I'm reasonably certain that, if it weren't for Bruce Pearl, none of the main sports sites in East Tennessee would be covering the Jewish Olympics. (My own commentary included.) After all, when East Tennessee has exactly one Mohel authorized to perform the Bris, it's not exactly the largest hotbed of Jewish culture in America.
But with Bruce Pearl involved, the entire story changes. He's our guy, and whichever team he happens to be coaching is one I'll be rooting for wholeheartedly - especially with the USA logo on their uniforms. It's also his chance to coach the game he loves to coach purely because it's a part of who he is.
Stephen Pearl is playing his part, too. He's not the dominant player on the team or anything, but he's providing about 10 points a game with consistent defense - everything they need from a role player.
And so far, you have to like the results. In the first match, USA defeated Mexico 112-13 in what can rightly be considered a mismatch. These are not unheard of in the Maccabi Games because some countries just don't have the Jewish presence necessary to compete with other countries (think Jamaican bobsled team). But the second game meant more; in defeating France 131-77, they beat the team that kept them from the gold medal game last time around. With such a large margin of victory, it's pretty apparent that this American team plays very well together and has a lot of talent.
They play Russia next; here's the schedule of all men's basketball games if you're interested in following.
I know this isn't exactly UT sports, but they're a part of our own and I'm cheering for them.