BaseVols dominate, is Pearl the best for UT basketball?

Vols 17, Xavier 1

Yesterday was such a beautiful day to enjoy the Vols dominating Xavier in a season opening series sweep of the Musketeers. Last year the Musketeers did not lose 3 in a row for the whole season and most of that talent returned this year. The Vols defense was great again and because of some quick thinking they kept Xavier off the scoreboard except for the out of the park home run. The Vols offense appeared to be extremely good as well, although the pitching from Xavier was not that impressive.

Please remember to click the link below to read the full post. This is like this on several posts.

Sophomore Charlie Thurber hit a pinch hit grand slam, first for a vol since 2003, in the 5th inning to cap off an 8 run inning in which Xavier walked 4 consecutive Vols across home plate. Thurber also had an RBI and was 2-2 w/ 4 RBI’s on the season. PJ Polk continued to show up, with his insane average of .750  on the season, hitting his 3rd consecutive 3 hit game and added an RBI as well as stole a base. The offense had 17 runs on 13 hits. The Vols bullpen again seemed almost flawless in 4 innings of one hit ball.

On the season the so far the Vols have 40 total runs, their highest total since mid-season 2005 vs Radford. 2005 was also the last time the Vols made it to the College World Series. Up next for the Vols is Oregon State at Oregon St. The Beavers are (2-1) on the season with one more game in a four game visit to Hawaii. 10-6 and 7-3 were the winning scores and they lost 5-4. Oregon State is usually a great baseball team and hopefully we can catch them before they hit their stride.

Quotes about the game:

  • On the series sweep: “Xavier has a good program– they didn’t lose three in a row at all last season,” UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. “That was a great sweep for us. It’s important for our guys to learn how to play all three days. Some people think some of these games are automatic–but they aren’t at all. Look around the SEC this weekend and a lot of teams just won two of three. We have some young guys but we have some with a lot of experience, too. Sweeping this series definitely gives us a lot of confidence. Obviously just to get the sweep is outstanding. We played a great game all the way around.”
  • On the Oregon State series: “I think it will prepare us for SEC play because they’re a team that’s won two national championships in the last four years,” Raleigh said. “It’s good for us. I think this was good for us to open the weekend, too. I’m excited about (the Oregon State series) and look forward to the challenge. I think we’ll learn a lot about our team next week.”
  • PJ Polk on success this weekend: “I just took what the pitchers gave me. I didn’t try to do too much with the sliders or even the fastballs. Being opening weekend, I had to try to keep my excitement down & just do what I know I can do.”

1,732 Vol fans attended Sunday’s game. Hopefully as the weather starts warming up more and more people will go and see the Vols play as it really is a great experience especially for little kids who enjoy the sport.

Random Tidbits

  • Nashville’s Ensworth Highschool OL Antonio Richardson (6’6″ 310 lbs) is expected to attend JR Day this Saturday, Would be a huge early pick up but definitely important for the expected battle for his services against Alabama as the season progress. James Stone part 2 anyone?
  • Eric Berry has chosen Knoxville based Allegiant Athletic Agency to represent him for the NFL draft as well as other ventures. A3 negotiated the Albert Haynesworth record-breaking deal most recently.
  • Oregon’s 4th player in a month arrested. LB Alonso was arrested for a DUI. WR Holland was also kicked off the team for an explicative filled Facebook status after the arrest.

Basketball Team

  • Bobby Maze is 10 of 22 and 3 of 5 behind the arc since moving to 2 for some of the past two games. Hopson in turn has matched career high rebounding efforts from the 3 the past two games at 6 per game. Good Job by Bruce to find ways to get the players to start stepping up. Rotation has only been used around 8 minutes in past two games but it has helped to avoid slow starts.

  • Recruit Trae Golden (#55 in nation 6’1″ 190 lbs shooting guard) is averaging 30 points per game this season including 6 straight 40 pts + performances. In one game this season his team was down by 18th in the fourth when Trae went on a 30 pt spree to lead his team to victory. He has a close relationship with the two other vol commitments. Can’t wait for these guys to get on campus and move us up the ladder even further.

So who is better in your opinion Bruce Pearl or Ray Mears? Both Coaches used innovative marketing to revive a fan base, won a lot of games, and wear an orange blazer for our biggest rivals. Lets look at some facts:

Ray Mears coached for 15 years and compiled a 278-112 record (.713) during that time as well as winning 3 SEC titles. During his tenure the East and West divisions had not yet been created and there was not a conference tourney. Mears also took this team to 2 NCAA tourneys as well as 2 other tourneys but never once made it past the first round in those. He did make it to 1 NIT Quarterfinal and 1 NIT consolation final.

Bruce Pearl steps in as one of the top coaches in winning percentage (currently at .774). During his tenure at UT to date Bruce is 118-43 and has won an SEC regular season championship as well as 3 Eastern Division titles. He is the only coach to place above Kentucky for four consecutive years in conference standings. Bruce has taken the Vols to 4 consecutive NCAA tourneys and 2 sweet sixteen appearances.  He is only 49 and has some of his best talent coming in during the next two years.

Both these guys are amazing coaches and have done so much for this University. I think when it’s all said and done though that Bruce Pearl will be to Tennessee Basketball what General Robert Neyland is to Tennessee Football. He has at least 5-10 more years to coach before he would start slowing down one would think and I can foresee us making a couple of deep runs into the tourney during that time if not winning a championship. What do you think?


About Steven Harris

Steven Harris is a fifth year senior at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in sports journalism, this blog provides an outlet for Harris to share his thoughts on the state of the University of Tennessee's athletic department''s Volunteer teams. View all posts by Steven Harris

2 responses to “BaseVols dominate, is Pearl the best for UT basketball?

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