UT to play Michigan on Friday at 12:40 p.m.

Vols receive No.9 seed; will play Michigan in NCAA tournament

Bruce Pearl’s NCAA tournament message to his players was short and to the point.

“We’ve got to believe,’’ the Tennessee men’s basketball coach said following Sunday afternoon’s practice. “Let’s make our own history.’’

UT did just that a couple of hours later when it received a school-record sixth consecutive NCAA tournament berth.

Tennessee (19-14) is seeded No. 9 and will play No. 8-seeded Michigan (20-13) on Friday (TV: truTV, 12:40 p.m.) at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., in the West Region.

“I thought we’d get between a No. 8 and No. 10 seed,’’ Pearl said. “I’m just really, really pleased to be in.’’

The Vols reached the Elite Eight last season for the first time in school history.

“I believe if your team makes the NCAA tournament, regardless of the ups and downs, that team should be celebrated,’’ Pearl said. “How this team finishes will also matter to everybody.’’

Tennessee’s possible second-round match up might not be so enticing, depending on your point of view.

Defending national champion Duke (30-4) likely will await the winner of the UT-Michigan game on Sunday.

The Blue Devils, a No. 1 seed and the freshly crowned Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champions, open against No. 16 Hampton (24-8) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference on Friday.

“We can’t afford to look past Michigan; they beat Michigan State twice this year, and that tells you everything you need to know,’’ Vols junior Scotty Hopson said. “But it would be awesome to play Duke; that would be a big stage for us.’’

Tennessee’s last two performances under the bright lights of Time Warner Cable Arena have resulted in dark losses.

The Vols suffered one of the most embarrassing setbacks in Pearl’s six seasons at UT, falling to Charlotte, 49-48, earlier this season on Dec. 17, 2010.

UT was ranked No. 7 at the time, and the loss was Pearl’s first with the Vols to a team with a losing record. The 49ers finished the season 10-20.

UT’s previous trip to Time Warner Cable Arena was perhaps more painful. Louisville ended arguably the best season in school history by eliminating the Vols from the 2008 NCAA tournament with a 79-60 victory in the Sweet 16.

“We haven’t won in that building during my career, and we shot the worst percentages there ever,’’ UT senior center Brian Williams said. “Hopefully, that will change.’’

The 2008 team, which reached the school’s first No. 1 ranking and had the No. 1 RPI entering the postseason, made 19 of 56 shots (33.9 percent) against the Cardinals, including five of 20 from beyond the 3-point arc.

UT shot slightly better in its loss to Charlotte, making 22 of 63 (34.9 percent) and was 2-of-17 shooting on 3-point attempts.

The Vols are 5-8 all-time in the city of Charlotte, dropping four of the past five dating back to 1992.

“We understand we can play better in that gym and shoot better in that gym,’’ Steven Pearl said. “We know the arena background and the layout.’’

UT is 5-4 all-time against Michigan, but the teams have not met since 1985, when UT dropped an 87-52 decision in Ann Arbor.

Bruce Pearl said he didn’t know much off hand about Michigan, but he said it’s a very good shooting team.

“Michigan is a tough team, and a tested team, they make about eight 3s a game,’’ Bruce Pearl said. “I’d say Kentucky is the one team that shoots it as well as they do in our league.

“I would imagine we’ll see some 1-3-1 (zone) . . . and we’ll see a smart man-to-man. (Michigan coach) John Beilein is a brilliant tactician . . . a coach’s coach. It won’t take him very long to figure out what our strengths and weaknesses are.’’

The Wolverines have won seven of their past 10 games, and their 8.09 made 3-point shots per game ranked second in the Big Ten.

Bruce Pearl said the Vols’ biggest challenge is within themselves.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been on the same page,’’ Bruce Pearl said. “Our big focus right now is on us.’’

UT is one of five SEC teams to make it into this season’s NCAA tournament. The other four — Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Georgia — also are from the Eastern Division.

“I said before the season five teams from the East would get in,’’ Bruce Pearl said. “That just shows you how tough the league is.’’

The Vols played 18 games against NCAA tournament teams this season, finishing with a 9-9 record.

“I think that shows we’re capable,’’ Bruce Pearl said. “We’ve had our moments, and we’re going to need more of them.’’

Notebook: Michigan has opened as a one-point favorite over Tennessee. . . . The winner of UT’s Charlotte bracket advances to the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, Calif.

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

Related Links

Comments » 65

Cartersvillevol writes:

Defend the 3, hit the glass --Vols win.

If not, get ready for spring football.

TennVol01 writes:

in response to Cartersvillevol:

Defend the 3, hit the glass --Vols win.

If not, get ready for spring football.

Agree .... which team will show up??

jasvol writes:

Get ready for Spring Practice...Vols will lose by 11. The ref's will whistle an early bad call on Hopson and then he will disappear. Harris will score big time though.

ddt#1340890 writes:

Great to get out of the SEC with the refs that conniving Slive has tagged us with. Now when Williams is thrown to the feet of the refs or Harris is slammed to the floor maybe we can finally get some honest calls. Also if a ref is 3 feet from a player hacking Steven Pearl and turns a blind eye, maybe a technical will not be called if the Coach protest. Do not know if Slivey was condoning the horrendous calls or if he is just an ignorant commissioner; regardless, it will be good to have a chance at fairness.

VOLliven2it writes:

Didn't think I'd be saying it with Tennessee at a 9 seed playing an 8 but they can beat Michigan. Again, it depends on which team shows up. It would be great to get a 20th win but I cannot mark it up.
So....I am already looking ahead to spring football but with the bb Vols the best as they go into the NCAA tourney.

VOLKING writes:

Off topic post...and let me preface this with the fact that I am a UT grad and financial supporter of the athletic program. My blood runs Orange. I just watched a replay of the UT/Vandy game from a few days ago in Nashville, and I am starting to not like some of the reactions our guys have to foul calls...especially Brian Williams. I understand the intense nature and physicality of the game, but do we really have to whine and cry and curse everytime we get a foul called on us? I know we are a physically tough team with lots of pushing and shoving going on, but not every team's players cry and complain nearly as much as we do. Brian W. is the worst. This guy has never committed a foul in his life....in his mind, at least. Scotty Hopson is always posing after a made shot. Now, I really thought Tobias was more mature than these other players, but after watching the last few games, he is starting to act like the other guys on the team...which is bad. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that we cry and complain after every single foul called on us. I have never ever heard of a ref reversing his call based upon a player whining about it. Take it like a man and, when you make a basket, act like you've done it before. We are starting to look incredibly immature. I know these kids are still young, but show some small sense of sportsmanship and dignity. After all that soap box stuff, I still say you have my support all the way. Just ease up on the thug tactics a little. Go Vols! beat Michigan!

vol68 writes:

"We've got to believe" its one and done. From looking at the pictures there was no enthusiasm about their selection. They look about like they have played since getting beat by Charlotte...no excitement, no heart, and a whatever attitude.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

Mich. averages 8 behind the arc a game???? UT is lucky to make 8 3 pointers in six games. There is no consistent shooter in orange, even under the rim. Harris is the most consistent player on the team, but a one man team will not beat Michigan or anybody else at the dance.

VOLKING writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who are you and what have you done with Cantstandsaban?

DutchOrangeVolsOrange writes:

I kind of half watched all of those bracket shows and trust me, there were plenty of those things all over HD TV. Did I hear where the Vols were pretty much in the same bracket with Duke? And WTH does Duke always get to play early rounds games in North Carolina? Did Ohio State get that same sweet deal? I have not even looked at the brackets yet. I know Dick Vitale was B@#tching up a storm because Colorado and Va Tech got left out!

Look, UT can beat Michigan, but beating Duke will be damn near impossible. I think Tennessee has the Hosses to play with Duke also, but hear me now and hear me well, but hear me nonetheless,Tennessee will get no officiating favors in the backyard of friggin Duke! Peace Out and Go Vols!

givehim6 writes:

Just glad we made the NCAA. But it will be a 1st round lose or 1 and done. But let's beat Michigan!

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

It's time...

It is time for the NCAA to
-seed teams 1-48
-let the remainder of the teams play down to get the remaining 16 slots.

This will amp up the tournament even more, let all teams have their chance, yet reward teams who take the RPI risks and play in tough conferences.

It it the logical step.

BleedN_OrangE writes:

in response to DutchOrangeVolsOrange:

I kind of half watched all of those bracket shows and trust me, there were plenty of those things all over HD TV. Did I hear where the Vols were pretty much in the same bracket with Duke? And WTH does Duke always get to play early rounds games in North Carolina? Did Ohio State get that same sweet deal? I have not even looked at the brackets yet. I know Dick Vitale was B@#tching up a storm because Colorado and Va Tech got left out!

Look, UT can beat Michigan, but beating Duke will be damn near impossible. I think Tennessee has the Hosses to play with Duke also, but hear me now and hear me well, but hear me nonetheless,Tennessee will get no officiating favors in the backyard of friggin Duke! Peace Out and Go Vols!

im with you...duke always get to play in backyard..or front yard or neighbors house or somewhere close every year....why???...its rediculous!!!

Katphan29 writes:

in response to ddt#1340890:

Great to get out of the SEC with the refs that conniving Slive has tagged us with. Now when Williams is thrown to the feet of the refs or Harris is slammed to the floor maybe we can finally get some honest calls. Also if a ref is 3 feet from a player hacking Steven Pearl and turns a blind eye, maybe a technical will not be called if the Coach protest. Do not know if Slivey was condoning the horrendous calls or if he is just an ignorant commissioner; regardless, it will be good to have a chance at fairness.

This is definitely not endemic of UT fans in general, but I see far too many UT fans complaining of 'bad calls.' More so than fans of other schools I think.

If a team plays well, the calls will take care of themselves. UT doesn't get any more bad calls than any other team.

Life ain't far. UK beats FL twice in the last two weeks, has a higher RPI, yet gets a 4 seed while Fl gets a 2 seed?

Hey, bring it on. UK can reach the final four, and the harder the road, the greater the glory.

Good luck to all SEC teams in the tourney, and best to UT in beating Michigan.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I will probably be working during the stupid game!!! MAYBE I can hijack a TV somewhere.

BeRealistic writes:

I agree, show some small sense of sportsmanship & dignity. When you get on wrong side of refs or NCAA officials, you're asking for it.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

The team (especially Hopson and Tatum) should step up and focus and PLAY TO WIN, even if the result is a blowout loss or a loss by a point or two. If the team loses by not stepping up and focusing and then say at the after-game interviews "We didn't step up and focus" (or something like it) ONE MORE TIME...

TommyVols writes:

in response to VOLKING:

Off topic post...and let me preface this with the fact that I am a UT grad and financial supporter of the athletic program. My blood runs Orange. I just watched a replay of the UT/Vandy game from a few days ago in Nashville, and I am starting to not like some of the reactions our guys have to foul calls...especially Brian Williams. I understand the intense nature and physicality of the game, but do we really have to whine and cry and curse everytime we get a foul called on us? I know we are a physically tough team with lots of pushing and shoving going on, but not every team's players cry and complain nearly as much as we do. Brian W. is the worst. This guy has never committed a foul in his life....in his mind, at least. Scotty Hopson is always posing after a made shot. Now, I really thought Tobias was more mature than these other players, but after watching the last few games, he is starting to act like the other guys on the team...which is bad. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that we cry and complain after every single foul called on us. I have never ever heard of a ref reversing his call based upon a player whining about it. Take it like a man and, when you make a basket, act like you've done it before. We are starting to look incredibly immature. I know these kids are still young, but show some small sense of sportsmanship and dignity. After all that soap box stuff, I still say you have my support all the way. Just ease up on the thug tactics a little. Go Vols! beat Michigan!

your must be blind because your the f......thug

cloudodust writes:

Get the negative stats outta your heads. That's playing into personal weakness. As Pappy liked to say when faced with adversity, 'Can't never could and Can always will.' GBO...

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to bigorangegoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I want some of what you are drinking. Must be good stuff. One and done, I fear

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to TommyVols:

your must be blind because your the f......thug

Are you just ticked because he is telling it like it is? Our players act exactly that way. And Bruce getting a T because his son was called for a foul. His son, who wouldn't be on the floor for 98% of SEC schools

larry#1388664 writes:

Please....please...please...practice outside the circle. If we can't make the 3's (and we haven't been), defending them isn't going to matter.

brod writes:

i'm glad that they got a bid. i didn't really think that they deserved it. they probably would have done well in the nit. played well in the sec tourney but shouldn't have tried to run with florida. ut will not beat michigan unless bone or tatum, or both contributes points to the team. those guys have to step up and knock down some shots.

Outdated writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree..except KY..Florida ONE free throw the first half to 14 for KY..Sound familiar? Sure hope no SEC official works Tenn games in this tournament..Not looking for and excuse..Just Mercy....

nepperso#220348 writes:

First, Go Vols. Second, I don't like our chances. Third, Go Vols.

Outdated writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Are you just ticked because he is telling it like it is? Our players act exactly that way. And Bruce getting a T because his son was called for a foul. His son, who wouldn't be on the floor for 98% of SEC schools

Steven could not dress or play for 100 per cent of the rest of the SEC..but his father may be using him to show the other guys what a less talented player can do when he plays with passion..something that appears to be lacking at times..I see Steven as being a role player, a positive for the team, and the best basketball mind on the floor..he is a good defender because he anticipates what his man is going to do and moves his feet to get in position...TOO many times we have others on defense just following their man until he shoots a layup...
I strongly believe we will have to play some zone to protect Cameron and Scotty on defense and we need them on the floor to score..

FarmerVol writes:

GBO - one more game and hopefully more.

huntined#565710 writes:

Fla. and KY have the best chance to reach the sweet 16. GA. has a tough first game in WASHINGTON and if they win that one they may face N.C. TENN also has a tough first game and if they win they get DUKE. VANDY. Will get LOUISVILLE in their second game. KY. will get W.V. for their second game. Fla. will get M.S. or UCLA and I think they can win either game. We may have one or two in the sweet 16 but a hard road to get there.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Look, I get you're upset that your boys got a 4 seed while Florida got a 2 seed, but why do you always resort to childish name calling. Go to the Kentucky board and cry with your brethren.

maciste54 writes:

Am I the only one one here that doesn't have a clue what truTV is ?

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, if the Vols can't go all the way, I hope Vandy wins it. It would be especially good if Stallings could knock Rick Pitino out in the 2nd round. Hopefully Kentucky gets beat by Princeton in the 1st round or very shortly thereafter. Good luck to all SEC schools except Kentucky.

brod writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How about this fact dumb a** of the year... 6 straight ncaa bids, a record at ut. maybe you should leave your parent's basement and go watch "your boys" play in charlotte on friday.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You have a very liberal defintion of the word fact and I've never seen a Tennessee fan cheer so hard for them to lose. I don't know if Pearl is the only one who could do what he did here, he probably isn't, but he's the only one who has, and if he goes we're not going to get someone who can equal what he's done. If Pearl is fired, statistically if you get Tennessee to the NCAA tournament there's a 100% chance you'll be fired for doing so, what kind of coach is going to walk into that job situation who has better options? The Arkansas job being open wouldn't help us. Everyone assume's we'll be back next year regardless of who's coaching, well fine, but I trust Bruce to recover quicker from a bad year than some new coach who has accomplished nothing.

stevefrommemphis writes:

It appears to me that what Pearl's been accused of is about like what Martha Stewart went to jail for, while the Bernie Madoff's of the sleazy world of NCAA basketball recruiting continue to operate unchallenged.

Could somebody who has been paying attention seriously tell me what percentage of the Pearl bashers on here are Kentucky fans, what % are troll fans of other schools, and what % are known to be Tennessee fans?

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to maciste54:

Am I the only one one here that doesn't have a clue what truTV is ?

I will give you an intelligent answer, unlike the one PearlMustGo gave you.

It is channel 39(used to be CourtTV..I think) on Comcast..Not sure which cable company you are subscibed to..May need to do some research.

As far as our seed, I thought we would get a 10, so it is definitely better than expected..I guess winning a game in the SEC tourney helped getting that 9 seed...We can beat Michigan as long as the team that beat Pitt(or close to it)shows up..Take it one game at a time and let the chips fall where they may.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

I will give you an intelligent answer, unlike the one PearlMustGo gave you.

It is channel 39(used to be CourtTV..I think) on Comcast..Not sure which cable company you are subscibed to..May need to do some research.

As far as our seed, I thought we would get a 10, so it is definitely better than expected..I guess winning a game in the SEC tourney helped getting that 9 seed...We can beat Michigan as long as the team that beat Pitt(or close to it)shows up..Take it one game at a time and let the chips fall where they may.

I thought we'd be lower than a 9, then I saw Georgia get a 10, and I thought we'd either get higher seeding based on the fact our resume was stronger, or we'd be left out, which given some of the choices this committe made wasn't completely out of the realm of possibility.

BeRealistic writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

For your information, the item on rooftops is spelled (antenna), which is a thing of the past, which is what you should be on this site. To you vol fans who have dish, trutv is channel 204 HD.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

in response to VOLKING:

Off topic post...and let me preface this with the fact that I am a UT grad and financial supporter of the athletic program. My blood runs Orange. I just watched a replay of the UT/Vandy game from a few days ago in Nashville, and I am starting to not like some of the reactions our guys have to foul calls...especially Brian Williams. I understand the intense nature and physicality of the game, but do we really have to whine and cry and curse everytime we get a foul called on us? I know we are a physically tough team with lots of pushing and shoving going on, but not every team's players cry and complain nearly as much as we do. Brian W. is the worst. This guy has never committed a foul in his life....in his mind, at least. Scotty Hopson is always posing after a made shot. Now, I really thought Tobias was more mature than these other players, but after watching the last few games, he is starting to act like the other guys on the team...which is bad. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that we cry and complain after every single foul called on us. I have never ever heard of a ref reversing his call based upon a player whining about it. Take it like a man and, when you make a basket, act like you've done it before. We are starting to look incredibly immature. I know these kids are still young, but show some small sense of sportsmanship and dignity. After all that soap box stuff, I still say you have my support all the way. Just ease up on the thug tactics a little. Go Vols! beat Michigan!

When you watch a game do you show any emotion after a great play or a bad call. Do you jump up and scream, occasionally yell at the TV. If the answer to any of those is yes, does that make you a thug. You expect the person making the play to act like a robot and not get excited but it's okay for fans to lose their minds and yell and scream and write things on the internet but the kids playing should show no emotion. I say act like you've watched a game before!!!!!!!!!!!!

utk1996 writes:

From what I have seen since December, I just cannot imagine Tennessee beating a legitimate team. I hope I'm wrong, but is a team able to just turn it on. They are what they are...and that is a sub-par basketball team. Hopefully they will play hard. I don't think we are all of a sudden going to start hitting threes. If we stop shooting threes altogether, drive to the hole, and play tremendous defense, we might have a shot. I wish I could be more optimistic, but they really haven't given me a reason to be.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

I hope I am wrong, but UT players, coaches and fans should pack overnight bags for Charlotte and leave the suitcases at home.

Prove me wrong Vols!

GBO!

steph3474 writes:

in response to BleedN_OrangE:

im with you...duke always get to play in backyard..or front yard or neighbors house or somewhere close every year....why???...its rediculous!!!

Feel fortunate. Duke played their way into playing in their backyard by beating Carolina in the ACC Finals. Think of it this way. Charlotte isn't that far from Knoxville either. This is exactly why UT played Charlotte there this season, so at least UT has recent experience in the building, even though the game they played there was awful.

username writes:

Unbridled, unabashed optimism... that's what I love about this forum. It's so contagious.

PennVol writes:

What's our best offensive game plan to get a high ratio of scores vs. possessions? With our poor shooters, I vote for Harris, Hopson and Goins driving to hoop (since they are the only ones who can score/shoot free throws), and tell Williams to crash the offensive boards for put backs. It makes no sense for Tatum, McBee, Fields or Pearl to even take a shot.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to PennVol:

What's our best offensive game plan to get a high ratio of scores vs. possessions? With our poor shooters, I vote for Harris, Hopson and Goins driving to hoop (since they are the only ones who can score/shoot free throws), and tell Williams to crash the offensive boards for put backs. It makes no sense for Tatum, McBee, Fields or Pearl to even take a shot.

Harris and Williams could be effective given the size mismatch. This Michigan match up is not a bad one compared to whom we could have drawn.

onlyhappenstoUT writes:

I am a huge UT fan, but im also a realist. Michigan plays zone and averages around 8 3's a game?? Well UT is 1 and done. Thats all you need to know. If Tatum sits the entire time we may have a chance and if McMiss makes a couple 3's we may keep it close. Lets be real, it only happens to UT!!

SpiritOfTheHill writes:

in response to BeRealistic:

For your information, the item on rooftops is spelled (antenna), which is a thing of the past, which is what you should be on this site. To you vol fans who have dish, trutv is channel 204 HD.

Hilarious!

Hey BeRealistic, maybe you should Google the word "antennae" before you go and start criticizing people.

SpiritOfTheHill writes:

in response to SpiritOfTheHill:

Hilarious!

Hey BeRealistic, maybe you should Google the word "antennae" before you go and start criticizing people.

In case you don't want to do that, though, I'll sum up: "antennae" is a correct plural spelling of the word "antenna," but it isn't completely accurate in this case, for that plural only applies to "antenna" in the biological sense. In the radio/TV usage of the word, the proper plural is "antennas."

oskie_score writes:

Tennessee matches up well w/ Michigan. Difference makers---Goins needs to penetrate and dish as well as drive to the basket, Hopson needs to be on (period), Williams needs to stay out of foul trouble and hold down the middle, bench needs to contribute, Team needs to hit their FT's, don't rely on the 3 and/or pull the trigger too quickly from behind the arc, and keep TO's to a minimum. IMO.

Play to your strengths.

Good luck Vols!

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree completely. Wishful thinking doesn't change reality. You can't just turn it on when you want to. They haven't played good basketball since December. They "can" win but the last two months of play says they won't. GBO!

thevoice writes:

in response to BeRealistic:

I agree, show some small sense of sportsmanship & dignity. When you get on wrong side of refs or NCAA officials, you're asking for it.

So true. Be thankful we got a 9 seed people.

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