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Time Capsule: Wingate, snakes, and the Battle of Bull Run

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Andy and I recorded the Brackets, Brackets, Brackets edition of the Corn from a Jar podcast last night, and I use the term "recorded" loosely in the sense that it wasn't. The first time. So we did it all again and had great fun both times. Look for it to hit the streets tomorrow, probably.

Let's just say that it's a good thing that Andy and I are not playing Long Beach State because we're seriously overlooking them. Seriously.

And that leads me to today's time capsule. One year ago today, GoVolsXtra blogger John Pennington and I were both flashing bright red lights:

John Pennington is on an absolute roll.  He has thoughts on the Pearl Factor (head coach Bruce Pearl's being "good for business, good for basketball, good for a quote, good for rivalries and good for ratings," is 75% of the reason the Vols got a No. 2 seed), the double-edged sword aspect of the high seed, the Vols' potential matchups, and an invitation to readers to publish their picks by comment.

Pennington's best bit of the day concerns center Major Wingate's statement upon hearing that the Vols were a No. 2 seed that "[w]e have some pretty rough teams after we get to the Sweet 16."  I'll let John take it from here:

Ever notice how often the biggest talkers are the worst producers? I'm not the coach at UT, and if I were they'd be about 0-28 right now, but I can tell you how I'd handle this situation.

Watch 3 straight hours of Winthrop tape. Then run for an hour. Then watch another 2 hours of Winthrop tape. Then we're going to throw 500 passes to you in the paint to make sure you can catch the ball. If you say one more word to the press, you'll get 500 more passes. Say another word, and I'll feed you to your snakes.

Agreed.  I had the same thoughts when I read Wingate's comment.  It was part of the reason for yesterday's cautionary post.  The feeling grew today when I read that UT is giving the team a send off to the tourney.

It reminds me of a Civil War educational video I just previewed before showing it to my home-schooled nine-year-old.  The Union was so confident of a quick victory over the Confederates in what came to be known as the First Battle of Bull Run, that spectators actually showed up with picnic baskets.  When the Union army was driven back by an underestimated adversary, the hoop skirts and parasols left their fried chicken to the ants and fled in absolute panic.

By all means, let's enjoy this.  But make the mistake of thinking it's going to be a picnic, and we'll be headed home in a hurry.

So has the team learned last year's lesson better than Andy and I have? Chris Lofton and Dane Bradshaw say yes, but Duke Crews, Wayne Chism, and Ramar Smith weren't even there for the lesson last year. Plus, you often hear at this time of the year that the freshmen can't be considered freshmen any longer because they've played for a whole year. I'm not buying it because the freshmen are still experiencing some things for the first time. Like, oh, I don't know, the NCAA Tournament.

Even the best freshmen All-American sophomores make freshmen mistakes under pressure. Exhibit A: Chris Webber against North Carolina.

So expect some "huh?" moments from the freshmen in the tournament this year. And don't overlook Long Beach State. Andy and I will take care of that.