Tag Archives: tennessee volunteers

An Afterthought On The Mark May Interview After The NCAA’s Decision On Ohio State’s Suspensions

Here is a quick afterthought on the comments made by ESPN’s Mark May about the Ohio State suspensions.

Mark May gets it wrong... again.

 

May appeared on ESPN on Christmas Eve to blast the NCAA for their handling of the situation and called the Big Ten and the Pac-10 the NCAA’s “sacred cows” because in his eyes they are always protected by the NCAA while the SEC is constantly harassed.

 

There are two ways that I can address this; 1. I can be very professional and offer a different take than May, or 2. I can be a complete jerk and curse May out. How about a combination of the two.

 

For May to say that the NCAA protects the Big Ten and the Pac-10 is the dumbest thing I’ve heard from his mouth (and there is a lot to choose from). Apparently he wasn’t paying attention to the USC sanctions which are hurting the football and basketball programs and have left them as crippled for more than what their two-year probation would indicate.

 

Yeah Ohio State got away clean virtually, but how about Auburn and Cam Newton? How can he be ruled ineligible for one day then eligible the next because there wasn’t any conclusive evidence to tie him to the pay for play scandal? What about the constant issues in recruiting violations and legal issues at Tennessee, and the constant spotting on police repots at Georgia under Mark Richt and Florida with Urban Mayer?

 

Why didn’t the NCAA make it mandatory for Jeremiah Masoli to sit out a year because A. he transferred from Oregon, and B. why didn’t they address his two arrests in six months that got him kicked out to begin with?

 

In reality the SEC gets away with many more violations than the Big Ten or Pac-10 do on a good day. May is just another example of the favoritism to one side that he is supposedly raging against. To blatantly ignore the reality of the NCAA’s ignorance in favor of pushing his own agenda is both infantile and ignorant of Mark May.

 

Viewers of ESPN know that May is a blowhard and says things with the intent of stirring the pot or coming off as a big shot, which he is not. May has garnered a reputation of being narrow-minded as well as a hater, which he shows off very well in his diatribe last Friday.

 

My advice for May is to get off of your high horse and look at the facts for what they are instead of choosing to ignore the truth to tell your version of it. Ignorance is bliss and Mark May seems to love basking in his.


UCONN’s 89th Straight Win Just As Meaningless As The Others

UCONN is now basketball's gold standard for winning, even if their competition was non-existent.

Congratulations to the UCONN Lady Huskies on winning their 89th game in a row with a 93-62 win over 20th ranked Florida State on tuesday night. It broke the UCLA men’s record of 88 straight between 1971-74 with the legendary John Wooden at the helm.

It was their 87th win by more than 10 points in another contest against a team that wasn’t nearly as talented as Geno Auriemma’s squad. It was another dominant performance by a dominant program that has ruled their sport like no other team. Now for the bad news.

For all of ESPN’s coverage of the big event, it’s stress of how important it is and where it ranks in the annals of sports history, it’s really about as much of a big deal as UCONN’s next opponent.

This isn’t a sexist rant about how a women’s team can’t be compared to a men’s team or how it’s a shame that a woman’s team is taking a men’s record, it’s about the fact that the UCONN women’s record isn’t that big of a deal because of the state of women’s basketball is dull and lame.

It’s a sport with one player. Tennessee isn’t the powerhouse it once was, LSU has taken a step back since Pokey Chapman left, Baylor is a one woman show with Britney Griner and Louisville, Texas, Maryland, Duke, Stanford and North Carolina all are having off years.

UCONN doesn’t get the players, it gets every player. Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Tina Charles and Maya Moore are just a few of the seemingly hundreds of immensely talented women to walk the doors at Storrs. While Geno isn’t exactly crying about it it’s put all of the focus in one place.

The women’s game isn’t nearly as fun because there is no parody. There’s no possible sleepers, no underdogs, no great small school story. There’s no Davidson’s, no Butler’s, no Stephen Curry’s, no other reason to watch any other game that doesn’t feature UCONN.

Back when the Huskies and Tennessee were knee deep in a rivalry that was worthy of being mentioned with Duke-UNC, there were reasons to turn on ESPN and watch. Then there was the eventual rising of the three headed ACC monster which led to a great national title game in Boston. However, when Auriemma inexplicably ended the yearly feud with the Vols (thanks to a real feud with legendary Pat Summit) it immediately dropped the relevance of the sport.

Since then it’s been all UCONN all the time with no one to stop them or say anything about it.

For the last three or four years there’s been no reason to turn on a woman’s game because you already know the end result of the season. The regular season, conference tourneys and even the big dance are all pointless when you see UCONN on ESPN2 on Monday nights steamrolling the so called competition. Whether you’re ranked 2,3,4,5 or whatever, Duke, Oklahoma, Baylor, Stanford it doesn’t matter. It’s a loss and it’s big and it’s a waste of two hours.

In order for the game to matter the games need to matter. Parody needs to be in place for records,like the one that was just broken to matter.

The reason why the Patriots undefeated run was so great wasn’t that they blasted every opponent, it was the games like the Colts game, the Ravens game on Monday night that caused such a stir, the Eagles game that raised questions about the Pats and the Giants game for the record (and the other Giants game too, hehehe. Sorry had to rub that one in). They were all tough games that stirred out interest because even though they weren’t equal to the Pats there was that small chance that they could beat them and it almost happened.

That’s not there for UCONN. except for the Baylor game in November no game has been interesting enough for me or anyone to watch. They’re just scoreline games to watch and laugh at the ridiculous score while I watch the Rangers or Knicks.

Don’t get it twisted, winning 89 games in a row is hard for anyone to do. Anythings can happen in any scenario to anyone to cause a loss (ask the Giants). However, as great a feat a this is it would be better if the game was better.

When UCLA reeled off it’s 88 game Picasso it beat great teams like Memphis, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan and Louisville. It won it’s games by 9.5 points a game. It grinded out wins and blew teams away. That’s why the 88 game winning streak was so impressive and still stands in the men’s game today.

UCONN does deserve the record, they won their games and won them with emphasis. The record books will change and the Lady Huskies will sit on top of the mountain. However, they ain’t UCLA. Geno ain’t the wizard, Maya Moore ain’t Bill Walton and the Huskies didn’t didn’t face nearly as good of competition relevant to their game. If they did then the record-breaking performance should be trumpeted as one of the best ever. Instead all I did was peak at the score and finish watching the Washington Capitals break their losing streak. Sad, but true.


The Valiant Vols

January 1, 2010 was supposed to be the end of the Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball program. In one day a team considered by many to contend for the SEC title was left shorthanded thanks to poor judgment by Brian Williams, Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum and the team’s best player Tyler Smith. Smith was removed from the team, Goins is still suspended, and Williams and Tatum were eventually reinstated. The Vols were toast. They had only 6 scholarship players and to walk-ons to get through the rest of the year before the return of Williams and Tatum. They had a tough SEC schedule, breakdowns on offense and very little identity as a team. Yet here they are 3 months later on the cusp of their first final four in school history.

After a long hard season, Tennessee is one game away from the final four.

After beating Ohio State 76-73 the Volunteers are a win over Michigan State away from playing for the games most coveted prize, the national championship. It’s amazing to consider what this team has been through over the last 3 months to think that they would even be remotely close to playing for a title.

Props of course goes to Bruce Pearl for pulling this thing together. He could’ve folded up his tent and started prepping for next year using the lack of talent on his team as an excuse. Instead, Pearl dug in and produced one of the best coaching jobs in recent memory.

After the arrests, Pearl led his shorthanded team to wins over top ranked Kansas, Kentucky, and Florida leaning heavily on seniors Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince and getting consistent production from Scotty Hopson and Bobby Maze who was forced into the starting point guard role after Smith’s dismissal. He received help from walk-on Skylar Mcbee, whose clutch shooting helped to sink Kansas.

It’s Chism who deserves most of the credit for finally jumping out of other players’ shadows and accepting the responsibility for carrying Tennessee in the second half of the season. Looking at his performance against Ohio State you saw Chism at his best, which was rarely a sight in his first three years in Knoxville. His wide bodied, athletic frame dominated Dallas Lauderdale to the tune of 22 and 11 and helped the Vols score 46 points in the paint including a tip-in by Brian Williams which was the eventual game winning shot. Chism’s play in the paint overshadowed another amazing performance by Evan Turner who likely played his last game in scarlet and grey.

Then there was Prince, who was the most tired man on the floor chasing around Evan Turner and disrupting Jon Diebler all game long. After the game he admitted to being heavily fatigued and dedicated most of his time to defending Turner. “I said on offense, ‘They’ll take care of it; I’ll save it all for defense,'” Prince said. “That’s all I did. I knew that last two minutes I was going to make them work no matter what. I know nobody wanted it more than I did.” After he blocked Turner’s last second prayer, you could say his dedication to defense was worth the price of being tired.

If it ends Sunday, it still was a great ride for Tennessee, but how can this team not win one more game and advance to the final four. Now that all of the mid-majors have been ousted, it is clear to see the Tennessee is the true Cinderella of the tournament. Left for dead in January, grinding hard to a title in March, how can you not root for these guys? Whatever happens, Bruce Pearl will be ready no matter the circumstance. He survived and conquered this far with a slim roster and a ton of skeptics, what makes you think he won’t do it one more time?