Vols don't want to be caught in middle by MTSU

Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum tries to maintain control of the ball as Middle Tennessee forward Jason Jones defends at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 30, 2010. The Vols won that game, 86-56, as well as every other time they've faced the Blue Raiders dating back to a 1988 loss in the NIT.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum tries to maintain control of the ball as Middle Tennessee forward Jason Jones defends at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 30, 2010. The Vols won that game, 86-56, as well as every other time they've faced the Blue Raiders dating back to a 1988 loss in the NIT.

Trae Golden looks ahead to MTSU

Tired of getting sand kicked in its face, the Middle Tennessee State men's basketball program has done something about it.

The Blue Raiders — beefed up with three Division I transfers and three junior college starters — appear ready to come into Knoxville and try to settle old scores.

It's hard to imagine revenge not being on the mind of MTSU (26-6) when it takes on Tennessee (19-14) today (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.) in Thompson-Boling Arena in the second round of the NIT.

First-year UT coach Cuonzo Martin will tell you he fears no opponent, particularly with the Vols riding an eight-game home win streak. But even Martin knows to beware this in-state foe.

"I think the thing we overlook is the fact those guys expect to win the game,'' Martin said. "The advantage they have, they've seen us play all year. It's one of those deals, you got guys there (saying) 'I can play at Tennessee, I can play for that guy and do what they're doing.'

"I wouldn't say they are more hungry (than UT), but they have something to prove from that standpoint.''

It will be easier for Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Kermit Davis to prove it if Tennessee junior forward Jeronne Maymon doesn’t play.

But Maymon, who missed the NIT opener against Savannah State last Tuesday with a bruised right knee, practiced Sunday and has been upgraded to probable.

Junior center Kenny Hall, suspended on Feb. 15, also won’t play, Martin said.

Davis doesn't expect his team's mindset to waver, either way.

"The biggest thing is mentally, having the guys ready to play, and I know they are really, really looking forward to Monday night,'' Davis said in a Friday interview.

"I think we'll see a lot of blue in Thompson-Boling Arena.''

All seats are general admission, tickets cost $10 apiece and parking at the game is free. UT is expecting such a high demand from MTSU and Vols' fans that it's encouraging fans to purchase tickets online and use the "print at home" function to avoid long lines at the will-call window.

The Vols have won nine straight against the Blue Raiders, including a 69-point win in 2007 (109-40) and last season's 86-56 victory. MTSU's only win over UT came in NIT action in the teams' first-ever meeting, 85-80, in Murfreesboro in 1988.

Of course, this is a different Blue Raiders team and a different time for both programs; MTSU has four new starters since last season and is in the midst of the most successful season in school history with a record number of wins.

Players like Iowa State transfer turned Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year LaRon Dendy and second-team junior college transfer Marcos Knight were brought in to win games at UCLA (86-66) and against Ole Miss (68-56).

The Blue Raiders have found a potent formula that has led them to the fourth-best field goal percentage in the nation (.497) and the 18th-best assist total (15.7 per game ).

"When that floor gets spread and we're running and our bigs are running and playmaking, that's when our team is very good,'' Davis said.

"We've won 26 games for a reason ...''

Indeed, MTSU was up by as many as 22 points last Tuesday en route to an 86-78 NIT win over Marshall, which was the highest RPI team (No. 44) not to make the NCAA tournament.

After closing the regular season with eight wins in nine games, UT has faded, struggling in an SEC tournament overtime loss to Ole Miss (77-72) and allowing a 17-point lead to shrink to two before surviving its NIT opener.

The Vols' bench had been outscored in five of seven games since Hall was suspended before edging Savannah State's reserves 18-17.

And while Tennessee was battling Savannah State to a 28-28 standoff in points in the paint, MTSU was out-scoring Marshall in the paint 50-36 on the inside.

UT fifth-year senior Cameron Tatum said he's doing all he can to let his younger teammates know what they'll be up against.

"There's no mystery this (MTSU) is a good team; they have some really good pieces,'' Tatum said. "It's going to be an NCAA tournament-type of atmosphere, and we have to be prepared for a dogfight.''

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitterhttpcom/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 50

voloffaith writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your comment was telling in many ways...."Pride comes b4 the fall." MTSU has a good resume..go back and read UCLA(yes even a down UCLA) and Ole Miss(might remember they beat us in SEC tourney). So take no opponent lightly.#2 Didn't say in middle of Lady Vols 9 NTs. So you are predicting Lady Vols bow out with no new banner #9. #3 then after that we get sis boom bah....Go....Fight....Win!!! Humility goes a long way.....GO VOLS!!!

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Your comment was telling in many ways...."Pride comes b4 the fall." MTSU has a good resume..go back and read UCLA(yes even a down UCLA) and Ole Miss(might remember they beat us in SEC tourney). So take no opponent lightly.#2 Didn't say in middle of Lady Vols 9 NTs. So you are predicting Lady Vols bow out with no new banner #9. #3 then after that we get sis boom bah....Go....Fight....Win!!! Humility goes a long way.....GO VOLS!!!

OK - I agree with most of what you are saying except the part about the Lady Vols winning a 9th NC with this team. Really? Really Mitchell?

NashvillePreds writes:

Be sure to bring your blue pom poms Griffith.
You must be kin to Climer.

voloffaith writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

OK - I agree with most of what you are saying except the part about the Lady Vols winning a 9th NC with this team. Really? Really Mitchell?

Sorry I wasn't clear...not predicting #9 was pointing out he said put up NIT banner between 8 Lady vol NT banners.I was saying he apparently wasn't anticipating #9 as most aren't.

tovolny writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you saying what you mean? Are you meaning what you say? I don't know if you are making fun of the fact that the Vols are "JUST" playing in the NIT or if you are actually excited about the posibility of Vol round ballers bringing back a First Place trophy.

If you want to BANG us and get off on it, then why not be man enough to just tell us straight out? I am hoping you are just excited.

bobe4544 writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Middle is more that a pebble.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

I absolutely can't wait to be there tomorrow. If you're a sports fan, you kill for all or nothing, all on the line rivalry games.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to bobe4544:

Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Middle is more that a pebble.

sheepie is being sarcastic. Look at her previous posts. She is an obvious troll

flatrock writes:

Have seen every MTSU home game- and have to admit that the Blue Raiders would have finished in the top 5 of the SEC this season. My guess: if both teams play their 'A' games, MTSU wins by 4...Hope Vols are focused!

GreeneVol writes:

I'm threatened enough by this article to take a harder look at making the trip to Knoxville tonight...Vols going to need a jacked up performance. Sure would be good to have Kenny Hall, but I appreciate Coach's integrity at this point in the season.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

Vandy also came to knoxville and got handed
So your point? We split with ole miss too and ucla was horrible
This year. Do you ever get tired of posting the same ole
Garbage ? Go back to your 5 followers and spit your
Trash there

Go vols !

TkelynN writes:

MTSU has had a great year no doubt, but they are still MTSU and the Vols are STILL UT! Vols going to win, the bigs will be inspired and will be working for every rebound and boxing out. Maymon gets 20 boards tonight! Stokes has had to watch the film all week of him getting slapped around silly and dominated, tonight he's pissed and will not let that happen again! McBee and McCrae will have at least 10 points a piece, that means W!

orangecountyvols writes:

OrangeBlood,

Hey friend, not to be too concerned about the troll, 'amateur'handicapper. He's always wrong, is a frustrated troll, and not to be considered
as anyone with know-how with regard to sports.

Just wants the attention.......at any cost.

dcap8424 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

MTSU is a good team. I'll give you that. But to say that Vandy didn't want to win their game with us is silly. Vandy hates us and we certainly recipricate the feeling.

I guess Vandy didn't really want to beat Wisconsin either. Not really much to play for, huh?

MilitaryBrat writes:

in response to dcap8424:

MTSU is a good team. I'll give you that. But to say that Vandy didn't want to win their game with us is silly. Vandy hates us and we certainly recipricate the feeling.

I guess Vandy didn't really want to beat Wisconsin either. Not really much to play for, huh?

I respect MTSU, their sports programs are starting to get noticed. I was worried about this game, but I feel better now, since Handicap has predicted MTSU. We all know how "good" are his picks.

He gets people to subscibe to his site, because they know to bet the other way on his predictions.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

OrangeBlood,

Hey friend, not to be too concerned about the troll, 'amateur'handicapper. He's always wrong, is a frustrated troll, and not to be considered
as anyone with know-how with regard to sports.

Just wants the attention.......at any cost.

I know man just want to slap that guy one time lol

brod writes:

if the team doesn't have maymon, i would be surprised if they win. who knows, maybe makenjula and miller can surprise us. miller can do it, makenjula is still working on his offensive game. he is probably going to get in foul trouble a lot if he plays more than 5 minutes a game.

movinonup writes:

Know I am getting ahead of myself but IF we win tonight, when and where will the next round be? Will be in Knoxville Wednesday night for business and can only hope that they will be playing at home?????

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to brod:

if the team doesn't have maymon, i would be surprised if they win. who knows, maybe makenjula and miller can surprise us. miller can do it, makenjula is still working on his offensive game. he is probably going to get in foul trouble a lot if he plays more than 5 minutes a game.

Even with Maymon we'll need our bigs to keep Middle out of the paint. OWN it Stokes! C'mon Woolridge tonight show you CAN play inside.

Miller and Makanjuola need to be our foulers/bruisers...Maybe they'll get some shots on rebounds if Maymon's out. Everyone needs to keep Middle our of the middle. OWN THE PAINT!! Maybe the refs will actually call their elbowing drives this time. They shouldn't allow guards or forwards to push Stokes back till he has to foul. Martin? Don't let 'em push Stokes around. Stokes?...if you knock 'em out maybe they won't push as much. Just don't let the camera or ref see it.hehe
Refs? IF the driving ballhandler is leaning then he's probably pushing the defender. That's an offensive foul not a defensive.

Sorry- I'm still a little upset that those obviously offensive fouls in some other games weren't called as offensive! Really it probably wasn't that many...I suppose.
go vols.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

Noticed your picks go from wrong to wronger...
I am so glad you didn't pick the Vols.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to movinonup:

Know I am getting ahead of myself but IF we win tonight, when and where will the next round be? Will be in Knoxville Wednesday night for business and can only hope that they will be playing at home?????

I would be suprised if anyone knows considering it took a couple of days after UT won the first game to find out when we played again. Turned out to be a week later. Having 6,000 fans for the first round and waiting a week to play again is hardly NCAA atmosphere as some have suggested. It should be a great atmosphere tonight though with MTSU coming to Kville. I would expect attendendance to be around 10,000 considering all tickets are $10. If MTSU won, would it even be an upset?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are WRONG? NIT IS an NCAA tournament. Sanctioned by the NCAA at least. Been around for years. But you wouldn't know seeing as you're only 8 or 9 years old. Of course I know that most of us are not smarter than a 5th grader but in your case maybe we are?
I for one am not able to go to the games. But guess what? I still am a UT fan. Your rude comments can't change that thank goodness.
Now as for the word "great"? VERY FEW teams in all of history fit that description. I'd say the Michael Jordan days with his NBA great teammates were some. The Michigan State team with "Magic"...The Wooden teams with Lew Alcinder. Hmmmm well a few others I suppose. Great??? That's a might strong word for a fifth grader. Maybe this year's Kentucky team?? The pont is that there just aren't many if any great teams in the tournaments.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I saw the misspell of POINT as I was hitting the post button.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to orangeman1:

I would be suprised if anyone knows considering it took a couple of days after UT won the first game to find out when we played again. Turned out to be a week later. Having 6,000 fans for the first round and waiting a week to play again is hardly NCAA atmosphere as some have suggested. It should be a great atmosphere tonight though with MTSU coming to Kville. I would expect attendendance to be around 10,000 considering all tickets are $10. If MTSU won, would it even be an upset?

Yes it would be an upset. I'd be upset!! Would you? I'll not be surprised by 10000 or more. We may fill the place! But don't forget it'll have to be mostly local fans and students. It'd be great if the students come out tonight.
MTSU is a thriving school but so far does not have the history that UT has for this not to be an upset if they win. They beaten us ONCE? in how long? It's our gym also. They may win but it'll be an upset if they do.IMHO

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Yes it would be an upset. I'd be upset!! Would you? I'll not be surprised by 10000 or more. We may fill the place! But don't forget it'll have to be mostly local fans and students. It'd be great if the students come out tonight.
MTSU is a thriving school but so far does not have the history that UT has for this not to be an upset if they win. They beaten us ONCE? in how long? It's our gym also. They may win but it'll be an upset if they do.IMHO

It's Spring Break...

johnlg00 writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Your comment was telling in many ways...."Pride comes b4 the fall." MTSU has a good resume..go back and read UCLA(yes even a down UCLA) and Ole Miss(might remember they beat us in SEC tourney). So take no opponent lightly.#2 Didn't say in middle of Lady Vols 9 NTs. So you are predicting Lady Vols bow out with no new banner #9. #3 then after that we get sis boom bah....Go....Fight....Win!!! Humility goes a long way.....GO VOLS!!!

This guy is just mocking us. His screen name says it all. He has made at least a half-dozen of these sneering posts. Every one of them is some imitation of what he thinks of as an over-the-top Vol fan, mocking us for our enthusiasm. IGNORE HIM. And learn to read critically.

DougSharp writes:

I like the idea this will be a fast pace, up and down the court type of game. If we don't turn the ball over excessively, finish our layups, and get some put backs from guys hustling down court trailing the play (all which we've done with success at home) then I like our chances against this talented group. They may become more vunderble once their post players pick up a few fouls.

volboy81 writes:

spring break wont help attendance, so everyone come to TBA tonight. $10 is a baaaagain! Get there early and be loud! Lets help this team win and go on to NYC! Cant let baby brother beat us!
GO VOLS!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolFanInTheBoro:

sheepie is being sarcastic. Look at her previous posts. She is an obvious troll

Seems to be a lot of posters with defective sarcasm-detectors on the board. Guess people don't really study literary criticism much these days, or pay much attention to who says what on here.

johnlg00 writes:

The Vols will have to bring their A game tonight. I expect Maymon to play and compete, but I don't see how he can be 100% after not playing or practicing full-speed for a couple of weeks now. Most of the rest of the Vols will probably have to play over their heads WITHOUT losing them for the Vols to win. MTSU will be frothing and their fans will try to OWN TBA. This may be the hardest match-up the Vols could have had in the whole NIT. It will show ME something if they win, even if everybody else just says, "Oh, well, it was JUST MTSU and it was ONLY the NIT."

volinlouisvilleky writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

Keep trying Prohand you're bound to get one right sooner or later....your new Delta Tau Chi name is "tool"! Why tool? Why NOT!

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sweet Lincoln's Mullet.

makelemonade writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

Wheww! What a relief. Now I know UT will win. When this no-nothing idiot predicts a loss, a win is guaranteed. What a professionalretard.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to Da_Dooley_will_soon_be_Da_Fired:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Zippy is about to get his freak on!

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to tonyvick#213307:

Noticed your picks go from wrong to wronger...
I am so glad you didn't pick the Vols.

The only thing he picks these days is butt pimples and his nose.

Bubba_Knows writes:

In all seriousness, regarding Tennessee in the NIT (Crochet Invitational Tourney). I got nothing.

Colliervol writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

No question MTSU may whip us tonight. Any fool knows that considering how good they've been all year. But let me say right now that, with four senior starters and John Jenkins, Vandy should have represented the SEC better than it did. With all that experience and talent, they had no business going out of the tourney like they did. I didn't view the SEC title as anything more than what you should have done considering all that experience and talent.

You just experienced the best you are going to see for awhile while Coach Martin has UT headed back up. Enjoy the fall. It's a long drop when 80% of your talent leaves. We have personal experience in that.

Colliervol writes:

in response to ScoonerTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now that is a tough one. Let me see:

1) Memphis- Pretty much insignificant. Their sphere of interest is Shelby County. I don't have much against the school. It's their insecure fans that are so insufferable. You can have a discussion going on with them about hunger in Africa and somehow UT will be at fault.
2) Vandy- Again, mostly insignificant. They don't even control their own town. They are minimized by UT and the Titans. Sure, they'll come up with an accomplishment every now and then but, especially in football (which is King in this conference), they always come back down to earth and usually with a thud.
3) Kentucky- As much as I respect their history and tradition, I cannot get past their current coach. He is the ringmaster of all the ills that infect college basketball and there will be no respect again till he's gone. The head of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, said the other day that the one-and-done situation is a charade and that pretty much summarizes what I think about Calipari. One big charade. No respect for them even if they win the title. None, nada, zip.

Again, hard to pick, but I have to say Kentucky at this time. But only because of their leader. I have rooted for Kentucky, Memphis and Vandy in the past but I will NEVER pull for Calipari.

DougSharp writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I disagree RTR about the full speed transition game. We've play very good transition defense at home against some speed teams this year.

The greater portion of out steals have come in transitional situations as opposed to the majority of our turnovers have occurred in the half court offensive set. Yet, our biggest problem has been converting turnovers into points in too many of those types of games. If we do that tonight I think we'll be fine.

Golden's ball handling of late has been much better in a faster pace game than ealier in the season, but poor passing decisions in a half court game continues to be a problem for almost all of the Vols.

sidebar: I confess I was one of Golden's biggest critics early on, but I'm not so sure he can't get the job done the next couple years at point now that he's got a full year of experience.

Hopefully we'll drive the ball to the basket early on in order to pickup some quick fouls which is exactly what we didn't do against Miss in New Orleans until it was too late. Be nice to see coach put Woolridge in there to bust some threes in an up pace game as well.

Regardless, I wish I could get over to Tenn to be there for the game. I've been dying to all day. May make the trip to the Big Apple though. Hopefully the fans that show will give 'em hell tonight. Go Vols Go!

DougSharp writes:

in response to Colliervol:

Now that is a tough one. Let me see:

1) Memphis- Pretty much insignificant. Their sphere of interest is Shelby County. I don't have much against the school. It's their insecure fans that are so insufferable. You can have a discussion going on with them about hunger in Africa and somehow UT will be at fault.
2) Vandy- Again, mostly insignificant. They don't even control their own town. They are minimized by UT and the Titans. Sure, they'll come up with an accomplishment every now and then but, especially in football (which is King in this conference), they always come back down to earth and usually with a thud.
3) Kentucky- As much as I respect their history and tradition, I cannot get past their current coach. He is the ringmaster of all the ills that infect college basketball and there will be no respect again till he's gone. The head of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, said the other day that the one-and-done situation is a charade and that pretty much summarizes what I think about Calipari. One big charade. No respect for them even if they win the title. None, nada, zip.

Again, hard to pick, but I have to say Kentucky at this time. But only because of their leader. I have rooted for Kentucky, Memphis and Vandy in the past but I will NEVER pull for Calipari.

I grew up in Knoxville like a lot of other youths, hating Alabama Football, Kentucky Basketball, and everything about Vanderbilt sports. Nothing was ever said about Memphis.

It was only later in life I realized that the Kentucky and Alabama thing was merely envy and frustration and the Vandy thing, well that was simply In-State rivalry yacking.

Yet spiting was simply unacceptable no matter the team/sport. That was for the "lesser" fans of other schools.

Razzle writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I watched MTSU at Vandy and this team is very good. I also watched UT at Vandy and it was no contest. Vandy led UT by 25 points and pushed the Vols around in the paint with Ezeli. MTSU led Vandy with a couple minutes left in the game, and fought them hard until the end. The fact Ole Miss pushed UT around inside, and Vandy did also, yet Middle beat Ole Miss and almost won at Vandy should be a huge warning sign. Plus anytime a team flies 2000 miles on a weeknight and beats UCLA which happened to go 14-5 at home this year is also a warning along with 26 wins. The true power ratings, on which every Vegas point spread is composed shows UT a 1 point favorite on a nuetral court. MTSU was a great road Underdog this season going 5-1 vs the spread, make it 6-1 tonight as UT with an injured Maymon and suspended Hall will be hammered inside. MTSU advances.. Before I hear how UT beat Vandy at home, it was on a night when Vandy had a Top 4 seed sown up and a 1st round tourney bye with not much to play for, and UT was fighting for a 1st round bye. Tonight MTSU will be a much more motivated team. MTSU averaged winning by 8ppg away from home this season. To put that number in perspective Ut averaged losing by 5ppg away from home. MTSU is a very good road team. After tonight UT will have lost to APSU and Middle Tn in the same year. Disgrace on Rocky Top.

Translation:
Vols win easily if Maymon plays. If he's still out, Vols win a close one.
Thanks ProfessionalHappysacker for another hot tip!

Butterbeans writes:

National media reports Ohio player was illegally contacted to transfer by Bruce Pearl. Nothing in KNS about it? Let's see should we believe Pearl or the boys parents who spoke with Pearl by phone?

VOLFROMNC writes:

Pathetic

OwensboroVol writes:

HILARIOUS!!!The Tennessee Basketball Team (and I use the word TEAM extremely loosely)was heads above MTSU talent wise, but as with the last time I seen them play they were extremely selfish and played as 5 individuals rather than as a team. It has been a long time since I seen a team play the way Tennessee does. The only reason they lost this game was their refusal to pass the ball to the open man for a easy shot. Coach Martin either endorses this manner of play or has lost control of the team. For what it is worth, they may be the worse coached team that I have ever seen.

VolsToGo writes:

Thank God it's over!!!! No more McBee from 35 feet. No more McRae and his wild charge to nowhere. No more Golden guarding his man until the top of the key and then giving the opponent an "Ole" and a cape wave. Whew! What a mess against MTSU. I think these guys were more ready for this season to end than the fans.

Hopefully next year, our focus will be inside. Let's wipe these "3 point specialists" and "teardrop artists" off this team and work toward a consistent season where every shot isn't a roll of the dice.

DougSharp writes:

Outscored 15-0 in last 7 minutes of the game, or something like that. Appropriate ending to a strange season. Very disappointing.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Very lethargic. Golden and McRae were absolutely horrible. Once again, Hall let us down. He needs to be booted off the team.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

MTSU beats UT. Really? Really? Peyton goes to Denver. Man this day sucks!

Go Vols! Now and Forever! Peyton or anyone else will never change that!

KFDLaw writes:

Lots of talent, but their heads weren't in it. Big talk doesn't win ball games. Assuming a win doesn't make a win.

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