Site-Wide Activity

  • It’s Gameday on Rocky Top, with the No. 1-ranked Tennessee Volunteers (23-1, 11-0) traveling to Lexington to take on the No. 5-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (20-4, 9-2).

    Here’s the Gameday Gameplan for Vols fans. […]

  • Here’s our list of games worth watching this weekend, specifically curated for fans of the Tennessee Volunteers.

    No. 1 Tennessee actually has the national game of the weekend tonight against the No. 5 […]

  • Hey, have you heard that there’s a huge game between No. 1 Tennessee and No. 5 Kentucky in Rupp Arena Saturday night at 8:00? You have? Well, okay then.

    Will’s already posted his regular preview of the […]

    • They’re dirty rotten cheaters. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! 😉

    • All the metrics suggest a close game.

      If that’s true, it may come down to execution of one or two plays at the end, and that’s a situation that you think would favor the more mature team.

      The only thing that would surprise me is if this is a blowout one way or the other.

  • Not only is this the highest-ranked match-up between the Vols and Cats in their 224-game history, it’s also one of just three top five match-ups in the history of Tennessee basketball. No hyperbole necessary for […]

    • Once they got to 14-1 and you saw the schedule over the next month, it felt like it was all leading up to Saturday. And now it’s here! And I’m pumped and nervous and excited and curious to see how it goes down.

      A crazy realization…a Vols win on Saturday would get reeeeal close to making it a 2-horse race for the SEC. They’d be 3 up on UK with 6 to play, plus they’d have a game in hand. The Vols will still control their destiny with a loss, but food for thought…

    • This is one of those games where I start out a couple of weeks ahead thinking “well, we may lose that one, but that’s okay” and now I’m all “I really really really really want us to win this one, please, please, please, please…..”. I think my head might explode if we did win. I’m just hoping I don’t start hyperventilating like I did during the Vandy game, when I had to stop watching for a little while.

  • If you read only one thing about the Vols today . . .

    . . . make it this, from 247Sports:

    Rucker: Tennessee’s defense is a problem. Or … is it?

    Interesting questions here from Wes, namely whether […]

  • We all know where this is headed on Saturday. But let’s take one more minute to celebrate what these guys have done.

    Tennessee, as you know, is now 23-1 (11-0). Nineteen wins in a row, nine SEC wins by double […]

    • If we play like that on Saturday we will lose by double-digits.

      Admiral was right in his post-game. This one was sloppy. Bad coverage behind the arc. Too many second chance points (12 OffRB). It should have been 30, not 12. If you told Frank Martin that his team would hit 14 3FG while shooting 62% from behind the arc, that his team would have 17 assists on 26 makes and that Grant Williams would only have 8 points, I bet he’s looking for the Sakerlina upsets #1 Tennessee headlines.

      But the offense from everyone not named Grant was good enough. We handled the #93 KenPom team the way we should – we sent them home with a loss.

      • If I squint, I could see some things be concerned about.

        BB Ref must use slightly different stats than ESPN (has USCe at 10 O Reb last night), but that’s 5 straight games of giving up 10+ offensive boards. An average of 11.8 in the last 5 after a season average of 9.2 to that point. Kentucky is 39th in the country in offensive boards. That could be an issue.

        There’s also been an uptick in 3PM in the last 5 games…an average of 9.8 per game after a season average to that point of 7.6 per game. There’s some randomness there, sure, but poor coverage last night led to some wide open looks for USCe which you expect to go in at a higher rate. UK is last in attempts and makes in league play, but 5th in 3P%. They shoot ok, and giving up open shots in transition can be a killer in that building.

        Our FTA have also been way down, averaging around 12 in the last 5 games, half of the season average of 24 to that point. Kentucky doesn’t foul a lot, and it’s hard to imagine calls going our way in Rupp.

        As my coworker just said, I think we’ll find out on Saturday whether the Vols have slipped a bit, have been bored, or a bit of both.

        • I would lean toward bored, only because I think some of our best basketball all year was winning +22 at South Carolina and +17 at Texas A&M in the same week. We’ve followed it with three straight 12-point wins at home over teams that wouldn’t make the tournament if it started today.

          I don’t think last year’s team peaked too soon – I think that 18-point win over Arkansas in the SEC semis was our best performance of the season – so I’m not inclined to worry about it under Barnes just yet. Win or lose Saturday, there’s reason to believe this team can still get better. The mental part of that should click in pretty quick against Kentucky.

  • If you read only one thing about the Vols today . . .

    . . . make it this, from CBS Sports:

    Barry Odom frustrated with rival SEC coaches trying to poach Missouri seniors after bowl ban

    I have to say, I […]

  • None of us have any experience with a 22-1 (10-0) basketball team outside our imagination. But here’s what we didn’t imagine about life at 10-0: the Vols aren’t even close to locking up the SEC.

    It’s one part […]

    • I was just discussing this in other parts of the interwebs, but of the 8 left, I’d break them down thusly.

      -Should win (90%): USCe, Vandy
      -Likely win (70%): Miss State, @Ole Miss
      -Slight faves (55%): @LSU, @Auburn
      -Is UK (:P): @UK, UK

      If those rough guesstimates are right…then it would equate to 5.3-2.7 assuming a split against UK. ESPN’s BPI generally agrees with me, putting the aggregate at 5.7-2.3 (higher on Miss State, slightly higher/lower on LSU/Auburn).

      Given those…I think 6-2 wins the league while 5-3 doesn’t?

      • If we split the league title with UK at 16-2, we both earned it

        • Last night’s result gives us more cushion with UK, but that is now a huuuuuuge game bright and early on the 23rd in Baton Rouge.

          It was almost a perfect night; UK lost, Michigan lost, and Duke was getting absolutely worked by a team we beat…and then they came back.


  • If you read only one thing about the Vols today . . .

    . . . make it this, from The Athletic:

    How Tennessee found 17 NFL players in one recruiting […]

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  • Here’s our list of games worth watching this weekend, specifically curated for fans of the Tennessee Volunteers.

    You’ll want to be sure to catch the Vols in action Wednesday night against South […]

    • LSU plays UK, GA, FL, UT, TAMU, AL, FL, VU…… LSU should be favored in all but UT/UK.
      UK plays LSU, UT, MO, AU, AR, UT, MS, FL……. UK should be favored in all but UT.

      I think that I want LSU to beat Kentucky, just on principle. Besides, UT winning out, what KenPom scenario works best for us, Will/Joel?

      • Will may know more about this than me, but I think that as important as KenPom is, NET is more important, so as long as both teams remain Quadrant 1 teams, I don’t think it matters. LSU, being ranked lower than Kentucky right now, is probably more likely to fall out of Q1, so we need to root for them to stay there, although the Kentucky game may not have much impact on that.

        I’m guessing that Will is wanting to Kentucky to be as good as possible when we play them this weekend, so he wants them to win. It’s a huge game this weekend if both teams win their games this week, so I can get behind that.

        • I am thinking KenPom which provides implied spreads and % likely to win future matchups. ESPN may have a similar tool.

          I am wondering about maximizing our chances to win the SEC regular season outright. I think that I want LSU to beat Kentucky so that we have another game cushion with them. Thinking it’s easier to beat LSU 1-time than it is to sweep Kentucky.

          You bring up a good point on the NET for seeds. But, if LSU beats Kentucky, both are almost assured of remaining Quad1.

          And lastly, I just hate Calipari and Kentucky so I’d almost rather see them lose – even if it doesn’t help us.

          • Yeah, I think that last point may override everything else. 🙂

          • Joel and I had roughly this same convo last week.

            I’m of the same mind as you. Even the optimist in me thinks it will be really hard to do better than 2-1 in the @UK, @LSU, UK stretch. In that scenario, I think it’s most likely we split UK and knock off LSU; given that, I’d rather LSU win tonight.

            Using BPI, ESPN currently sees us going 5.7-2.3 in the last 8 games, which feels like an appropriate benchmark. 6-2 probably wins the league while 5-3 might not depending on how the losses are allocated.

            If you’re forcing me to choose, I’d rather get a 1 seed than win the league. If you’re not forcing me to choose, I’ll take 18-0, winning the SECT, getting the #1 overall, and cutting down some nets in Minneapolis 🙂

  • If you read only one thing about the Vols today . . .

    . . . make it this, from SB Nation’s Bill Connelly:

    2019’s projected 130-team S&P+ rankings, from Bama to UTEP

    Okay, so this preliminary list has T […]

  • The Vols opened SEC play with a 46-point win over Georgia (that one still isn’t normal, no matter what Tom Crean says about his players). Things got tight in consecutive games around Tennessee’s number one […]

  • In contrast to football, where scarcity rules the day, college basketball has multiple hundreds of teams in action twice each week. You can rely on the network promos to help you decide what to give your […]

    • Do we want UK and LSU to win? I’m all for SOS, but I’m also all for having some cushion to win the league.

      I was cheering for Mississippi State on Wednesday, but they couldn’t get it done, letting LSU escape in OT. LSU has now won 3 league games in OT and lost by 1 to Arkansas last weekend. They could just as easily be 5-4 as 9-0.

      UK seems to have put the pieces together. That’ll be a real tough game next Saturday in Rupp.

      • I don’t really know how it’s all going to shake out, of course, but I’m all for racking up as many Quadrant 1 wins as possible, and you can’t do that without Q1 opponents. I don’t know that they’d fall out of that tier regardless, but I’d just want to make sure. And winning the league is nice, but my thinking is that because this is a tournament sport, positioning for favorable placement matters more. Just my thoughts on it.

      • I will always root against Kentucky, even when we are on the bubble and theoretically want them to win for SOS. I just can’t help it.

  • On Saturday (12:30 PM ET, CBS), the NCAA selection committee will reveal its current Top 16 seeds. It’s the third year they’ve done so in early February, and the second time the Vols will appear in it. And while […]

    • It’s unwise to make sweeping declarations with 10+ games left for all parties, but I get the sense right now the Vols are viewed as being a step behind UVA and Duke.

      Part of it is probably the schedule (Florida’s slide means we haven’t played a KenPom top-35 team since Gonzaga, though that’s about to change 5 times over), part of it is metrics (43rd in AdjD while Duke and UVA are top 5 on both sides of the ball), and part of it is perception (Duke is Duke and UVA is about to get their 4th 1 seed in the last 6 years).

      Given your point about the current makeup of the top 8, though, I’m not sure it really matters outside of location? If we end up the top seed, yeah we’ll get Columbia and Louisville, but they’ll probably try to avoid Gonzaga and UK in our region and will need UNC to stay away from Duke and UVA. That will be true at the 3rd #1 seed, too.

      • They have to keep us and Kentucky separate. From the official rules:

        Each of the first four teams selected from a conference shall be placed in different regions if they are seeded on the first four lines.

        Teams from the same conference shall not meet prior to the regional final if they played each other three or more times during the regular season and conference tournament.

        Teams from the same conference shall not meet prior to the regional semifinals if they played each other twice during the regular season and conference tournament.

        Teams from the same conference may play each other as early as the second round if they played no more than once during the regular season and conference tournament.

        Any principle can be relaxed if two or more teams from the same conference are among the last four at-large seeded teams participating in the First Four.

        To recognize the demonstrated quality of such teams, the committee shall not place teams seeded on the first four lines at a potential “home-crowd disadvantage” in the first round.

        • So as long as Kentucky doesn’t dip below a four, they can’t put us in the same region. Same with Duke/UNC/UVA.

          • Got it.

            This is a lot more fun than watching Bracket Matrix to see whether we’re on the right or wrong side of the bubble today.

            Let’s make it an annual tradition!

  • Team rankings are exciting, but can also be deceiving. The better benchmark is SB Nation’s blue chip ratio: if you want to be in the national championship conversation, at least half of your signees need to be […]

    • It was a pretty nice cap today with Wright, To’oto’o and Solomon. Hopefully Pruitt can develop everyone and get good results on the field.

    • I know we can’t expect much better given the current (and recent) state of our program, particularly the on-field results last year, but my excitement over Pruitt pulling in the 11th best class in the country (according to ESPN rankings) is tempered by the fact that we are also ranked 6th in the SEC and 3rd in the East. This is a good class for a 5-7 team but we have a long way to go before we are making progress in the conference, or even in our own division. Hopefully this all-star staff can coach these guys up and surprise some people the next couple of years, leading to even better classes.

      • I agree with this, although I think Will is on to something here, namely that instead of comparing ourselves to others at this point, it’s good to see that we did better than our recent selves, at least when it comes to blue-chip ratio. We’re basically setting ourselves up for the answer to the question of whether and how much Pruitt can develop and manage players better than Jones.

        • You and Will are spot on: Pruitt vs. Jones in player development when the stars are the same and until we have a record on the field that allows us to realistically compare ourselves with Georgia and Bama. I’d also add “recognizing and using talent when he has it”. NFL Rookie of the Year vs back up RB at UT famously comes to mind. May the good Lord help us if Pruitt can’t do something better than Jones.

      • Some blue chip comparison context:
        Bama ratio=96% (That is disgusting)
        UGA ratio=83%
        UT= 57%

        Takeaway? We need to catch up, but hey LSU #5 in the country rank is based off a slightly worse blue chip ratio than ours!

      • It’s also maybe worth looking at the raw numbers. On the 247 Composite Tennessee (272) ended up closer to Texas A&M (285), the third team in the league, than South Carolina (249), the 8th team in the league and ranked right behind us. With that close a range, single players can have a big influence. If Tennessee had landed George Pickens, that would have put as at 281, good for fifth in the league and sixth in the country. Now I’m sure Pickens will be a great player, but I doubt his presence on a roster would be the difference between a 6-6 team and a national champion, say.

  • It’s not as much of a surprise as Tennessee closing the deal on Henry To’oto’o today, but it’s every single bit as welcome: The Vols have signed 5-star offensive lineman Darnell Wright.

    And with that, Tennessee […]

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