they do nothing but practice offense the next three days.

kazoo writes:

You need people who can shoot and score consistently to be a good basketball team. This team simply doesn't have enough scorers. Hopson is our most dependable shooter, but his game is mostly mid-range and slashing to the basekt. Tatum has had a bad year, and there is nobody who can make a three consistently. Inside, no real scoring threat--it's too bad Williams just doesn't have any moves or a touch. When you struggle to score you will have trouble winning games. Just not a very good team: Pearl needs to find a shooter or two...

westknoxrepub writes:

Just be careful what you ask for people. . .next year some of you want some guy who was in the SoCon or A-Sun last year explaining how "this was a rebuilding year" and "in five years we should be in a position to possibly make the NIT"

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to kazoo:

You need people who can shoot and score consistently to be a good basketball team. This team simply doesn't have enough scorers. Hopson is our most dependable shooter, but his game is mostly mid-range and slashing to the basekt. Tatum has had a bad year, and there is nobody who can make a three consistently. Inside, no real scoring threat--it's too bad Williams just doesn't have any moves or a touch. When you struggle to score you will have trouble winning games. Just not a very good team: Pearl needs to find a shooter or two...

Hopson's deficencies were masked last year and he is NOT a leader. If you had a Chism type of leader on the team this year we've probably have three or four more wins.

TDTennesseeisfree writes:

With all of the BS that Pearl has caused Tennessee this year, you would think he would WANT to win the game with KY. Had we won, a second place finish is the East would have erased all of the bad play since starting 7-0, but NO, Pearl doesn't get his team up to win this game especially at home. This in my opinion is the worst loss this season. I believe everyone picked us to finish 5th in the east anyway......what a disppointment.

samvol writes:

In other news……Way to go Lady Vols...didn’t take P. Summit long to rebuild..she’s on her way to yet another National Championship...When you live right, treat people with respect, don’t cheat and lie to the NCAA…you have a long coaching career and good things happen for ya……. I hope BP has learned something from this experience..if nothing else not to lie to the NCAA or at the lease picked up some coaching tips from Pat Summit…but I doubt it.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to samvol:

In other news……Way to go Lady Vols...didn’t take P. Summit long to rebuild..she’s on her way to yet another National Championship...When you live right, treat people with respect, don’t cheat and lie to the NCAA…you have a long coaching career and good things happen for ya……. I hope BP has learned something from this experience..if nothing else not to lie to the NCAA or at the lease picked up some coaching tips from Pat Summit…but I doubt it.

Hmm, Pat calls out a player in the media, nobody flinches, Bruce does it everyone gets mad. Then again it's not like most people pay attention to women's basketball, despite what the local and national media would have you believe Women's basketball is far behind Men's basketball in revenue and attendence.

NashvillePreds writes:

If they don't beat Arkansas, they have no business in the NCAA tourney.
Had they held their own against the pathetic SEC West, they wouldn't have been in the position they were yesterday. Losses to Arkansas, Bama (at home), and Miss State (at home), are inexcusable.

MusicCityVol writes:

Vols are in the NCAA's win or lose but it would be nice to build a little momentum with a few wins in Atlanta. We need Brian Williams back on the glass ASAP. Our history has not been good in conference tournaments.

SEC Tournament - Past and Present
http://checkerboardchatter.blogspot.c...

BobbyGraham writes:

i am so burned that i just read a baseball article.

volscantball writes:

The fans will feel the burn too when the NCAA throws them sanctions their way. Better hope they get in the Big Dance. It will be the last time Pearl does it as the Vols head coach.

lomas98 writes:

in response to kazoo:

You need people who can shoot and score consistently to be a good basketball team. This team simply doesn't have enough scorers. Hopson is our most dependable shooter, but his game is mostly mid-range and slashing to the basekt. Tatum has had a bad year, and there is nobody who can make a three consistently. Inside, no real scoring threat--it's too bad Williams just doesn't have any moves or a touch. When you struggle to score you will have trouble winning games. Just not a very good team: Pearl needs to find a shooter or two...

Which is exactly why this team is 18-13 and 8-8. The games they won early the consistent and scoring group showed up. In other games, those key players vanished. Nobody can step up and when something isn't going their way, just find another way to score. We have struggled in the half court and if the other team isn't turning it over, we have a tough time scoring. When one or two players do show up, our defense and rebounding is usually good enough to win. I recall only 2 games where we didn't have a realistic chance once the game started. At KY and Charleston. They have been in every game with some close losses which is even more surprising with the deficiencies they have. Based on all that I think 1-1 in SECT and 0-1 in NCAA.

Ironcity writes:

in response to TDTennesseeisfree:

With all of the BS that Pearl has caused Tennessee this year, you would think he would WANT to win the game with KY. Had we won, a second place finish is the East would have erased all of the bad play since starting 7-0, but NO, Pearl doesn't get his team up to win this game especially at home. This in my opinion is the worst loss this season. I believe everyone picked us to finish 5th in the east anyway......what a disppointment.

What? Pearl didn't want to win? The team wasn't up? I guess you didn't watch the game. No this team lacks a toughness from its leaders and the basketball IQ of this team is as low as I have ever seen. That combination is tough to overcome in tight games.

You can't teach toughness, you either have it or you don't at this level. Unfortunately the only ones who have it happen to be the least talented players on the team.

My guess is next year we will see a different style of play from this team and though record might be similar, it will be a far more entertaining team to watch and root for.

robvols#366273 writes:

I am not going to be happy if I am back at Madison Sqaure Garden watching the Vols in the NIT in a few weeks. Yes, it was great to see the Vols in person playing there in December, but not now. And after seeing them take down Villanova in the title game, having them back at The Garden is the last thing anyone expected.

FearlessFreep writes:

I'm still 'pretty burned' that our program is under investigation and our coach lied to the NCAA.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to robvols#366273:

I am not going to be happy if I am back at Madison Sqaure Garden watching the Vols in the NIT in a few weeks. Yes, it was great to see the Vols in person playing there in December, but not now. And after seeing them take down Villanova in the title game, having them back at The Garden is the last thing anyone expected.

ESPN.com still has us in the tournament as a 9 seed. However, given the comments of some people here, they really don't care if we make the post season anyways.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Hmm, Pat calls out a player in the media, nobody flinches, Bruce does it everyone gets mad. Then again it's not like most people pay attention to women's basketball, despite what the local and national media would have you believe Women's basketball is far behind Men's basketball in revenue and attendence.

Vols,

Comparing the men and women basketball fortunes, notice who is the perennial winner. Yes, I want to see the men win as much as just about anyone.

However, this is what I like about women's basketball.
It's the purest form of a team first sport. There isn't a goal of trying to make the ESPN highlight reel at 11 p.m. with slam dunks and show boating.
Occasionally there will be a few exceptions to this, but I just haven't seen a lot of scoring and then staring at the cameras and beating the chests with the women's game.

The men can be exciting to watch for sure, but it's a lot of "watch me" and if I don't score, I pout.

That cloud hanging over the men all year has just played itself out. That and lack of any form of dependable scoring, especially from outside, and around the rim.........with what big people we do have.

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

If they don't beat Arkansas, they have no business in the NCAA tourney.
Had they held their own against the pathetic SEC West, they wouldn't have been in the position they were yesterday. Losses to Arkansas, Bama (at home), and Miss State (at home), are inexcusable.

You people are unreal. You say losing to Ark, Bama, and MSU is inexcusable. Bama has a good team and MSU is always well coached. Ark has one of the best 3-pt shooters in the nation. Why do you think Tenn necessarily should beat these people? Tenn has had some good teams recently, too, but it isn't a 'give-me' that they will beat all of these teams every year. Get real. Your team didn't have a good outside shooter, it played loose at times, and the Pearl distraction certainly didn't help the chemistry. This conference has a number of solid teams and no one is going to take them all every time. Clearly, Florida had the best of the conference. You won some good games, you lost some. Don't think you're going to walk away with things so easily. It's a competitive league.

dharmabum writes:

Do something big - dump pearl and hire pat for men's job

easleychuck writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

If they don't beat Arkansas, they have no business in the NCAA tourney.
Had they held their own against the pathetic SEC West, they wouldn't have been in the position they were yesterday. Losses to Arkansas, Bama (at home), and Miss State (at home), are inexcusable.

Have to agree with you, the only caveat is that I do believe that they could have beaten Bammer with Hopson.

But you, in my opinon, are correct. If they do not beat Ark, they have on business being in the tourney.

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

You people are unreal. You say losing to Ark, Bama, and MSU is inexcusable. Bama has a good team and MSU is always well coached. Ark has one of the best 3-pt shooters in the nation. Why do you think Tenn necessarily should beat these people? Tenn has had some good teams recently, too, but it isn't a 'give-me' that they will beat all of these teams every year. Get real. Your team didn't have a good outside shooter, it played loose at times, and the Pearl distraction certainly didn't help the chemistry. This conference has a number of solid teams and no one is going to take them all every time. Clearly, Florida had the best of the conference. You won some good games, you lost some. Don't think you're going to walk away with things so easily. It's a competitive league.

Miss State, and Arkansas have no chance at the tourney. Unless Bama does something in the SEC tourney, they probably don't make the NCAA tourney.
Hence, those losses are inexcusable.
Why are you perusing a Tennessee site anyway?
No internet for bubba?

TommyJack writes:

in response to dharmabum:

Do something big - dump pearl and hire pat for men's job

Don't be a putz.

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to TDTennesseeisfree:

With all of the BS that Pearl has caused Tennessee this year, you would think he would WANT to win the game with KY. Had we won, a second place finish is the East would have erased all of the bad play since starting 7-0, but NO, Pearl doesn't get his team up to win this game especially at home. This in my opinion is the worst loss this season. I believe everyone picked us to finish 5th in the east anyway......what a disppointment.

You're right. They didn't want to win. What a clown. Getting picked last in kickball has really stuck with you. Let it go. At least act like you've been in competition in something before.

CrankE writes:

Does anybody remember when Cal left Tiger High for UK? Pearl leveraged that into a big raise as Mike Hamilton was worried Memphis would hire Pearl away from us. After the deal was all taken care of, Pearl let on that there was never any real danger of him leaving. Later Pearl all but thanked Cal for getting him a raise.

I said then that the honeymoon was over. I'm pretty burned about Pearl's failure to even it up with UK over his tenure.

Vol_Jokes writes:

I see the vols are doing their usual end of season swan dive. Doing a nose dive when other teams are peaking. Pearl, the man, the legend, the liar.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to CrankE:

Does anybody remember when Cal left Tiger High for UK? Pearl leveraged that into a big raise as Mike Hamilton was worried Memphis would hire Pearl away from us. After the deal was all taken care of, Pearl let on that there was never any real danger of him leaving. Later Pearl all but thanked Cal for getting him a raise.

I said then that the honeymoon was over. I'm pretty burned about Pearl's failure to even it up with UK over his tenure.

You must have been really frustrated for a very very long time then because Mears was the last coach to really do that.

I don't know what coach you think is going to come here that can "even things" with Kentucky, or even keep the program on the level it's on now. The last two times we fired a coach after making it to the tourney we screwed up big time.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

These guys traditionally play best when their backs are against the wall.. They've got to approach every game with that mindset. The team that beat 'Nova and Pitt' is there somewhere...they just have to find it.

It's going to be interesting to see how Bruce treats BW. If he's confident the Vols will make the NcAA, does he rest Brian for the NCAA, or does he play Brian in the first round of the SEC like they're on the bubble?

clvolfan writes:

in response to volscantball:

The fans will feel the burn too when the NCAA throws them sanctions their way. Better hope they get in the Big Dance. It will be the last time Pearl does it as the Vols head coach.

"AGREE'D"

PennVol writes:

This year March madness = getting ready for spring football practice.

volsfan74 writes:

Look I do not profess to be capable of coaching at the NCAA level but I wish I could coach them for one week my number one rule would be NO ONE I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR NAME IS can shoot a 3 point shot until I give them the okay. I played high school basketball and 2 things my coach made us do 1. Pass 3 times in a set offense 2. shoot shots that were in our zone. what do I mean shoot shots that were in our zone in the first 3 weeks of practice our coach determined where every players zone was for shooting and if we shot out side of that area we ran (and I don't mean 1 lap around the court) it taught us discipline and ALL of us had a much better shooting percentage. There is no shame if your shooting zone is within 10 feet of the basket what is shameful is shooting bricks that is 5 feet beyond your range. This team continuously rushes shots and shoots shots that they can not make consistently. Again I am no coach if I were we probably couldn't even make it to the NIT.

thevoice writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

I hope they do nothing but practice offense the next three days.

As in not jacking up ill-advised 3s! Let's also practice free throws, lose ball hustle, blocking out, passing the ball, playing with passion and heart, guard penetration, free throw shooting, late game defense, later game offense, set plays, and more free throw shooting.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There is a difference between assigning blame for the season (which does fall on Bruce) and whether or not the greatest coach in the history of the program should be fired after taking us to what could be six straight NCAA tournament births. Were we to fire him, the odds of any coach of quality coming here would be non-existant because they would be following a winner.

My expectations have been raised, thanks to Pearl, that we should make the NCAA tournament every year. We shouldn't have to go through coach after coach after coach and be satisifed with making the tournament every once in a while. I don't want "great runs", I want sustained success, and if you're being honest the best chance of that happening is to keep Pearl until he HAS to be fired otherwise we're setting back the program another 26 years.

volsfan74 writes:

in response to thevoice:

As in not jacking up ill-advised 3s! Let's also practice free throws, lose ball hustle, blocking out, passing the ball, playing with passion and heart, guard penetration, free throw shooting, late game defense, later game offense, set plays, and more free throw shooting.

We manage the end of the game and the shot clock about as well as Les Miles manages the last 3 minutes of a football game.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And yet we'll probably still make the NCAA tournament, something Buzz never did.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If he does, we're screwed, and if we don't get into the tournament next year, I'll be calling for the new coaches job, my expectations are high, a school with the resources of UT should be in the tournament every year.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So I assume if the hire is made and it's some fraud like Rick Byrd, or some SoCon or A-Sun flavor of the month, you'll be decrying thier miserable coaching job as we watch other teams go to the tournament.

thevoice writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You forgot Michigan State (remember them?), Alabama, Auburn, Indiana, MS schools, etc. When you're making the Tourney, it's not a big deal. When you're not, is it.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I have more faith in Pearl rebuilding than I do some low level Division I coach who only took the job because there were no other options available to him.

volsfan74 writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Even if he resigned the NCAA could still ban/ suspend him. I do not see how Pearl gains anything at this point if he resigns. It's unfortunate but he has put a blemish on his name and is not a HOT Commodity. With that said he is a great coach and a great motivator and the best man for the job, I believe he has learned and paid dearly for his error in judgment. This team had question marks before the season started. Chism and Prince although not great individually played with a lot of heart, passion and hunger you can't coach that. Combine the loss of leadership (Chism/ Prince) and the self inflected trials has been frustating but we still had anabove average season for UT Basketball (according to history).

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's another problem, a new coach will have to be told to kiss Pat's ring, and play on a floor with her name on it, and to most Men's Basketball coaches that's kind of embarassing.

TennVol01 writes:

For most of the year I "blamed" the referees, the sanctions, and the coaches. But now I feel comfortable to just say that UT does not have the talent. Yesterday I watched 6 or 7 KY players kick but against 10 or 11 UT players. Most of KY players are not even one year out of high school. UT has 6 seniors, juniors, sophomores, and a one talented freshman. UT and it's experienced players should have easily taken down KY ... especially at home with 20,000 screaming and yelling fans.

So, I believe Pearl when he says he is bummed. He worked hard all season to get UT to gel. To play to their fullest potential. And, now it shows that even when they play hard, they cannot win a game when they need to. No talent ... equals fewer wins.

Yesterday was probably the last home game for Bruce Pearl as well as Steven Pearl. I don't think he wants to be here anymore. I don't think he wants to go thru all the NCAA sanctions in the public eyes. He has millions and can sit out a few years. Let the fires die down. Then start over new, once the sanctions have died down. Good luck Coach, and thank you for bringing men's basketball back the Tennessee.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to TennVol01:

For most of the year I "blamed" the referees, the sanctions, and the coaches. But now I feel comfortable to just say that UT does not have the talent. Yesterday I watched 6 or 7 KY players kick but against 10 or 11 UT players. Most of KY players are not even one year out of high school. UT has 6 seniors, juniors, sophomores, and a one talented freshman. UT and it's experienced players should have easily taken down KY ... especially at home with 20,000 screaming and yelling fans.

So, I believe Pearl when he says he is bummed. He worked hard all season to get UT to gel. To play to their fullest potential. And, now it shows that even when they play hard, they cannot win a game when they need to. No talent ... equals fewer wins.

Yesterday was probably the last home game for Bruce Pearl as well as Steven Pearl. I don't think he wants to be here anymore. I don't think he wants to go thru all the NCAA sanctions in the public eyes. He has millions and can sit out a few years. Let the fires die down. Then start over new, once the sanctions have died down. Good luck Coach, and thank you for bringing men's basketball back the Tennessee.

Well if he leaves you can kiss it goodbye. I don't have the confidence we're going to get a quality coach and we're headed back to the dark (curtain) ages.

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