And instead of getting better, the fever kicks in. The mess below was supposed to end up all pretty-ish in a talking points, but seeing as I'm handing Jackson the Mule his own reigns in anticipation of sleeping tomorrow away, you'll just have to make do with a mess. Enjoy!
Tennessee All-American guard Chris Lofton was out of his protective walking boot and into running shoes Tuesday.
Lofton did not take part in the Vols regular practice session after injuring his ankle in the Vols' second-round win over Butler.
Though you rarely hear it discussed in today’s game, former Vol head coach Ray Mears came up with a formula that is the ideal measure of an offense and its effectiveness. He called it the O.E.R. or Offensive Efficiency Rating. Simply put it provided a value of points per possession. Anything over a 1.0 was considered very good while a 1.25 was the holy grail. Of course that was before the three-point field goal and shot clock, but it’s still just as accurate and impartial as ever when adjusted for those changes. In today’s game a rating of .95 is considered very good.
The Vols posted a modest .79 OER against Butler on Sunday and have only reached the 1.0 level once in their last five games. Clearly this evident in the number of close games they have played and reflects the overall performance of their point guards.
Prince played 31 minutes against Butler. If he plays 31 minutes at the point against Louisville Thursday night, the Vols won’t win. The Cardinals’ press could prove too much for a 6-foot-7 left-hander who struggles going to his right.
Prince isn’t the answer. Ramar Smith is.
Smith’s strong finish against Butler left Pearl ``very, very encouraged.’’ At the same time, Pearl said he wasn’t surprised at Smith’s solid play.
``That’s the way he played down the stretch last year,’’ Pearl said. ``He needs to keep that chip on his shoulder and play with intensity. I’m confident he will.’’
The Rocky Top Talk Orange and White Game Hullabaloo.
This interesting trend is noteworthy for two reasons:
One, Lofton is in another mini-slump, having made a combined 4 of 18 shots (3 of 12 from 3) and scored just 14 total points in Tennessee's first two NCAA Tournament tests.
Two, Lofton is preparing to face Louisville, the OTHER in-state school that snubbed him.
Will the Cardinals bring out the best in Lofton, as Kentucky routinely seemed to do? Don't bet against it.
But in Pitino and Pearl, college basketball fans can find two of the most animated, passionate coaches in the business. The pair has 38 years of collegiate head coaching experience between them, 914 wins, two national titles and two national runner-up finishes, albeit, Pearl's were at Division II Southern Indiana while Pitino's were at Kentucky.
These coaches don't just win, they do it with flair, from their side-court dress and post-game comments, to the electrifying uptempo style their teams have ridden to wild success.
It might be a horse race. It might be a chess match.
Either way, it shapes up as one of the most interesting games of the postseason.
Join the Tennessee Vols this week in Charlotte, North Carolina for NCAA Regional play. The UTAA will host Big Orange Tailgate Tour for all alumni, friends and fans of UT.
The fun begins on Thursday and will continue on Saturday, if the Vols advance. The Big Orange Tailgate Tour - NCAA Edition will be held, Thursday (4:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. ET) at the official UT alumni headquarters, Dixie’s Tavern (301 E. 7th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202). The location is only 1/2 block from the arena! Admission is free! Dixie’s Tavern will be serving food and drinks from its menu.
If the Vols advance, the BOTT will return to Dixie’s Tavern, three hours before tip off of the Regional Championship game on Saturday. The BOTT will end one hour before tip off.
The Big Orange Tailgate Tour will include a full pep rally with the UT pep band, cheerleaders and Smokey in attendance. Food can be ordered from the Dixie Tavern menu. Door prizes will be given away during the event.
Big Orange Tailgate Tour - Vols Edition:
Thursday, March 27, 4:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. (ET)
*Saturday, March 29 (three hours before tip off).
*Contingent on the Vols advancing in the NCAA Tournament.
Picking on Pearl: Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl spent a few minutes watching Louisville play Oklahoma before leaving the arena in Birmingham, Ala., on Sunday.
As he left the court with Louisville up 37-18 with 4:15 left in the first half, a row of Cardinals fans started pointing at one of college basketball's most affable coaches and shouting: "You better be scared! You better be scared!"
Pearl turned, smiled and shouted back: "I better be scared? You better be scared!"
As the story goes, then-Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith and Louisville Coach Rick Pitino passed on Lofton, failing to offer a scholarship to in-state prospect. He was recruited hard by former UT Coach Buzz Peterson, and Lofton chose to become a Vol.
Since then, Lofton has emerged as one of the nation's top shooters, an All-American and one of the most well-known athletes at UT and the Southeastern Conference.
His apparent snubbing by Kentucky schools has fueled fans' smack talk and has been a go-to topic on sports talk radio for years.
Come to find out, the story isn't totally true.