FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — I'm not sure what Tennessee's plan was coming out of halftime Saturday at Bud Walton Arena.
No doubt, it had something to do with taking better care of the basketball against withering Arkansas defensive pressure.
An ESPN national audience, after all, didn't need Bobby Knight's Hall of Fame analysis to understand 12 turnovers were why the Vols trailed Arkansas 35-25 at the break.
But as the once-fearsome Mike Tyson said of good strategic intentions in the boxing ring:
Everybody's got a plan until they get hit.
So we're left to wonder what the Vols' plan was. They got hit.
On the first possession of the second half, freshman guard Armani Moore got trapped into a turnover 40 feet from the basket. Eight seconds had elapsed.
On the second possession, 35 seconds elapsed before Josh Richardson heaved a desperate 25-footer, too late to avoid a shot-clock violation.
Third possession, Richardson, hounded by a Razorback defender, dribbled the ball on the sideline.
On the fourth possession, no time elapsed at all.
Jarnell Stokes ripped down a rebound of a missed Arkansas shot but the ball never got pointed toward the UT end of the floor before Razorback Michael Qualls stripped Stokes and fed Coty Clarke for a dunk.
By that point, the Razorbacks led 39-25, a Bud Walton Arena crowd of 14,029 was on fire and the prospects of Tennessee's first road win of the season were downgraded from serious condition to critical.
Those prospects eventually expired by a 73-60 score.
"It was a real tough way to start the half,'' said UT guard Brandon Lopez.
"They were real good pressuring the ball. They played four, even five guards at a time, so it was real tough to deal with their pressure.''
The Vols, to their credit, had the moxie to hang around in a tough environment, just close enough to keep fans from flipping the channel, but without really threatening.
In the end, whatever they did right was undone by 20 turnovers, one short of their season high.
How damaging were the lost possessions? The box score quantified it as a 27-6 Arkansas advantage in points off turnovers.
Another way to view the carnage is how many opportunities might have been squandered to get the ball inside into the hands of Stokes and Kenny Hall.
UT's two big men were identical 6-of-7 shooting. Too bad they didn't shoot more.
But we probably could have seen this coming. Arkansas leads the SEC in forcing turnovers. The Vols have been susceptible to pressure, even with a healthy Trae Golden available, which he was not Saturday.
At halftime, retired coach Nolan Richardson took a bow, a nod to the Razorbacks' 1994 national championship.
Tennessee vs Arkansas, Feb. 2, 2013
Richardson created the attacking, unrelenting defensive style that was Arkansas' identity in those good old days. That identity faded through a couple of ill-fated coaching hires, but now Richardson's old protégé, Mike Anderson, is trying to bring it back.
"We're playing a tremendous brand of defense,'' Anderson said.
"We're making people take tough shots. Our press, even when it's not making steals, it throws people out of rhythm.''
As to that, Anderson could get an amen from the Vols. Jordan McRae, UT's leading scorer, never found a beat of rhythm. Continuously dogged by Razorbacks, McRae had two field goals, one on a rebound put-back.
"But it shouldn't be nothing we shouldn't be able to handle,'' said Josh Richardson, his face a frown of frustration.
Maybe back home at Thompson-Boling Arena, the Vols could have handled it. Out there in the great big hostile world, though, it's a different story.
"The road environment definitely has something to do with it,'' Stokes acknowledged. "These guys, they feed off their crowd. That makes it that much harder to handle the ball and run your offense.''
In short, harder to follow the plan. Because on the road, you will get hit.