Jan 27 2006
06:06 pm

I'd like to make my inaugural post about Sports, specifically about the hottest thing in town, Tennessee men's basketball.  Predictions for tomorrow night's game, anyone?

FWIW, I fear an inevitable letdown from the run they've been on, but I've also seen that our new coach can navigate lots of dire straits.  So I say Vols win 64-61 in a ragged but eventually right effort.

Bbeanster's picture

72-67, Vols And we gotta get

72-67, Vols

And we gotta get my Lady Vols back on track, too!

Left Of The Dial's picture

I say the crowd will provide

I say the crowd will provide enough noise to avoid any letdown. They're expecting over 20,000 again.

I'll say 80-66, Vols

Bbeanster's picture


Take a look at this thread to guage CBP's popularity in Big Orange Country. He's got the good old boys talking about having his baby.........
Follow the enclosed link, too -- hilarious fan picture and commentary.

R. Neal's picture

Don't know about

Don't know about predictions, but you are correct that Tennessee men's basketball is the hot ticket in town right now. I'm not much of a sports guy, but even I've been following it.

I also agree that there is an inevitable letdown coming. It's hard to believe they can keep up this pace. But who know? Either way, they have earned serious respect from the community and their opponents based just on what they've accomplished so far.

So what's the deal with this Pearl guy? He's not from around here, is he? Can a coach make that big of a difference? Since I hadn't been following (and still not that closely other than their record and Pearl's PR magic) I don't know the lineup that well. How many are returning from last year's (losing) team? How does our talent rate overall?

My impression is some mediocre to sometimes pretty good players, and a couple who have brilliant streaks but are sort of inconsistent or play in spurts. Is that an indication that coaching is making the difference? (Besides the easy schedule starting out). If it's coaching, should Summit/Pearl hold an intervention for Fulmer?

Left Of The Dial's picture

Pearl is originally from

Pearl is originally from Boston.

He went 231-46 with a Division II championship at Southern Indiana. He went 86-38 with a spot in the 2005 Sweet 16 at UW-Milwaukee.

He's got the same players Buzz Peterson had last year with the exception of Scooter McFadgon (graduated) and Jemere Hendrix (dismissed).

From CBSportsline's Gregg Doyel:

"Pearl has brought that spunk to Tennessee, where he has averaged one public speaking engagement per day. That includes trips to the student union, where he once urged students to support the UT women's soccer team. He also has tripled the size of the pep band, reconfigured the baseline seating to put students closer to the court, and paraded his team from the concourse to the court, high-fiving the crowd along the way. Tennessee students have reciprocated, camping out for the first time in years before the Florida game. When Pearl heard about that, he bought everyone pizzas. Delivered them himself.

In his orange tie and suspenders, Pearl is the second coming of Tennessee's winningest coach, Ray Mears (1963-77), who founded the term "Big Orange Country" and created the Orange Tie Club. After Mears retired at 47 because of depression, Tennessee went through six coaches in 28 years. Pearl is No. 7.

Don't expect No. 8 to show for a while."

Amen to that.

R. Neal's picture

NO. 19 VOLS 81, SC 65

Left of the Dial's prediction: I'll say 80-66, Vols


Look's like Left of the Dial's prediction was pretty darn close. Go Vols! 

Oren Incandenza's picture

Well, I was pretty close on

Well, I was pretty close on USC's score, anyway.  LOTD has captured the essentials, but to answer Bubba's query, yes, coaching can make a huge difference, especially in basketball, where there are fewer variables (players) to assess and manage.  Pearl essentially inherited a team with less pure talent than Buzz had last year -- the two who left were leaders in scoring and rebounding.  Yet he has figured out how to use what he has better than Buzz ever did. 

Minor sports techno-speak: Pearl's focus on multiple, harassing zone and man defenses means the team can grind out a win like the USC win even when offensively they're not looking so good.  They will force turnovers and create chances for easier shots.  But they will be vulnerable to teams with superlative guards, disciplined teams that don't commit (and can't be made to commit) a lot of turnovers, and teams that combine athleticism and size (like Ok. State).  Also note: the pre-conference schedule was no easier than any of Buzz's and arguably harder with Texas and Ok. State.  In fact, it was a minor masterpiece: Pearl scheduled a bunch of teams from "mid-major" conferences that were projected to win their leagues, or at least to win many games.  So while it could be more appealing to the eye, the schedule has a relatively high quality that builds the team's computer rankings.

My favorite Pearl Fact: he has *never* had a losing season as a head coach.  That's a remarkable accomplishment.  Sooner or later, we'll see the feet of clay, but for him never to have slipped below .500, that must be pretty high-end clay.

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