Go Vols: A Season to Remember!

Believe it or not, I started out a Tennessee Basketball fan way before football became the #1 sport as a Vol fan.  Well, move over gridiron, the basketball program appears to have been resucitated thanks to Athletic Director Mike Hamilton and his first try at hiring a major sport coach, Bruce Pearl.  Win or lose on Friday, it has been a one of a kind season for UT b-ball.  They achieved their first ever appearance as the #1 team in America (albeit a short one week stay) and their second #2 seed in the NCAA tourney in 3 years (never a #2 before that).  They won the SEC outright for the first time in 41 years for their 9th SEC title.  Pearl was named SEC coach of the year and the team had various players receive honors.  Most noteworthy of the players is Chris Lofton, who was Mr. Basketball high school in the state of Kentucky but was snubbed by the flagship school, UK, and then coach Tubby Smith.  Admittedly, Lofton probably wasn’t a high level Div 1 candidate, but he took the challenge and is now the 3rd best 3 point shooter in NCAA history (with a shot at making #2) and UT’s fifth 3-time all-SEC player. 

I have really enjoyed this resurgence.  And one thing’s for sure, win or lose, this team makes every game exciting.  So, with the gracious support of a great wife (thank you Kim!!), a friend and I are planning to trek down the road about 85 miles to the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center to see UT play American in round 1 of the NCAA tourney on Friday.  We might even wind up watching all four games on Friday; who knows?!  I have never been to an NCAA tourney game before, and, with UT’s success, it seemed like now would be a great time to watch them.  It will be a difficult road (as it is for any team in the 65 team field), but hopefully they will win a game or two (or maybe more).  However, American, from the Patriot league will be a tough out — Bucknell, from the same league, beat Kansas (2005) and Arkansas (2006), so I’m sure American will not be intimidated.  Should UT beat American, either of the next opponents will be difficult:  Butler is a very disciplined, well coached team that would give UT a fit, and South Alabama, although more of a running team — suited to UT’s style, will have a bit of a homecourt advantage.

I have only seen the Bruce Pearl coached Vols play once:  at LSU in 2005.  They lost 88-74, but I took Isaac to his first game and it was an enjoyable experience overall; Isaac was more interested in the cotton candy than the game, but that was OK by me.  UT managed to pull within 4 points at 60-56, but LSU, with talented Glen Davis and Tyrus Thomas and several other great players pulled away in the end.  Anyhow, it will be fun to see the team in action again.

Go Vols!!

Published in: on March 19, 2008 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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