John Beilein a new puzzle for Bruce Pearl

Pearl asked to visit about zone defense

Bruce Pearl on Michigan

Bruce Pearl has long been an admirer of Michigan coach John Beilein's basketball genius.

The Tennessee men's coach, along with others, once was denied the opportunity to be a Beilein imitator.

"I really like that 1-3-1 zone John runs, so three or four years ago we called him and told him we wanted to visit with him about it,'' said Pearl, who isn't shy about borrowing good ideas from coaches at the NBA and college level.

"John said, 'I'll send you all the tape you want, and I appreciate your interest, but generally speaking, we don't visit with other people about what we do,' " Pearl said. "I was thinking about going to a 1-3-1 zone because our team was about to get longer.''

Pearl's No. 9-seeded Vols (19-14) are about to play Beilein's No. 8-seeded Wolverines (20-13) at 12:40 p.m. Friday as they open the NCAA tournament in a second-round game in Charlotte, N.C.

By then, UT hopes to be familiar with Beilein's complicated, guarded - and highly successful - ways.

Beilein, 58, is the only active coach to have achieved 20-win seasons at four different collegiate levels: junior college, NAIA, Division II and Division I.

Prior to his ongoing rebuilding effort at Michigan, Beilein was at West Virginia (2002-07), leading the Mountaineers to an Elite Eight, a Sweet 16 and an NIT championship.

No doubt, Beilein is the college basketball version of Auburn football offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, having designed innovative schemes with spread concepts that have been successful at all levels.

In Monday's practice, the Vols' scout team enjoyed eye-popping success against the starters while running Beilein's offense. Reserves Jordan McRae and Renaldo Woolridge buried numerous open 3-pointers off passes from guards Tyler Summitt and Michael Hubert.

"Just putting it in today on our scout team, those guys were successful running that offense against us,'' UT senior center Brian Williams said. "That offense is tough to check.''

The Vols' basketball IQ and court awareness will be tested like never before this season.

"It's tough; they set a lot of screens, they read screens well, they do back-door actions. There's a lot they can do,'' UT senior Josh Bone said. "It's not just one play; there are a variety of movements, and you have to stay focused.

"I hope we can come up with something that can stop them.''

The Vols have plenty of experienced minds working on it; Pearl's not the only UT coach who has studied Beilein in past seasons.

UT director of video scouting, Houston Fancher, formerly head coach at Appalachian State from 2000 to 2009, is another admirer of Beilein's schemes.

"John was at Richmond (1997-2002) when I was at Appalachian State, and they beat us so bad one year we put in his offense the next season,'' Fancher said. "We finished second in the nation in scoring offense, behind Kansas, running his offense.

"But John won't tell you how he does what he does; he'll send you the tape and make you figure it out for yourself,'' Fancher said. "This is an offense he made up himself, all the way back when he was a high school coach (1975-78).''

UT associate head coach Tony Jones said he remembers the first time he saw Beilein's unorthodox ways, when he was an assistant at Buffalo and Beilein was at Canisius (1992-97).

"Impressive,'' Jones said. "They do a lot of things that we'll have to be ready for.''

Pearl said he's thankful the Vols play Michigan on Friday instead of Thursday.

"We haven't seen anything like this all year,'' Pearl said. "A lot of the principles you need to have in the SEC, being away from your man, toward the ball and up lines, you have to throw all that stuff out when you go up against that Princeton-Georgetown (motion offense) stuff.

"We went against it, we taped it, so now we'll put their action in our scout tapes and show the guys how we guarded it, where we guarded it well, where we struggled against it,'' he said.

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Comments » 58

BleedN_OrangE writes:

wellllllllll....this story sure does make me confident....buckle ure seatbelts fans...this rollercoaster ride just gets better and better...mcrae and swiperboy pullin down threes...goin to order me a new bottle of bloodpressure medication right NOWWWW

samjrr writes:

in response to BleedN_OrangE:

wellllllllll....this story sure does make me confident....buckle ure seatbelts fans...this rollercoaster ride just gets better and better...mcrae and swiperboy pullin down threes...goin to order me a new bottle of bloodpressure medication right NOWWWW

Think I'll do the same! LOL!

Bigger_Al writes:

If McRae can hit an open 3, shouldn't he be playing ahead of Tatum? Tatum has the same disease that Jordan Howell had.

BleedN_OrangE writes:

in response to samjrr:

Think I'll do the same! LOL!

LOL....by the time this game is over i have a feeli'n i will have drank a case of beer smoked 2 packs of ciggarettes....will be in dying need of a heart moniter...my head will be on the verge of explosion...and no voice left from screaming sooo loud...this team drives me crazyyyyyy

Scottgame writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They started the year hot, beating ... ahem ... Oakland, but struggled when conf. action got going. Then in the middle of that they hung tough with Kansas and Ohio St. which got em rolling again. Then they beat last year's F4 team and rival, MSU, twice. A buzzer beater loss to Wisky nearly set em back again. UM is loaded with Fr., and So. with a couple Jr. shooting guards. I see a Meeeeechigan W. Either way, whoever wins will get stomped by Duke.

BigOrangeVol writes:

The guys are going to be tested on their basketball IQ and court awareness? We're screwed! Oh well, not like Duke would have been a win anyway.

Anybody realize that we're losing six Seniors and replacing them with the 2011 class of a PG & SG? That's a national ranking of #22 for 2011 which is good for 5th in the SEC.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

ok...so let's start the scout team??

I have no warm fuzzy about this game at all, not after the second halves of Arkansas and UF.... or was that F-U???

BobKesling_is_overpaid writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

If McRae can hit an open 3, shouldn't he be playing ahead of Tatum? Tatum has the same disease that Jordan Howell had.

Agree. McRae should also be playing ahead of McBrick.

TennVol01 writes:

If the scout team can beat our starters ... let the scout team start ??

Jakevol writes:

I'll be happy to rent my house out for the weekend. I live near CLT. It's all about Basketball in N.Carolina all year long. Go Vols.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

GBO

rockytopatl writes:

The 1-3-1 zone defense shouldn't be a mystery. Ray Mears ran it for years. There should be tons of tape on it.

196SVol writes:

I had a discussion with a Vol fan who said Pearl is under the new contract. Is this true? I don't remember him signing one. Anyone know?

Outdated writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

The 1-3-1 zone defense shouldn't be a mystery. Ray Mears ran it for years. There should be tons of tape on it.

It seems to me the VOLS need to run more zone themselves..to cover for their lack of quickness..Mears won a lot of games against more talented teams..but the scores were lower than fans like nowadays..I am a strong supporter of what Pearl has done for TN but so far this year does not appear to be one of his better game coaching jobs.. McRae played against Belmont (I think) and looked quick and athletic..I seem to remember Hopson at the top of the key looking around for his man who was shooting a layup..McRae blocked the shot..I do not understand why he has not played more

OrangePride writes:

in response to TIGERDAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh and you're surprised by this? Like the NCAA has any affection or respect for SEC basketball. And it's not that the SEC doesn't have its fair share of championship rings, so they ought not to even go there. No.....they will just continue to favor the same ole schools they have always favored. Can't teach an old dog new tricks.........especially when that dog has an IQ as low as the NCAA!

jasvol writes:

in response to TennVol01:

If the scout team can beat our starters ... let the scout team start ??

Better yet...install the Michigan offense. If the scout team can learn it in 1 day then the starters can learn it in 2 days.
Were getting beat by 10.

midnite__VOL writes:

On this day in 44 BC in Rome during Ides Of March Madness Julius Caesar suffered a stunning 1st round defeat to 16th seed Brutus

NYvolFan writes:

I'd like to know if Pearl ever signed that contract too. Not that I can even remotely figure out why he was EVER offered one until this NCAA mess/scandal is done.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Nope we don't get beat by 10! We win in a blow out...first half! Second have we work to make it closer and win by one!

UT 70 UM 68
UT 70 Duke 29(Because I hate Duke)

mocsandvolsfan writes:

2nd half! Not 2nd have. Reallly Mocs!???

pupvol writes:

Basketball IQ? LOL

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Outdated:

It seems to me the VOLS need to run more zone themselves..to cover for their lack of quickness..Mears won a lot of games against more talented teams..but the scores were lower than fans like nowadays..I am a strong supporter of what Pearl has done for TN but so far this year does not appear to be one of his better game coaching jobs.. McRae played against Belmont (I think) and looked quick and athletic..I seem to remember Hopson at the top of the key looking around for his man who was shooting a layup..McRae blocked the shot..I do not understand why he has not played more

Good question. Hard to see how McRae could be any worse than Cam has been for the last couple of months now.

tmartin writes:

in response to Outdated:

It seems to me the VOLS need to run more zone themselves..to cover for their lack of quickness..Mears won a lot of games against more talented teams..but the scores were lower than fans like nowadays..I am a strong supporter of what Pearl has done for TN but so far this year does not appear to be one of his better game coaching jobs.. McRae played against Belmont (I think) and looked quick and athletic..I seem to remember Hopson at the top of the key looking around for his man who was shooting a layup..McRae blocked the shot..I do not understand why he has not played more

Because McRae will soon be deemed ineligible from attending the BBQ and we dont want to have to forfeit our enormous amount of wins from this year.

utk1996 writes:

I would love to see Tennessee get this win, but I cannot think of one reason why we will. I think we will lose by 15+. I wish this team gave me even one reason to be positive...

Here's an interesting link from Ann Arbor newspaper. Doesn't sound like they're too worried:
http://blog.mlive.com/ottoman-empire/...

ddayvolsfan#238252 writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh precious, your gaters lost to Cantucky in the SEC Tournament so unless you win it all, shut the f up!!! If you remember, the year that your team was given the NC, the VOLS beat them 2X, so things happen.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

If McRae can hit an open 3, shouldn't he be playing ahead of Tatum? Tatum has the same disease that Jordan Howell had.

MCRAE HASNT LEARNED HE MUST PLAY DEFENSE.....

trubleoj#657755 writes:

wait a minute. we can hit 3's in practice?

Mr_Brownstone writes:

we are so going to get taken to school.

VolNationPride writes:

in response to hit_remove_but_he_is_still_history:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know you and your multiple personalities are the only ones listening to you right? Here, have this mirror to look into.

VolNationPride writes:

in response to hit_remove_but_he_is_still_history:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

FACT, I have never hit the remove button, good try though. FACT, only thing you can talk about is how Bruce should be fired. Take the picture of him off your bedroom wall and go worship another coach. I know he hurt your feelings, but its ok, there are plenty of other coaches out there that will let you bring them water.

lgilbert writes:

LOve all of you UT fans and the positive attitude you have. I understand it has been a roller coaster year to say the least, but hey, lets shut up and pull for the Big Orange. If you can't say something positive, don't say anything at all. We have the potential and I believe the guys can still find it somehow. I sure hope they don't spend much time at all reading this message board. I for one will continue to be positive till the buzzer sounds. If we win great, if not, well there is next year. GO BIG ORANGE. I HAVE BEEN, AM, AND WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD TO BE A VOL.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to lgilbert:

LOve all of you UT fans and the positive attitude you have. I understand it has been a roller coaster year to say the least, but hey, lets shut up and pull for the Big Orange. If you can't say something positive, don't say anything at all. We have the potential and I believe the guys can still find it somehow. I sure hope they don't spend much time at all reading this message board. I for one will continue to be positive till the buzzer sounds. If we win great, if not, well there is next year. GO BIG ORANGE. I HAVE BEEN, AM, AND WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD TO BE A VOL.

I think what alot of people aren't understanding is that if they get thier way next year we probably won't be activly involved in Selection Sunday, but from what I gather they don't really think winning is an important requirement of Tennessee's basketball coach.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

If I recall correctly,
the 1-3-1 lost all favor when the 3-pointer became the law of the land..coaches got too good at exploiting the weak spots.

The key, I believe, is rapid ball movement AND the ability to overload at the blocks.

carbonzip writes:

in response to utk1996:

I would love to see Tennessee get this win, but I cannot think of one reason why we will. I think we will lose by 15+. I wish this team gave me even one reason to be positive...

Here's an interesting link from Ann Arbor newspaper. Doesn't sound like they're too worried:
http://blog.mlive.com/ottoman-empire/...

The article gives an accurate description of the Vol's last few games. I think there needs to be a lot more midrange shooting by UT. The Michigan defense will collapse on Hopson's drives and let others take 3s if he ever decides to dish the ball to them. I would like to see Trae Golden's offensive talent come out in this game.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

If McRae can hit an open 3, shouldn't he be playing ahead of Tatum? Tatum has the same disease that Jordan Howell had.

Why would he not be playing both McRae and Woolridge if they can sink the 3's...He does not
have others who do this on regular basis. But lets forget that his son has to get 10 minutes per game.. (but Pearl is a good defender, probably one of best on team.) Can they beat Michigan's Zone..Not without some outside shooters.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Why would he not be playing both McRae and Woolridge if they can sink the 3's...He does not
have others who do this on regular basis. But lets forget that his son has to get 10 minutes per game.. (but Pearl is a good defender, probably one of best on team.) Can they beat Michigan's Zone..Not without some outside shooters.

You don't necessarily have to have outside shooting (though it a good option to have). Good inside-outside passing can free cuts for layups. Oh, wait, we don't do passing well either.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to hit_remove_but_he_is_still_history:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There are coaches out there, but they won't come here, and if we fire Pearl we're also competing with Oklahoma, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Texas Tech, and Providence amongst other schools who aren't coming off of six straight NCAA tournament appearences. One of the main reasons we won't be able to get a quality coach is because nobody wants to walk in knowing there's a chance they could do worse than the coach before them.

VolNationPride writes:

in response to hit_remove_but_he_is_still_history:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Must have since you couldn't bother to atleast give a witty response. Just a one trick pony you are.

VolNationPride writes:

in response to hit_remove_but_he_is_still_history:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Since you deal in FACTS, you sir, are full of poo. Since all STATS lead to our coach being a quality coach then you don't have a leg to stand on.

Now, before you go on and on and on about the lies and the he is fired like you always do. Please bring some of those FACTS that you say you have and tell me how he isn't a quality coach.

YAWWNN

Vols_Epiphany writes:

All of you morons (yes, thats what you are) who think we are going to roll over and get run off the court by Michigan are going to learn a lesson this Friday. And the lesson is, never underestimate the Big Orange.

Those of you who think you are fans and expect to get beat by 15 points, here is a newsflash...you are not a fan, just a pessimist who thinks winning is the only thing that counts.

This team is going to play with their heart on their sleeves on Friday, win or lose, and I for one am going to be proud of them. They could have rolled over when coach was suspended, but they didnt.

Go Vols!

kazoo writes:

I think the Vol team could have some success on offense against michigan--but this team has a tendency to play lazy defense and that will end the season if michigan is making shots. Beilein's offense is predicated on getting a lot of three looks and making them. This team does not have the depth or confidence level to last long in this tourney--winning this one game would be nice.

VolNationPride writes:

Now for some FACTS for Mr. Pearl Lover. Bruce is one of 6 active coaches with 10 or more sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA (granted that is part D2, but hey, I did say NCAA); joining Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Coach K, Rick Patino and Roy Williams....hmm sounds like some quality there. Lets see, 6 straight NCAA appearances, I believe that is tops in UT history and oh wait, only SEC program to do that in that last 6 years.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to VolNationPride:

Now for some FACTS for Mr. Pearl Lover. Bruce is one of 6 active coaches with 10 or more sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA (granted that is part D2, but hey, I did say NCAA); joining Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Coach K, Rick Patino and Roy Williams....hmm sounds like some quality there. Lets see, 6 straight NCAA appearances, I believe that is tops in UT history and oh wait, only SEC program to do that in that last 6 years.

The next closest streak would be Kentucky, Florida and Vandy all tied with 2.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to hit_remove_but_he_is_still_history:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Guess our buddy with the multiple personalities is angling for his NEXT new screen name. As the Poet said, "A rose by any other name...."

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

You don't necessarily have to have outside shooting (though it a good option to have). Good inside-outside passing can free cuts for layups. Oh, wait, we don't do passing well either.

Li'l Pearl actually IS a pretty good passer, IMHO. He is also a willing screener, which is a useful skill against a 1-3-1 zone.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Guess our buddy with the multiple personalities is angling for his NEXT new screen name. As the Poet said, "A rose by any other name...."

replace "rose" with "terd"

james#216392 writes:

When teams go into a 2-3 zone, the 1-3-1 can get a lot of open shots. I have never figured out when we don't post someone at high post. That's elementary my dear Watson. Instead we pass untilt he shot clock runs down and then throw up (& Makes us throw up) a three.

Juzkruzin writes:

in response to BleedN_OrangE:

wellllllllll....this story sure does make me confident....buckle ure seatbelts fans...this rollercoaster ride just gets better and better...mcrae and swiperboy pullin down threes...goin to order me a new bottle of bloodpressure medication right NOWWWW

Well 13 teams figured it out, so why can't we? I said about 2 months ago that the BO should use the 1-3-1, 2-3, 3-2, box and 1, 1-2-2 and get away from ball chasing with the man to man. Coach Dooley should have told CP he needed more than 2 defenses, like man coverage, cover 2, zone, etc. That is why you have practices for to try different things. Like FL using man defense and about the 10-12 second left on the shooting clock, switched to the zone. Talk about being confused, UT didn't know what to do, Coaches down. You should be able to switch offense to play the zone in 12 seconds, Yet 3-4 of the BO just stood there, instead of sitting a screen, attacking down the middle, shoot, foul or made basket. I have watched them 25 times this year and when they attack a zone defense, I would say 85% of the time something good can from it, instead of standing out front dribbling the ball until you have 7-8 seconds left then try to set a play. I don't belive that we should shoot the first 5 seconds, unless it is a fast break or at the end of the game and we are down 3-4 points, but please stop running our selves out of a play by dribbling 20 seconds out front. The other team is going to allow this to shorten the game.CBP put on your we want to win this game suit this week, please!!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

We have never been able to defend the high ball screen unless McBee or Pearl are in. Tatum and Hopson act like they've never seen a high ball screen. We may have major problems unless Mich is absolutely stone cold with their shooting.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

in response to TIGERDAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought the basketball venues get booked years in advance. I know they have bids and then you have to deal with other obstacles on occasion like floods (Nashville) or Hurricanes (All of the Gulf) and things then get swapped changed around to make amends years later. Like they switch the sites back in order to return the favor when the city lost out previously due to the weather and the huge revenue from tourism.

There a lot involved from state tourism boards down to the independent hotels with rooms available.

I think I'm just getting started, there's a lot of stuff going on.

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