- It's Spring Break in Knoxville, so while there may not be any action on the practice field until next week, there's plenty of excitement going around today, as the long and strange journey of Bryce Brown comes to an end at 2:00 PM EDT. Most believe it's come down to the Vols and Miami, where Brown's brother plays, with Oregon no longer a factor. But now six weeks after signing day, nothing would surprise me with Rivals' number one overall player. Brown's announcement will be carried live by his local ABC affiliate KAKE, which you should be able to watch live online at their website.
- Our fearless leader is also hanging out at Dr. Saturday this week, and he's talking Lane Kiffin and Al Davis.
- Yesterday's magic word was "screwed" for many in Vol Nation, but as we moved forward to the brackets two hours after the insanity of the last few seconds in Tampa, so too must we now move forward from the harsh reality of being a nine seed. I'll only say this about that - it wasn't just those wearing orange-tinted glasses who thought the Vols deserved better: Joe Lunardi had the Vols as a six seed in his final bracket projection, and Jerry Palm had the Vols as an eight in his. But, we've gotta move on, because...
- Oklahoma State looms. The Vols and Cowboys have history - in Pearl's first year, the Cowboys handed him his first loss as a Vol in Oklahoma City. The following season, the Vols busted up OSU's undefeated season in a thriller in Nashville. Fun memories from that game:
- Rocky Top Talk: Blender set to Discombobulation
- SESB: Here we go again.
- The Bruce Ball Blog: Moment #21 of the Bruce Ball Era (with video)
- Both teams still have players who were active in that second game especially, Wayne Chism for the Vols and Byron Eaton & Terrel Harris for OSU. Consider Friday's game the rubber match to settle what Eaton calls a building rivalry. It's also an Oklahoma reunion for Bobby Maze, who says Eaton likes to talk, but he can't say anything to him.
- Two things to be worried about: Oklahoma State is fourth in the nation in three pointers made (shooting 38%), and they're no long coached by someone named Sutton, but by Travis Ford in his first season. Astute Vol fans will remember Ford ripping them apart in the early 90s during his playing days as a Kentucky Wildcat, and he's moved up the coaching ranks very quickly, from Eastern Kentucky to UMass to OSU in the last nine years. This is Oklahoma State's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years, and the Cowboys have won eight of their last ten to close the season. More on the breakdown here later this week; gametime Friday at 12:25 PM EDT.
- Words I'm not using until Friday at around 3:00 at the earliest: "DeJuan", "Levance", and "Pittsburgh".
Lady Vol Basketball
- If we learned anything yesterday, it's that you can never really project tournament seeding as an exact science. So when I tell you that ESPN has the Ladies projected as a six seed, you take it with a salt shaker, and you tune in tonight at 7:00 PM EDT on the worldwide leader to see where they're actually going to fall.
- The rest of the SEC probably isn't too happy about their seeding either: LSU is an 8 seed (no regular season SEC Champion had ever been seeded lower than 4) and plays pesky Butler in the first round, and has a date with North Carolina in Greensboro should they win. Mississippi State gets UDub as a thirteen seed.
- The SEC sends four teams to the NIT: Auburn is a one seed and will host Tennessee-Martin, Florida is a one seed and will host Jacksonville, South Carolina is a three seed and will host Steph Curry and Davidson, and the C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS are a four seed and will host UNLV. It's a harsh reality for teams like Alabama, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss - used to be anything over .500 in the SEC would easily get you into the NIT, but when the league suffers we all suffer together, and only three teams going to the big dance means only four go to the small one. Full NIT bracket here.
- Don't forget to join the Rocky Top Talk March Madness Bracket Challenge (link fixed!) at Fun Office Pools.