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Hope Alive For Tennessee Basketball; Expectations Not So Much

  • First, let's acknowledge Will's perfect capturing of the frustration of this men's basketball season from immediately following Tennessee's one-point home loss to Mississippi State: "To expect anything, good or bad, from this team at this point is an exercise in stupidity." Yeah. It's not that it's not been entertaining; it's that it fluctuates between entertaining and heartbreaking with a sort of ruthless haste.
  • As irritated as the rest of us, Bruce Pearl ripped into his guys in front of the media after the game with a litany of ways this team is not like his others. No leadership (more on that later). No chemistry. Inconsistent. Nobody stepping up. The worst-shooting team he's ever had (Scout has the details on this part). Only the second time in 19 years of coaching his team hasn't led the league in scoring. Not as educated as the crowd in shot-selection, especially in choosing to chuck up three-pointers when you're last in the SEC in that category. John Adams encapsulates all of this into a single depressing sentence: "Pearl's sixth UT team bears no resemblance to his first." Think about that. It's not just the record and the Cloud and the unexpected losses. It's that the things we loved about Bruce Pearl's teams early are almost non-existent today.
  • Still, Pearl continues pushing buttons and looking for answers, including for that elusive "third option," which of late has not been the Cam Tatum who is 4-20 the last three outings.
  • So you're saying there's a chance. And after that major downer of a Talking Points, let's leave with this: Mike Griffith says there is in fact a scenario in which Tennessee could still finish 2nd in the East. Go ahead and hope, but expect at your own peril.