Volunteers out to make Seth Davis a liar

Well. At 30 frames per second, the first ten seconds or so of this is worth 30,000 words:

 

That was the scene yesterday when the Vols learned they weren't a three seed. Or a four. Or even a five, but a six. To add insult to insult, CBS's Seth Davis blurted out almost immediately that Tennessee's opponent -- 11th seed San Diego State -- was his "upset special."

The collective mood of the players? Not happy:

 

"Seth Davis has me a little upset right now," Hopson said. "I think he just gave us enough attitude to go out there and take this whole tourney."

Maze said the Vols aim to prove precisely why he's never "talked negatively" about an opponent.

"It's not smart to give people fuel, and (Davis) just gave us that," Maze said. "Clearly, on national television, they just said we were going to be the biggest first-round upset. That comment, I was rather disappointed in that. But you know what? That was just more ammunition and more fuel for us, as far as I'm concerned. I'm fired up, man. We're all even more fired up now. I'm about to go get in some extra shots in the gym right now because of this.

"I've never been more focused, more dedicated and more ready to play than I am right now. Come Thursday, I'll be as ready as I've ever been to play a basketball game."

Even Mike Hamilton sounded a bit miffed, telling the Selection Sunday gathering, "Let's go make Seth Davis a liar."

Pearl, too, seemed a bit rattled in that he said that the seed "was a little higher than we expected" when he obviously meant "lower," but he's at least out front in wrestling his emotions into a manageable place:

"(Davis) has probably seen them play, and I tell you, they're a good team," Pearl said. "I know they're a big team, a really good offensive team and a really good rebounding. But we'll spend tonight getting ready for them, and I'll tell you more about them tomorrow.

"But I know they play in a really good league, and I know they're playing really good basketball down the stretch, and it'll be a good matchup."

Perhaps Pearl's just proving yet again that he's more knowledgeable than the rest of us. After all, he said before the Kentucky game that fatigue was going to be a factor:

"The trainers told me we wouldn't have a problem the second game....tomorrow will be tougher, the third game in three days,'' Pearl said after Friday's win over Ole Miss. "I'll remind them of Gate 10 at the football stadium, which we ran early in the mornings, and how we ran it for games like tomorrow's.''

Like the seeding, Pearl knew his team was up against it, yet there was little he could do about it. He had to be disappointed that we Vol fans didn't do our part, allowing Kentucky fans to make up an estimated 90% of the crowd in our own state and allowing those 17,000 Wildcat fans to drown out Rocky Top every time the band played.

If it's any consolation, Tennessee's seed was not the only wacky in this year's bracket:

If the NCAA uses the serpentine system as it says, where the strongest No. 1 is matched with the weakest No. 2 while the weakest No. 1 gets the strongest No. 2, shouldn't Kansas have drawn Villanova and Duke been paired with West Virginia?

Instead, the Dookies just may have the easiest road to the Final Four while either Kansas or Kentucky -- supposedly the top two No. 1s -- appear to have the toughest draws out of the Midwest and East regionals.

The Jayhawks draw Ohio State for a second seed and Georgetown for a third while UK must battle second-seeded West Virginia and fourth-seeded Wisconsin. And that's only if Big Blue escapes former No. 1 Texas, which was given an eighth seed in the East.

There's also the not-so-little matter of geography, which Guerrero's committee evidently never took in school. How else to explain San Diego State being shipped to Providence, R.I., to play Tennessee when there were Left Coast first-round sites at San Jose, Calif., and Spokane, Wash.?

Just as inconceivable, Maryland must travel to Spokane and Gonzaga to Buffalo. Then there are first-round foes Murray State (Ky.) and Vanderbilt -- whose campuses are roughly 80 miles apart -- playing in San Jose instead of Oklahoma City, New Orleans or Jacksonville.

It's not any consolation? That's what I thought. But the team's got to get past both the Kentucky beat down and the seeding disappointment if its going to prove Seth Davis wrong.

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