Mike Strange: Florida win raises a few questions about the Vols

Mike Strange

Some questions total strangers wandered up and asked me in the Atlanta airport on the way home from Tennessee's 75-70 win at Florida on Saturday night:

Q: Where does this upset rank in the Didn't Expect to Win in Gainesville category?

A: Pretty high in my book, considering Florida hadn't lost at home this year and UT hadn't won on the road.

The 2006 win at Florida still carries a little more shock value. The Vols were ranked No. 10 at the time but that was a much better Florida team, one that was about to begin a run to the national championship.

In 2000, the Vols upset a ninth-ranked Florida team in double overtime — remember Isiah Victor's basket at: 00.3 to force overtime? — which was a big deal since UT hadn't won in Gainesville since 1991.

And even the '91 win, which came on the night the Desert Storm war started in Iraq, was surprising in that snapped a five-game losing streak.

Q: What's up with Arkansas, UT's next opponent?

A: The Razorbacks are born again under new coach Mike Anderson. They're 17-0 in Fayetteville but 0-7 on the road, which reflects what an utterly young team this is.

The rotation includes four freshmen, including leading scorer BJ Young, and two sophomores.

Nice coaching job by Anderson, who lost star forward Marshawn Powell after two games.

Q: How much have the Vols upgraded their postseason prognosis with a three-game winning streak?

A: Considerably, but there is still a ceiling.

The Vols are 13-12, but remember Chaminade

doesn't count for NCAA tournament consideration. I'm not sure how the NIT views Division II wins.

There are six regular-season games remaining, all of which are winnable — and losable. The interesting angle is UT still gets to play the three teams with which it is currently tied for fifth place in the SEC: Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss.

Arkansas and Ole Miss are in Thompson-Boling and if Alabama doesn't reinstate its four leading players from suspension, Saturday's game in Tuscaloosa looks more favorable for a second road win.

An NIT bid has become doable, but a ticket to the Big Dance remains a shot from beyond half-court. Tennessee's RPI is still only 110.

The loss at Georgia and the Austin Peay debacle are ghosts that haunt the Vols.

Q: What seed can the Vols earn for the SEC tournament?

A: Four through seven are desirable if you want to stick around and enjoy New Orleans.

Six or seven puts you in the bracket opposite Kentucky, which looks unbeatable. Anybody else can be had on a neutral floor.

The four or five seeds wouldn't face the Wildcats until Saturday.

Q: What are UT's marquee wins?

A: Connecticut (RPI 21) still counts for something, even though the Huskies are reeling (15-9, 5-7 Big East).

The Florida sweep is strong. But that's about it.

Pulling out a win over Memphis in Maui (a 99-97 double-overtime loss) would have been big. The Tigers have an RPI of 19.

Q: Which of UT's mid-major opponents have had good seasons:

A: That's easy — UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs are 19-7 and 14-1 in the Big South.

Neither Oakland nor College of Charleston, both of whom beat the Vols, have amounted to anything. The Austin Peay loss still stinks to high heaven. The Governors are 6-7 in the OVC.

Citadel (4-21) and Louisiana Monroe (2-23) are two of the worst teams in the country and Chattanooga's not much better.

The surprise has been UNC-Greensboro, whom UT routed on opening night. After a 2-14 start that got coach Mike Dement fired, Greensboro is on a 9-1 run and leads its division of the Southern Conference.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 58

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Have to admit, this article hits it about right. It's been a season with some good wins, good performances in losses, bad performances in losses, and more than one downright embarassment. However, the better performances and wins are are coming at the latter stage of the season. Lately Tennessee has been taking care of business at home and the Florida road win is a crown jewel. This team is getting better and better as the season goes along, at just the right time. I like their chances at postseason play, but they still have to take each game one at a time. No room for error at this point.

clvolfan writes:

Guess Washpun must have set somekind of a record when he played 6 seconds and committed a technical foul.Guess he might spend the rest of the season on the pines.

johnlg00 writes:

The really sad thing about it is that almost none of the teams that beat the Vols before would want any part of them now. Even UK wouldn't be that thrilled about another trip to TBA, since their win there was the closest game they had all year except for the one-point loss to Indiana and the one-point win over UNC. There may be another close one in there somewhere, but still.... The NIT is well within reach, an upset given the preseason projections, and the Vols would have to be among the favorites to win it.

Southland writes:

The NIT is not a bad thing for this team. I think our Coach is going to be ok if he can become an aggresive recruiter. I think he will work out a lot better than many critics said that he would

WaVol writes:

Too bad Duke and Memphis didn't pan out. That would have been a real improvement. Still, I'm pleased with CCM. Its been an impressive year in a lot of ways. Given where the program was at I think we got more than most of us would have expected.

carbonzip writes:

Coach Martin doesn' appear to be into punishing or calling out players in public. Washpun is young and made a mistake. He is a high quality person who will learn quickly. It will probably make him a better player.

Ttown writes:

Got to beat them hogs they stink

hcjournals#206623 writes:

We need to stay on a run. Can the team stay mentally focused to win the next 6? Hope so...

brod writes:

it's just one win. a great win, but just one win. ut is not an ncaa tournament team. arkansas is due for a road win, vols need to play well on wednesday night.

springtx_vol writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Personally, I don't think UK fears anyone on any court. They certainly have a talented team with a couple of game changers inside. However, let's see how they handle the pressure of the post season. Last year's team was pretty talented also, but came up short against West Virginia team (if memory serves me correctly) that had inferior talent.

I would agree that our win Saturday at Florida was a little bit of a fluke, but not totally. Florida definitely had a short bench and looking Yugete very early helped us even more. But Florida has struggled all year with teams that have a physical front line (and last year also). And whom amongst us would have said that we had a physical front line at the start of the year? Stokes has helped with the beef, but he was not a huge factor on Saturday. Maymon and Hall had great games and we hit our three's. If we can do that, our defense will keep us in the game against anyone, including UK. We just need to figure out how to close out games by hitting free throws and keeping the ball under control.

In my opinion, it hsa been a successful year, even with the loss to APSU. Yes, I had figured that they would have a couple of more wins by now and didn't figure on a sweep of UF. That sweep almost makes the other losses palatable!

Hickmc writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow and just becasue you said that it makes it right... I bet you were the one person in the world that predicted we would be Florida on Saturday.... Give it a rest "Francis" everyone has their own opinion. If you want to state your opinion you don't have to call someone out.

I called you out because you deserved it!!! Man I get tired of you "Cyber Bullies"!!!!

HarryHood writes:

Obviously I hope, for the players' sake, that we are able to participate in the postseason in some capacity, be it the Big Dance or the NIT. However, regardless of the outcome, I think CCM has shown the fan base that better days are ahead next season. Sweeping Florida will keep the fans happy until next season...

Hickmc writes:

in response to springtx_vol:

Personally, I don't think UK fears anyone on any court. They certainly have a talented team with a couple of game changers inside. However, let's see how they handle the pressure of the post season. Last year's team was pretty talented also, but came up short against West Virginia team (if memory serves me correctly) that had inferior talent.

I would agree that our win Saturday at Florida was a little bit of a fluke, but not totally. Florida definitely had a short bench and looking Yugete very early helped us even more. But Florida has struggled all year with teams that have a physical front line (and last year also). And whom amongst us would have said that we had a physical front line at the start of the year? Stokes has helped with the beef, but he was not a huge factor on Saturday. Maymon and Hall had great games and we hit our three's. If we can do that, our defense will keep us in the game against anyone, including UK. We just need to figure out how to close out games by hitting free throws and keeping the ball under control.

In my opinion, it hsa been a successful year, even with the loss to APSU. Yes, I had figured that they would have a couple of more wins by now and didn't figure on a sweep of UF. That sweep almost makes the other losses palatable!

Excellant post and I agree for the most part, the only thing I see wrong with Florida's bench is lack of playing time. Coach Martin has used the early season to build depth. I would say Florida's top 10 is way more talented than our's. The difference is we got them experience early and Billy didn't.

Coach Donovan is a very good college coach no doubt about it but for some reason he struggles with Tennessee. Not sure why but I will enjoy.

I also think the reason we struggled with free throws down the stretch was simple exhaustion. Look at the minutes Golden had to work to help with this win. Again we have depth just not the uber talented depth like a Florida.

Again Just My Opinion!!!

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to Southland:

The NIT is not a bad thing for this team. I think our Coach is going to be ok if he can become an aggresive recruiter. I think he will work out a lot better than many critics said that he would

I haven't noticed that he is NOT an aggressive recruiter.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to Hickmc:

Excellant post and I agree for the most part, the only thing I see wrong with Florida's bench is lack of playing time. Coach Martin has used the early season to build depth. I would say Florida's top 10 is way more talented than our's. The difference is we got them experience early and Billy didn't.

Coach Donovan is a very good college coach no doubt about it but for some reason he struggles with Tennessee. Not sure why but I will enjoy.

I also think the reason we struggled with free throws down the stretch was simple exhaustion. Look at the minutes Golden had to work to help with this win. Again we have depth just not the uber talented depth like a Florida.

Again Just My Opinion!!!

My opinion regarding the missed free throws is different. Blaming it on exhaustion is like saying the reason a long distance runner didnt have the kick at the end of the race is because he was tired...thats not an excuse. You are supposed to have enough energy to make it at the end, especially if the game doesnt go into overtime.

All athletes are trained to be able to perform, and at the end of the game is when the free throws become most important. If exhaustion was such a big factor, most other teams would also be struggling at the free throw line, but thats not the case.

We need to improve our free throw shooting. Considerably. Its not like we are consistently missing the first free throw and then making the second...we are missing both free throws at crucial times.

We played a great game to get out in front early against Florida, but we were definitely lucky to close it out...the Gators certainly helped by missing shot after shot and also matching our futility at the free throw line.

Every facet of our game has improved over the season to the point that we can contend in every game against most teams. BUT, in order for us to contend against teams like Kentucky, we HAVE to make our free throws at least 75% of the time (as a team).

Go Vols!

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to brod:

it's just one win. a great win, but just one win. ut is not an ncaa tournament team. arkansas is due for a road win, vols need to play well on wednesday night.

The remaining games will determine if UT is ncaa, nit, or nowhere. We have good competition in front of us and some tough away games. If we run the table and win at least one or two in the conf tournament, we'll have twenty wins and then who knows? We are improving with each game, and the powers that be are noticing. With the obvious improvement of a number of players happening now, If Stokes can recover from his hand injury and reassert himself in the lineup this team could take off.

VOODOOley-2011 (Inactive) writes:

The team flew nonstop back to Knoxville; only the press from the Knox News Sentinel end up changing planes in Atlanta.

samjrr writes:

Spot on! Just facts! Go Vols!

govols082859#1369959 writes:

Great win by a collee team.
We can't beat the UK bunch but look what money will buy you in Lexington.

hikerdude writes:

My early season prediction of a 17-14 record might not be too far off.

FanNotSheep writes:

If Tennessee wins 5 out of the 6 remaining regular season games and picks up a couple of wins in the SEC Tournament I think they would get in as an NCAA bubble team.

taylorsvolfan writes:

Anybody has questions over the last three games needs to shut the hell up ! Go Vols !!

underthehill writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'd say you are right about not losing sight of reality but this team has given fans the feeling they are giving it their all and Martin has give every indication he is the complete basketball coach they need. If they make the NIT it will be far more than expected when the prediction was 11th. Back to reality..TN had a great game and Fla did not..don't mean UT is the best team..to say KY can't be beat is also not reality..if KY has a bad game and another team plays their best KY can be beat...even tho they are the best team..that is the reality of sports..I have repeatedly said this is the most talented UK team I have ever seen but it don't mean they can't be beat..Anthony Davis is the one player that separates KY and if he got in serious foul trouble KY would definitely be vulnerable..Another thing that may hurt KY in the NCAA is they are not going to get the kind of officiating in the NCAA they get in the SEC..so how will they handle this..it will be far more physical..CAL gave his speech after the LSU game and dictated to the officials how he wanted games called and they sheepishly obliged..that won't happen in the NCAA..Not saying they won't win it all..just saying they will see a far different game against physical teams like Mich State...as for the future..I know of no other coach I would rather have at UT at this time than Martin..

volnbig11land writes:

where is the little girl zz???????????

I'm sure she is reading, but she isn't posting....

Hickmc writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

My opinion regarding the missed free throws is different. Blaming it on exhaustion is like saying the reason a long distance runner didnt have the kick at the end of the race is because he was tired...thats not an excuse. You are supposed to have enough energy to make it at the end, especially if the game doesnt go into overtime.

All athletes are trained to be able to perform, and at the end of the game is when the free throws become most important. If exhaustion was such a big factor, most other teams would also be struggling at the free throw line, but thats not the case.

We need to improve our free throw shooting. Considerably. Its not like we are consistently missing the first free throw and then making the second...we are missing both free throws at crucial times.

We played a great game to get out in front early against Florida, but we were definitely lucky to close it out...the Gators certainly helped by missing shot after shot and also matching our futility at the free throw line.

Every facet of our game has improved over the season to the point that we can contend in every game against most teams. BUT, in order for us to contend against teams like Kentucky, we HAVE to make our free throws at least 75% of the time (as a team).

Go Vols!

Spoken like someone who has never played point guard. This is the position that will wear down when having to play 38 plus minutes with constant pressure.

Would I agree that the team as a whole needs to shoot better free throws? Yes but when there is no one to give the point a rest he quickly becomes worn down as the game/season goes on.

If we could get Maymon to bend his knees and use more of a jump shot form I bet his persentage would go up.

Go Vols!!!!!!!!

SeminaryVol writes:

It seems like Arkansas is always a spoiler for us, or is that just me.

CoverOrange writes:

Worst thing that could happen to this team is to start thinking they are good because they beat a short handed team on the road.

CoverOrange writes:

I mean we followed up beating Florida the first time with a loss to MSU. UConn win was followed by a drubbing by Vandy. Thankfully the Ark game is at home.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you said uber... rhymes with goober

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What amazes me is the fact almost no uk player will spend more than a semester in class, much less graduate.
How is UConn in trouble for graduation, but the junior college in Lexington skates?
Time for another vacated season?

GerryOP writes:

It always intrigues me how supposed fans downplay Vol victories ... or close losses. UConn was down and away from home. UK and UF were playing at TBA and SEC teams don't on the road. UF was short benched on Saturday. And, oh yes, the uber-kool statement that coach Zo has done a "nice job" with our basketVols. Balderdash!

I am proud to admit that I am a totally biased Vol homer. But dang folks, before the season the supposed basketball intelligentsia on here were predicting 2-3 SEC wins, lucky to win 10 games overall, and a reappearance of the black curtains at TBA. Yet, look where we are. The "wise folks" making excuses for Vol victories.

This team is made up of kids who a year ago did not even know each other let alone played together. We lost 4 starters and hired, according to some, a WalMart-priced coach. Coach Zo can't recruit yet he brought in a 5* (don't start the "Pearl brought Stokes to K'town" mantra), and two of the Zo-recruit-unknowns are seeing serious PT. UK, with their spend-a-year-at-UK-on-the-way-to-the-NBA program was more than happy to get out of K'town with a W. UConn IS the defending NCAA champions. And, oh yes, UF! The hated Gatas! We soundly thumped the #14 and #7 Gatas. That is not a fluke! And UT is ranked 5th IN THE NATION in ticket sales (Don't bother arguing about sales vs. attendance. All schools report the data the same way.)

Face it folks, our basketVols have exceeded our most optimistic expectations, yet dudes and dudettes are still apologizing for our victories ... and Coach Zo.

Loosen up folks. They've done good. They are a team all Vol fans can be proud of ... with no apologies. Cheer for our basketVols ... that's what fans do.

Go Vols and thank you coach Zo.

GerryOP writes:

Andy Katz SEC Power Ratings:

5. Tennessee: The Volunteers are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time, having won three in a row and five of their past seven. If Tennessee can bottle the way it played at Florida, this team has danger written all over it going into the SEC tournament. The Vols could be a major spoiler, as UT has the size and strength to cause serious problems for teams. The win in Gainesville showed how defense and board work can get this team far during the next three weeks. Cuonzo Martin may be the coach of the year in the SEC if he continues on this run.

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasket...

volnbig11land writes:

in response to GerryOP:

It always intrigues me how supposed fans downplay Vol victories ... or close losses. UConn was down and away from home. UK and UF were playing at TBA and SEC teams don't on the road. UF was short benched on Saturday. And, oh yes, the uber-kool statement that coach Zo has done a "nice job" with our basketVols. Balderdash!

I am proud to admit that I am a totally biased Vol homer. But dang folks, before the season the supposed basketball intelligentsia on here were predicting 2-3 SEC wins, lucky to win 10 games overall, and a reappearance of the black curtains at TBA. Yet, look where we are. The "wise folks" making excuses for Vol victories.

This team is made up of kids who a year ago did not even know each other let alone played together. We lost 4 starters and hired, according to some, a WalMart-priced coach. Coach Zo can't recruit yet he brought in a 5* (don't start the "Pearl brought Stokes to K'town" mantra), and two of the Zo-recruit-unknowns are seeing serious PT. UK, with their spend-a-year-at-UK-on-the-way-to-the-NBA program was more than happy to get out of K'town with a W. UConn IS the defending NCAA champions. And, oh yes, UF! The hated Gatas! We soundly thumped the #14 and #7 Gatas. That is not a fluke! And UT is ranked 5th IN THE NATION in ticket sales (Don't bother arguing about sales vs. attendance. All schools report the data the same way.)

Face it folks, our basketVols have exceeded our most optimistic expectations, yet dudes and dudettes are still apologizing for our victories ... and Coach Zo.

Loosen up folks. They've done good. They are a team all Vol fans can be proud of ... with no apologies. Cheer for our basketVols ... that's what fans do.

Go Vols and thank you coach Zo.

+1

Jakevol writes:

KY Boys would have no problem playing the Vols anywhere. Let's face it..their a good team. Vols are an average team,, maybe!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to GerryOP:

It always intrigues me how supposed fans downplay Vol victories ... or close losses. UConn was down and away from home. UK and UF were playing at TBA and SEC teams don't on the road. UF was short benched on Saturday. And, oh yes, the uber-kool statement that coach Zo has done a "nice job" with our basketVols. Balderdash!

I am proud to admit that I am a totally biased Vol homer. But dang folks, before the season the supposed basketball intelligentsia on here were predicting 2-3 SEC wins, lucky to win 10 games overall, and a reappearance of the black curtains at TBA. Yet, look where we are. The "wise folks" making excuses for Vol victories.

This team is made up of kids who a year ago did not even know each other let alone played together. We lost 4 starters and hired, according to some, a WalMart-priced coach. Coach Zo can't recruit yet he brought in a 5* (don't start the "Pearl brought Stokes to K'town" mantra), and two of the Zo-recruit-unknowns are seeing serious PT. UK, with their spend-a-year-at-UK-on-the-way-to-the-NBA program was more than happy to get out of K'town with a W. UConn IS the defending NCAA champions. And, oh yes, UF! The hated Gatas! We soundly thumped the #14 and #7 Gatas. That is not a fluke! And UT is ranked 5th IN THE NATION in ticket sales (Don't bother arguing about sales vs. attendance. All schools report the data the same way.)

Face it folks, our basketVols have exceeded our most optimistic expectations, yet dudes and dudettes are still apologizing for our victories ... and Coach Zo.

Loosen up folks. They've done good. They are a team all Vol fans can be proud of ... with no apologies. Cheer for our basketVols ... that's what fans do.

Go Vols and thank you coach Zo.

Please don't call GVX trolls "basketball intelligentsia." They already have inflated values of self worth.

GerryOP writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Please don't call GVX trolls "basketball intelligentsia." They already have inflated values of self worth.

Sorry. Forgot to use the sarcasm font!

volnbig11land writes:

in response to Jakevol:

KY Boys would have no problem playing the Vols anywhere. Let's face it..their a good team. Vols are an average team,, maybe!

Maybe so, maybe no. We almost beat them in TBA, and held them to 69 points on their home court (they average 80).

We also took them to skool in being physical.

I'm pretty sure they don't want anymore....

volnbig11land writes:

p.s. my in-laws are from kinsuckee, I can't wait for them to lose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

It always intrigues me how supposed fans downplay Vol victories ... or close losses. UConn was down and away from home. UK and UF were playing at TBA and SEC teams don't on the road. UF was short benched on Saturday. And, oh yes, the uber-kool statement that coach Zo has done a "nice job" with our basketVols. Balderdash!

I am proud to admit that I am a totally biased Vol homer. But dang folks, before the season the supposed basketball intelligentsia on here were predicting 2-3 SEC wins, lucky to win 10 games overall, and a reappearance of the black curtains at TBA. Yet, look where we are. The "wise folks" making excuses for Vol victories.

This team is made up of kids who a year ago did not even know each other let alone played together. We lost 4 starters and hired, according to some, a WalMart-priced coach. Coach Zo can't recruit yet he brought in a 5* (don't start the "Pearl brought Stokes to K'town" mantra), and two of the Zo-recruit-unknowns are seeing serious PT. UK, with their spend-a-year-at-UK-on-the-way-to-the-NBA program was more than happy to get out of K'town with a W. UConn IS the defending NCAA champions. And, oh yes, UF! The hated Gatas! We soundly thumped the #14 and #7 Gatas. That is not a fluke! And UT is ranked 5th IN THE NATION in ticket sales (Don't bother arguing about sales vs. attendance. All schools report the data the same way.)

Face it folks, our basketVols have exceeded our most optimistic expectations, yet dudes and dudettes are still apologizing for our victories ... and Coach Zo.

Loosen up folks. They've done good. They are a team all Vol fans can be proud of ... with no apologies. Cheer for our basketVols ... that's what fans do.

Go Vols and thank you coach Zo.

Nice column Gerry. The KNS boys should cut and paste it.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Jakevol:

KY Boys would have no problem playing the Vols anywhere. Let's face it..their a good team. Vols are an average team,, maybe!

Don't let the beatdown in Rupp go to your head. That game was 5 on 8.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to Hickmc:

Spoken like someone who has never played point guard. This is the position that will wear down when having to play 38 plus minutes with constant pressure.

Would I agree that the team as a whole needs to shoot better free throws? Yes but when there is no one to give the point a rest he quickly becomes worn down as the game/season goes on.

If we could get Maymon to bend his knees and use more of a jump shot form I bet his persentage would go up.

Go Vols!!!!!!!!

Hate to say it, but your assertion about the point guard position is totally baseless, completely unsupported by facts. The point guard position historically has the highest free throw percentage, whether it is at the beginning of games or at the end. Fatigue has never been considered a factor in regulation. When was the last time a point guard went to the stripe at the end of the game and the announcer said "He must be tired, he has played 38 minutes, hope he has the strength left to sink these." Thats right...never...because it is expected that a player has the best chance at making it, because he gets to rest a bit, stop, take aim, and shoot. There is a reason it is called a free throw.

Trae Golden is actually case in point...right now, he is a 82% free throw shooter, ranking #91 in the country. That makes him a good free throw shooter, and he is supposed to sink those free throws at the end of games. As a team, we are just choking at the line.

Maymon has been stellar at the line most of the season. But Stokes definitely needs to improve his shot from the stripe.

In these last few games and the SEC tourney, Maymon and Stokes will be relied upon heavily to drain those free throws. Stokes needs to spend a few extra hours in the gym working on those shots.

This is the ONLY thing I am worried about for our team. All else looks great. We can make a deep run.

brod writes:

in response to SeminaryVol:

It seems like Arkansas is always a spoiler for us, or is that just me.

arkansas spoiled the best chance we had to win the sec tourney in recent memory in 2008. other than that i would say that ut has gotten the best of them. that game still haunts us today because ut still hasn't won an sec tourney. they were by far the best team in the sec that year.

GerryOP writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Nice column Gerry. The KNS boys should cut and paste it.

Thanks murray.

BTW, my condolences on your Racers. But they were the last standing undefeated team!

murrayvol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Thanks murray.

BTW, my condolences on your Racers. But they were the last standing undefeated team!

Hey, I'm still amped about the Racers. They are one fun team to watch. Not many teams get to 23-0 in any conference....ever.

Hope your snowblower is serviced. Looks like some weather is headed for your neck of the woods.

CoverOrange writes:

Early in the season we were sinking free throws with ease...and losing.
Now we are struggling...and winning.
Go figure.

GerryOP writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Hey, I'm still amped about the Racers. They are one fun team to watch. Not many teams get to 23-0 in any conference....ever.

Hope your snowblower is serviced. Looks like some weather is headed for your neck of the woods.

Agreed on the Racers!

Been a rather mild winter ... Mr. Snowblower is not happy! Only been out once.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to brod:

arkansas spoiled the best chance we had to win the sec tourney in recent memory in 2008. other than that i would say that ut has gotten the best of them. that game still haunts us today because ut still hasn't won an sec tourney. they were by far the best team in the sec that year.

We had some amazing "regular season" teams the last couple years, but our tournament focus was not there. Made one very good run, but had superior talent, not focus. If we can stay focused, meaning approaching each game with a new burst of energy, we make a good run in the SEC tourney and may win it. SEC tourney champs still goes through KY, though--at least for this year. Go Vols!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I want Kentucky. We NEED to play Kentucky. Our players want Kentucky bad!! I personally want to play them at least TWO more times. I want to BEAT Kentucky.
FIRST let's beat Arkansas. k

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

My opinion regarding the missed free throws is different. Blaming it on exhaustion is like saying the reason a long distance runner didnt have the kick at the end of the race is because he was tired...thats not an excuse. You are supposed to have enough energy to make it at the end, especially if the game doesnt go into overtime.

All athletes are trained to be able to perform, and at the end of the game is when the free throws become most important. If exhaustion was such a big factor, most other teams would also be struggling at the free throw line, but thats not the case.

We need to improve our free throw shooting. Considerably. Its not like we are consistently missing the first free throw and then making the second...we are missing both free throws at crucial times.

We played a great game to get out in front early against Florida, but we were definitely lucky to close it out...the Gators certainly helped by missing shot after shot and also matching our futility at the free throw line.

Every facet of our game has improved over the season to the point that we can contend in every game against most teams. BUT, in order for us to contend against teams like Kentucky, we HAVE to make our free throws at least 75% of the time (as a team).

Go Vols!

Actually, LOTS of teams struggle with free-throws these days. I don't know how old you are, but 50 years ago when I played HS basketball, 70% was considered something of a MINIMUM standard for FT%. There are probably not over two or three teams in the SEC that have such an average. Guys just don't practice free-throws on their own as much as kids these days. After all, you almost never see anybody shooting free-throws on SportsCenter, so the "cool factor" is seriously lacking. No question good free-throw shooting is ESSENTIAL to compete with more-talented teams, but it is up to the individual players to practice them constantly and seriously.

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