Vols leave for NCAA tournament 'focused'

Vol Hoops 2010-2011: Out-Dribbled by Distraction and Disappointment

The Tennessee men's basketball team loaded the bus outside of Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday afternoon a focused, confident bunch.

"Our guys understand that for us to advance in the tournament, we have to step up and have elevated play,'' Vols coach Bruce Pearl said. "We had a great practice and I sensed a great amount of focus today.''

Ninth-seeded UT (19-14) opens the NCAA tournament with a second-round game against No. 8 seed Michigan (20-13) on Friday (TV: truTV, 12:40 p.m.) at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

Shortly after Pearl and his players headed for Charlotte, a taped interview with athletic director Mike Hamilton aired on radio station WNML.

Hamilton said in the interview he was uncertain of Pearl's future with the program, and the possibility of needing to find a new coach is one of the considerations in the timetable and decision.

The UT players were unaware of the athletic directors comments as they departed, however, and seemed in good spirits about the team's chances.

"I feel pretty good,'' senior Melvin Goins said. "We're well-prepared and we're focused.''

Tennessee senior Brian Williams said it's important the Vols don't place undo pressure on themselves.

"All I'm trying to think about is playing a basketball game,'' Williams said. "You take it any differently, and you get nervous. You can't let that tension get to you.''

Pearl reiterated that Michigan's motion offense will be difficult to prepare for.

But so, too, are the Vols.

"I think we're a tough preparation because we're multiple in the things we do,'' Pearl said. "I'm sure they will back off us and build a wall. They'll strip and rip, take charges and be physical in their post-up game with a lot of people.''

Pearl said he's unsure how much UT will have to contend with the 1-3-1 zone defense that Michigan coach John Beilein was once known for.

"Ninety-to-95 percent of the time they have been in man-to-man defense this season,'' Pearl said. "But the 1-3-1 is still in their arsenal.''

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Comments » 24

caleb573 writes:

Wonder how much the media will actually talk about the game tomorrow? Mike Hamilton is on his way out too.

Vol_From_Memphis writes:

FOCUSED? Way too much to write about that.

VolunteerLifer writes:

No way this team will be focused tomorrow with all that is happening. It hasn't been focused most of the season. Why start now?

VOLKING writes:

Well, they were focused until Mike Hamilton opened his yap. Now, the actual game is secondary to "is Bruce gone?" I have always said that what Pearl did was a fire-able offense. I like what he has done for our program and am comfortable either way. If he stays, fine, but on an extremely short leash. If he goes, well, he did it to himself. But Hamilton should go as well. I don't think that is gonna happen because he has a knack for bringing in $ to the athletic program and money talks. I worry that we will slip back to basketball irrelevancy if Pearl goes, but that's how the ball bounces sometimes. We had a good run. Hammy's timing seems a little too contrived for me. All our recruits will run and Hopson and Harris will definitely be gone I am afraid. Get ready for the Tyler Summit show! Maybe Pat will take over the men's program!

VOLtage writes:

UT President get that freakin slip as pink as can be and serve it to Mike Hamilton and Go Big Orange.

Southland writes:

This team has only been focused for about three games all year long. Maybe they will make it four on Friday

PopsinCapetownSA writes:

in response to VOLtage:

UT President get that freakin slip as pink as can be and serve it to Mike Hamilton and Go Big Orange.

Why the ---- is hamilton doing this to a team headed to the NCAA tour. Someone check his birth cert and see if he was born in alabama.

GreeneVol writes:

It's Vols against the world and away from home - in a way, I guess that's the best hand we could have been dealt. Good luck men. Go put a huge dent in all those brackets out there.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

F O C U S! FOCUS! Focus! focus!ficccccccccccc

77VolFS writes:

How appropriate the Vols get a chance of a "do-over" at the site of their worst loss this year. If they were focused when leaving - understandable. If they can stay focused with the media circus that awaits them courtesy of our AD's poor timing - commendable. Go Vols - Beat Meeechigan.

VOL75ga writes:

Well, I guess we are about to see the true character of this team. Will they send Pearl out in a blaze of glory so the next team he coaches will feel like they have something? I could care less if hopson leaves after all this. The guy has been about as inconsistent as a player with “talent” can be. If Pearl is gone then Harris stands a good chance of leaving to since UT Basketball will fall faster than the rise has been and will the recruits stay or will they go looking elsewhere too. Go Big Orange.

CoverOrange writes:

Only way Tennessee wins this game is if BW has a double-double. Rebounds and layups.

If BP is gone so is Tobias, Scotty and at least one of our two signed recruits. We lose seniors BW, Mel, Steven, Bone, and Fields. That leaves us with only 7 scholarship players with any experience and one incoming. So there should be no complaints about rotation next year.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Good luck on staying focused. I am furious with Hamilton. Our guys deserved better than this.

Vol Nation is pulling for you! GBO!! (BTW, having previously lived in Michigan for 14 years, I'd love to see us trample "U of M".

TommyJack writes:

How can they be focused when Hammy DROPPED THEM INTO THE GREASE?

carbonzip writes:

IMO Pat Knight would be an interesting choice for head BB coach. He was raised by, played for, assisted, and replaced one of the top coaches in the history of the game. I think he would be a positive image for UT and run a really high level, competitive program, and be good for his players.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to carbonzip:

IMO Pat Knight would be an interesting choice for head BB coach. He was raised by, played for, assisted, and replaced one of the top coaches in the history of the game. I think he would be a positive image for UT and run a really high level, competitive program, and be good for his players.

Then why did he leave Texas Tech?

TommyJack writes:

in response to carbonzip:

IMO Pat Knight would be an interesting choice for head BB coach. He was raised by, played for, assisted, and replaced one of the top coaches in the history of the game. I think he would be a positive image for UT and run a really high level, competitive program, and be good for his players.

Don't know how I could disagree more.

johnlg00 writes:

Hey, Mike, it's "undue" pressure, not "undo". Hope the team is more focused than you are.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Hey, Mike, it's "undue" pressure, not "undo". Hope the team is more focused than you are.

I don't know John...we could use a little "undo" pressure.

james#216392 writes:

in response to VOLKING:

Well, they were focused until Mike Hamilton opened his yap. Now, the actual game is secondary to "is Bruce gone?" I have always said that what Pearl did was a fire-able offense. I like what he has done for our program and am comfortable either way. If he stays, fine, but on an extremely short leash. If he goes, well, he did it to himself. But Hamilton should go as well. I don't think that is gonna happen because he has a knack for bringing in $ to the athletic program and money talks. I worry that we will slip back to basketball irrelevancy if Pearl goes, but that's how the ball bounces sometimes. We had a good run. Hammy's timing seems a little too contrived for me. All our recruits will run and Hopson and Harris will definitely be gone I am afraid. Get ready for the Tyler Summit show! Maybe Pat will take over the men's program!

Agree with you until you went off the deep in. Hamliton should go, period.
As to Pat, she couldn't coach men. It's a totally different game and the talent levels are spread out to where a number 10 or 12 (or unranked) can beat a 1 or 2 on a given day. In women's ball, the top four in talent never loose to anyone not in the top 10 and hardly ever to anyone not in the top 5. Pat's success is not her ability to coach, it's the fact she built a power house when the sport just started and now the best players come to her. After coaching over 30 years, I can tell you, its' less about x's and o's and more about Jim's and Joe's. Pat deserves great credit for her success in building a great program, but watching her coach, it would be middle of the road in men's game.

Volumnus writes:

I have never been a Hamilton fan. He has made more bad decisions than good ones. He has to go.
Even if Pearl is through, you find another way to answer that question if you have the best interest of the school and the team at heart. Pearl has not done himself or anyone else any favors, but the student athletes and the fan base did not need this now. Pearl has been effective on the court and while I am not a fan of his administration, recruiting techniques and the ethics in general, I am not certain that his dismissal is the cure. I think Hamilton is closer to the root of the problem.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I don't know John...we could use a little "undo" pressure.

"Undo" is my favorite button. I use it often.
"Undo"
"Redo"
"Howdo"
"what the hell did I just do"

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to TommyJack:

How can they be focused when Hammy DROPPED THEM INTO THE GREASE?

my very thought. what moron AD makes this statement public before the basketball team leaves for the NCAA tourny? oh, ours does.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Just like the SEC tournament?

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