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March Sadness
Posted: Tuesday, March 7th, 2006, 3:39 PM
by Beano
Okay Bruce. You’ve taken the remnants from last season’s 14-16 Tennessee Basketball team and transformed them into a 21-6, Eastern Division Champion, possible 3-seeded NCAA Tournament participant. You’ve reversed the SEC road game curse by winning in 6 of 8 conference opponent’s arenas. You’ve made a power forward out of Dane, a defender out of Chris, a shooter out of JaJuan, and a leader out of CJ. You’ve created a pedestrian nightmare out of once uninhabited TBA and awakened a comatose fan base. So what? Childs play. NOW it’s time to really test your mettle. Your final exam is can you transform the Tennessee basketball program into a post-season challenger? I wouldn’t blame you if you chose a less daunting task such as negotiating lasting peace in the Mid-East, finding a solution for world hunger, or implementing a successful vertical passing game for Phillip Fulmer.

I realize you’re a basketball historian coach but many of us have tried to maintain our sanity by burying our hideous post-season performance deep in our subconscious. At the risk of being committed I will bravely recoup my memories to caution you of the enormity of your challenge. I realize that you are a healer but prior to your arrival our physician of choice was Dr Kevorkian. Think I’m exaggerating? Then getcha-sum-uh-this:

-In arguably the greatest era of Tennessee Basketball the Ray Mears teams NEVER won an NCAA game. I realize that the format of the time deprived many of his deserving teams of the opportunity to participate but you would think we could have scratched out one win. One of the losses was to flippin VMI. I know, I know, Bernard King sat out with a broken thumb. Hells-bells we should have beaten VMI with Ernie and The Burger King.

-Two sweet-16 appearances in program history one of which came when the tournament field was 48 and a bye afforded us an opportunity to reach the region semis with a single win.

Want more recent history? Here are some R- (for ridiculous) Rated numbers for the last 20 seasons

-Nine seasons with no NIT or NCAA bids
-Six NIT appearances with a 2-6 overall mark and four one-and-done efforts
-Five NCAA appearances with a 3-5 overall mark and three one-and-done efforts
-Twenty SEC Tourney appearances with a 12-20 overall mark, TEN one-and-done efforts and ONLY once in the last twenty years have we survived beyond our second game.

Look up “futile” in the dictionary coach and you’ll see the Vols team picture. Don’t tell your team or the Tennessee fans that February is the shortest month of the year. We think there are only two weeks in March. Your mission if you choose to accept it is to change this disastrous post-season culture. This tape will self destruct in ten seconds. I hope and pray your March teams do not.

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Knoxville, TN
865.673.3444



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