Mike Strange: Scoring up, but not for Vols (and other observations)

Mike Strange
Florida coach Billy Donovan wipes off his forehead but keeps his eye on the court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida won 67-41. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Photo by Phil Sandlin

Florida coach Billy Donovan wipes off his forehead but keeps his eye on the court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida won 67-41. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Here are 10 free observations about Tennessee and SEC basketball in the final days of January:

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Comments » 5

fannotsheep writes:

Florida may have played out of their minds. I don't know. But if A&M can beat UT in TBA then lose to other teams that were not supposed to be as good as Vols, then you have to wonder if Tennessee just brings out the best in opponents. Maybe because they suck on offense when they aren't hitting three pointers out of the gate.

Understandable that if you can't practice much against certain defenses you might struggle with them. But Pearl knew how to coach press defense, zone defense and man defense. Of course Pearl had his preferences and his teams were not equally effective with zone and man. But perhaps if the Vols learned how to apply the press effectively they could also learn to score against it.

You'd think a college coach would know how to coach any basic defensive and offensive style and scheme. Guess not.

underthehill writes:

Then press or zone a lot and you will be prepared for it..makes sense to me..being predictable on defense is not giving your team the best chance to win games..mix it up..

wendelllawson writes:

Please don't revise history. Pearl's teams were ATROCIOUS against the zone--never finding the soft spot in the middle, just throwing it around the perimeter until someone missed a three. At least Lofton and Smith were accurate enough from 3 to make teams things twice about switching. But when those guys were on the bench, zone was the way to go against the Vols.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to wendelllawson:

Please don't revise history. Pearl's teams were ATROCIOUS against the zone--never finding the soft spot in the middle, just throwing it around the perimeter until someone missed a three. At least Lofton and Smith were accurate enough from 3 to make teams things twice about switching. But when those guys were on the bench, zone was the way to go against the Vols.

Very true. Nostalgia for Pearl runs deep in some fans, to the point of obscuring the full view. The Vols have actually done a pretty good job, IMHO, at attacking zones when guys are making open shots. You can't ask much more from an OFFENSE--i.e., a coach--than to produce SHOTS in scoring territory. It's up to the PLAYERS to MAKE the shots.

Not every shot they take is a good one. Martin says that he isn't trying to hold the guys down, that he tells them to shoot when they think they have a good one. This is true, but he could be tougher on what is considered a good shot in terms of who, from where, and, just as important, when. They tend to stray off the script, ad-libbing instead of reading off the same page.

However, if they had just made a respectable percentage of open, makeable shots--perimeter shots, drives, postups, and put-backs off offensive rebounds; say, 45% of those not blocked--and 70% free-throws, they would be a top-20 team right now. That team could reappear at any time. That it might NOT, or at least not often ENOUGH, is frustrating to all concerned.

fannotsheep writes:

Boy, what I wouldn't give for one of those ATROCIOUS Pearl teams right about now. I hate going to the Dance every year, coming within an eyelash of the school's first Final Four, and beating the number 1 team in the country not once but several times (Memphis, Kansas, Florida, maybe Kentucky? Not sure all were #1 when we beat them but I think all were ranked there in midseason or at season's end).

Yep I'd go back to those ATROCIOUS times in a heartbeat. Maybe Pearl had weaknesses, but at least he had strengths to go along with it. His teams were the most fun to watch of ANY in my memory.

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