Friday, December 24, 2010

Tennessee Should Get Off It's Own Hype

There's still a lot of college basketball left to be played and there are a lot of upsets out there to be made. Yes, that would include you too Duke. Some teams made early impressions. One of those teams was the Tennessee Volunteers.

A couple of weeks ago the Volunteers went into Pittsburgh and dismantled the then No.3 Panthers 83-76. And the score really wasn't that close. They were blowing them out by 21 before Bruce Pearl called off the dogs. Prior to that they beat Villanova 78-68. The Volunteers looked good in beating two of the Big East's better teams and subsequently rose to No.7 in the national rankings. Well, we all know rankings don't mean jack until you get in conference. Unless your Duke or Kansas. And Tennessee found this out the hard way. After beating Pittsburgh, the Vols dropped three in a row. All to inferior opponents. Oakland, Charlotte, and USC. Two of them at home.

I'm not taking anything away from those teams. Oakland is a much more difficult opponent than what people think, don't look at the Ohio State game as an indicator. Charlotte had just lost it's best player (Shamari Spears) and USC just hasn't been the same since the O.J. Mayo controversy. Last night they narrowly escaped Belmont, 66-65. Definitely not the same Tennessee team I saw a few weeks ago.

In my opinion, as it seems with some teams, is they get on their own hype. They start thinking they can underprepare for opponents and just show up and win. Only a select few teams can get away with that and the Vols are not one of them. Don't get me wrong. They are plenty good and should be one of the SEC's best this year. But they shouldn't be overlooking other teams. That's what I think happened. It's good to believe in yourself, just don't get too overconfident.

With conference play starting in two weeks, we'll see if Tennessee can regain their focus, like they had against 'Nova and Pitt. They'll have to because Bruce Pearl will be sitting out the first eight conference games for lying to the NCAA. The Vols will have to be at their best with games against Memphis, Arkansas, and Florida looming in early January.   

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