Jay Bilas, Josh Pastner, have differing views on Vols

LAHAINA, Hawaii — ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas said Tennessee fans will need to be patient, but Memphis coach Josh Pastner isn’t expecting the Vols to drop off.

Bilas, who emceed the EA Sports Maui Invitational news conference at the Sheraton Resort on Sunday morning, said UT’s game Monday (TV: 5:30 p.m., ESPN2) against No. 6 Duke (4-0) is not so much a barometer as an opportunity.

“I don’t think people can reasonably expect great things this year given all the program has been through in the last year,” Bilas said. “But they have some capable players and they go as hard as anybody.

“Tennessee starts with a tough opponent, but it’s a good opportunity.”

The Vols (2-0) will play again on Tuesday, at 2 p.m. or at 7 p.m. against No. 17 Michigan (3-0) or No. 10 Memphis (1-0).

Pastner said he’s not expecting the Vols to be a pushover in this tournament or the regular season when the teams meet on Jan. 4 in Memphis.

“Everyone thinks Tennessee is going to fall off. I told everyone, ‘Hey, they still have really good players,’ ” Pastner said on Sunday. “Cuonzo, Coach Martin, can obviously flat-out coach, there is no denying that, and he is going to get really good players.

“There’s not going to be any drop off at Tennessee; Tennessee is going to be at a very high level as long as Cuonzo is there. Coach (Bruce) Pearl did a great job, and Cuonzo will keep it at a very high level,” he said. “I think all the Vols fans should know they are in good hands with Cuonzo. Not only is he a really good coach, he’s a fantastic human being.”

Maui Magic?: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who’s 12-0 at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, had a simple explanation for the Blue Devils’ championships in 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2007.

“We’ve had good teams that have come here,” he said. “This team is probably the most inexperienced of the ones that I’ve brought, but it’s a good squad, hopefully it will become a really good squad.

“But there’s no secret. Having (Bobby) Hurley or Grant Hill, or Wojo (Steve Wojciechowski) or (Shane) Battier, those guys, that’s how you win, with good players performing well.”

Duke traditionally has one of the biggest followings at the tournament.

“It’s a treat for our fans, and that’s one of the reasons you do it, to give your program this type of exposure and give your fans an opportunity to be here,” Krzyzewski said.

As of Sunday, only Michigan and Tennessee hadn’t sold out their ticket allotment.

Coach K On Summitt: Krzyzewski paid tribute to the winningest women’s basketball coach in history, Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt.

“I know Pat fairly well, I’ve admired her and she’s built a great, great program there,” he said. “She’s done more for women’s basketball than any other coach. She’s not just been a great coach, she’s been an ambassador for the women’s game.”

UT Orange And Blue: The Vols are the visiting team for today’s game and are expected to wear their orange uniforms. UT’s look will be different, however, as they will be wearing light blue shoes as part of an adidas promotion. Martin said it’s his understanding all of the adidas schools as the tournament, which includes Kansas, Michigan and Chaminade, will be wearing the promotional shoes.

Recruiting Battles: Pastner said the Vols are building good relationships recruiting in Memphis.

“(Martin) has done a great job coming into Memphis and recruiting,” Pastner said. “Everybody likes him. We’re going have to battle. One thing about Memphis, it’s not just going to be Tennessee, the entire SEC wants to come in and recruit Memphis. We’re battling every day, not just Tennessee, but every school.”

The Vols are going against Memphis, Arkansas and Kentucky in the recruitment of 6-foot-8, 240-pound Class of 2012 prospect Jarnell Stokes.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 23

Colliervol writes:

I like Josh a lot (unlike the last scum that Memphis had in his position) but he is employing a bunch of "Coach Speak" there. Coach Martin may be outstanding in the long run but to say there won't be a drop-off is just not realistic. This team has virtually no inside game and will only go as far as a couple of guards will take them. And that ain't a good recipe. If we finish on the plus side of .500, it will be a good year.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Colliervol:

I like Josh a lot (unlike the last scum that Memphis had in his position) but he is employing a bunch of "Coach Speak" there. Coach Martin may be outstanding in the long run but to say there won't be a drop-off is just not realistic. This team has virtually no inside game and will only go as far as a couple of guards will take them. And that ain't a good recipe. If we finish on the plus side of .500, it will be a good year.

Agree with you about Pastner, and Bilas is just echoing what nearly everybody outside the program thinks about the Vols. I don't see this game as a real good opportunity to get the post game going, since Duke has four guys taller than anybody on UT's squad. However, Golden may be better than Duke's freshman PG, Rivers, at this stage in their careers, and you can never count out a team that takes care of the ball and delivers it to the shooters. Rivers has been the leading scorer in at least two of Duke's games so far, but he also has a ton of turnovers and offensive fouls. If Golden can get in his head a little bit and draw some fouls, that could give a Vols a fighting chance.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Golden's offense is absolutely a key. If we can hit treys like we have and distribute the ball like we have we can hang in there. But to win we have to play great defense. ALL our bigs have to produce 'cause you know theirs will. But we need to be smart and use our fouls sparingly. Woolridge is gonna have to man up inside and draw some fouls along with Maymon. Maymon won't be pushed around but neither will Dukes inside family.
I think it'll be a great game and a good measure for us to find where to improve this year. The same for this whole trip.
I hope the Hall potential is realized.

volfanmatt writes:

McBee for Three!

tennrich1 writes:

Man, Josh is snake oiling like his old predecessor, Dana Kirk. Surely he knows with his talent if he doesnt rout us like we did them last year, he should be ashamed. But I do think our guys will show up....on second thought not many teams can rout another team like we did Memphis last year..honestly..not trying to start up anything....just a total beat down last year...

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

I believe Tenn has a better basketball team than many suppose. Not as talented, but a lot more cohesive. But this may not show up as well in the win-loss column. I looked at Tennessee's schedule, and out of 30 total games, 15 of their games (counting SEC home-and-home) are against the current top 25. The Big Orange may surprise some, but that's one heckuva schedule.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Oops, bad math. 12 games against the current top 25. Still a meat-grinder, though.

RJP11 writes:

Josh Pastner is a AAU crook & a recruiting cheat ... can't coach a lick but he sure knows how to play the pay-for-play game that Memphis State plays so well regardless of who their coach is.

brod writes:

hey pastner, you can be an assistant here to help us recruit memphis after they fire you.

rockytn2jc writes:

Wow...... are you guys serious!?... Josh Pastner didn't bash UT. He gave the Vol fans confidence, that we were moving in the right direction.....Just imagine if you had Pearl and Calipari on the same team...lol!! Now, i hope that makes you appreciate Cuanzo a little bit more....lol!

frblalack writes:

Coach Pastner and Coach Martin are BOTH class acts!
They are also both proven OUTSTANDING coaches.

I don't understand all the negativity! Vol fans, give Coach Cuonzo (and Coach Dooley) the loyalty they deserve. We are VERY FORTUNATE to have them represent our great university! And by the way, lay off Coach Pastner! He happens to be of exceptional character as well.

Go Big Orange!

SouthPaVol writes:

Vols have a chance. Coach K is one of the best coaches of all time and Duke is a solid program, but even Coach K doesn't win 'em all. If we take good shots and shoot above 50% from the field, we can beat Duke.

I think the key to a TN win is having few turnovers. If Golden can continue solid play against stepped-up competition, well then we have a chance. Would like to see assist to turnover ratio at 3:1, but Duke's pressure D will make that tough.

We need better inside-out play. The big men actually being a threat inside would sure help, but that play can work even if the bigs have little skill. For example, if the pass goes to the high post, the guards automatically collapse. They can't help it; it's instinct. A gap is all SM and TG need to knock down the 3. I'm not overly optimistic, but we got a chance.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

RJP11 & Brentrod you both really need to check your basketball IQ. Pastner is nothing like what you described. He has proven to be an excellent recruiter and a very good coach. His team last year was talented, but very young. They took some losses early (UT beat down), but they kept improving. His team won their conference championship on a rivals floor (UTEP). He has recruited a McDonalds AA each year. He want be getting fired at Memphis in fact Memphis should be trying to do all they can to keep him. He is considered one of the up and coming coaches in the NCAA. Ask Arizona fans about him. You guys should read and study more before speaking. A knowledable Vol Fan regardless of how they may hate an opponent recognizes a good coach.

hikerdude writes:

in response to Colliervol:

I like Josh a lot (unlike the last scum that Memphis had in his position) but he is employing a bunch of "Coach Speak" there. Coach Martin may be outstanding in the long run but to say there won't be a drop-off is just not realistic. This team has virtually no inside game and will only go as far as a couple of guards will take them. And that ain't a good recipe. If we finish on the plus side of .500, it will be a good year.

You are spot on. But, if Kenny Hall can play as well as some think him capable (and so far that looks like a huge "if"), 17-14 is within reach.

Skwvols32 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

makelemonade writes:

I'm not kidding myself by thinking we've got much of a chance to beat Duke but as long as we play hard and don't get embarrased, I'll be happy. We're gonna take our lumps early on but we will get better. If Coach Martin can keep our guys from getting down on themselves early, we will be a very good team by mid-season. Martin is a true coach and I expect this team to constantly improve. Look how we played in the second half against LA Monroe. The coaches made adjustments at halftime and we came out looking like a complete different team. That's what real coaches do, if somethings not working, try something else. Don't keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. If we play Memphis tomorrow, we can get an excellent gauge of our improvement when we play them again on 1/4. I would be willing to bet we'll see a different team by then.

BTW, don't count us out against Mempus. Even Buzz had some success against them. Historically, we've had their number, even when they've been clearly better than us.

Volunatic writes:

I have nothing against what Pastner said. From what I can tell over the past couple of seasons, he's a straight-shooter. Pretty good coach and recruiter, too.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the Vols can do tonight-- I think the dire predictions by the eternal pessimists are unrealistic, and not based on any facts. I think Tennessee will play well against Duke. I'd love to see them pull off the upset.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to decades_vol:

Oops, bad math. 12 games against the current top 25. Still a meat-grinder, though.

I was thinking the same thing. Almost looks as tough as the football team's schedule this year. If the Vols finish over .500 in the SEC, Martin should be Coach of the Year. I haven't seen anything so far that causes me to doubt that that has a reasonable of happening.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sure Martin is as frustrated with Hall as most of us are, at least on the inside. I think Hall will get every possible chance to get himself back on track because of the Vols dire lack of experience on the inside and because Kenny will (most likely) be back next year, so Martin won't want to lose him, morale-wise, for the rest of Hall's career.

taylorsvolfan writes:

We played pretty decent tonight to lose only by 10 to Duke. We did not make a 3 (0 for 8) at all and probably missed 7 or 8 layins , most in the first half. Better than what I was expecting.

botetourtvol2 writes:

in response to Colliervol:

I like Josh a lot (unlike the last scum that Memphis had in his position) but he is employing a bunch of "Coach Speak" there. Coach Martin may be outstanding in the long run but to say there won't be a drop-off is just not realistic. This team has virtually no inside game and will only go as far as a couple of guards will take them. And that ain't a good recipe. If we finish on the plus side of .500, it will be a good year.

If they continue to play this hard - particularly inside - their strength may be inside - I would not call it a weakness (virtually no inside game?)- at least it didn't seem to be a weakness against Duke.

phippo writes:

i guess you trolls and jay bilas found out that ut aint gonna just rollover and play dead. gave coach k's boys all they wanted, and the same to memphis even more. to the trolls who also said ut had no inside game...wrong MAYMON gave both teams a fit, and neither stopped him, not bad for a bunch of scrubs. by the end of this season you idiots will be saying bruce who!!!!

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