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Talking Points: Tennessee Vols take on VCU tonight in Madison Square Garden

  • Tonight the Basketvols take on VCU at 7pm EST on ESPN2. Both teams are considering this semi final game of the NIT Season Tip-Off to be a step up from the games they've played thus far.

"After we beat Wake Forest I told our team we're taking a big step up,'' said VCU coach Shaka Smart, whose Rams upset Wake Forest, 90-69, on Nov. 16 to reach the semifinals. "We're playing in the heavyweight division now.''

Fun fact about Coach Smart: He was on Billy Donovan's Florida staff from 2008-2009, so he knows all about losing to Pearl's Vols ;). He says the one thing that always stood out about Tennessee was their confidence.

"The thing that impressed me about Coach Pearl and his team is that they played with such great confidence,'' Smart said. "You would have thought they believed they could beat the (Los Angeles) Lakers.''

  • Despite their confidence, Mike Griffith writes that the Vols have a lot to improve upon if they plan on winning the NIT Season Tip-Off. I tend to agree.
  • Bruce Pearl has had a great time with the New York Media answering questions about all his favorite topics.
  • All this round ball talk almost makes me forget there's still football left to be played. Kentucky certainly hasn't forgotten. (Did I just type that?) They have the number ‘517' posted all over the football complex because... You guessed it! In the last 25 years that's the total number of points Tennessee has outscored Kentucky by.
  • On the Big Blue sideline this weekend will be a Big Orange Legend. Tee Martin talks about his return to Neyland as an opponent. PS: Did you realize Tee Martin is 32 years old? Time flies...
  • On the Big Orange side of things David Oku has moved back to the 2 spot on the depth chart behind Tauren Poole.
  • Another week, another Tyler Bray presencemoxietoughnessstillneedstolearncoveragesbutWoo10touchdownsin3games!!! piece.