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Thursday
Posted: Thursday, February 16th, 2017, 8:48 AM
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Senior Manuale Watkins threw up an absolute answered prayer with 29 seconds left as Arkansas picked up their 19th win of the season last night at South Carolina. Arkansas has won in Knoxville and Columbia on the season. The Hogs are now 8-8. They were down 14 in last night. They did lose at Mizzou and also somehow to Vandy. It looks like the SEC has their 4th team in the NCAA tournament. What does this mean for the Vols? I don't know but I don't see this league getting 5 teams. Do you?


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Bad Luck Barnes: Last year's Tennessee team was really playing some nice basketball before Kevin Punter was injured. Last year's edition was bound for the post-season when Punter went down. Barnes and his staff did a really nice job with last year's team.



1911 Cumberland Ave
This year it's obvious that Robert Hubbs III isn't Robert Hubbs right now. It really stinks for him and the Vols. It's a shame because with a 100% healthy Hubbs Tennessee had the look of an NCAA Tournament team. Absent of a fully healthy Hubbs, Tennessee might be an NIT team. I'm not trying to overstate this but if Hubbs can't get healthy quickly, Tennessee is in a world of hurt. It's a terrible shame. For the second straight year, Rick Barnes and his staff have coached the hell out of these guys and they've responded but it's been a terrible luck situation. Really hate it for those kids and for this fan base. We deserve a break.



For The Rest of 2017, Anything Can Happen: I labored through Bama at Mizzou last night and am of the conclusion that Mizzou can win in Knoxville on Saturday. With 6 min to go in the 1st half last night, Bama had 8 points. I'm talking YMCA, CYO level basketball. I'm talking UConn Women's AAC competition bad. That was TOUGH to watch last night. Both teams combined for only 41 points at the half.....HORRIBLE.



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What Hot Seat: Had a spirited conversation on Edward Ashoff's ESPN.com article on coaches in the SEC on the hot seat. I'm of the opinion that that hot seat on Butch Jones appears warmer than it really is. Firstly Tennessee has seen annual incremental increase record wise. Plus Jones hasn't really made enemies. Outside of not winning the SEC East he's pretty much done everything else. Of course he could talk himself out of a job if he continues with the self pity stuff. My contention is that when UT hires Phillip Fulmer (and that's what it's looking like), he's going to be long suffering toward Jones as he was toward members of his own staff. Look, Phillip Fulmer let Pat Washington hang around 5 years too long back in the day as well as a multitude of coaches. I'm of the opinion that Phillip Fulmer won't have an itchy trigger finger with Jones.



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Fulmer or Blackburn? I'm not asking who you want as AD. I'm asking which guy would mean a longer tenure here for Butch Jones. I do think Blackburn would be very hands on with Butch as far as helping craft more palatable messages for the fan base. This is extraordinarily important in 2017. Look, only Bama is cutting nets down these days so for the rest of these guys it's about managing expectations and crafting messages.



All's Fair In Love and War: It's political season around here. Phillip Fulmer is on the full on stump. What's going to be really interesting is if and how much the forces against Fulmer dredge up his off-field record as a head coach from the glory days. Fair or not, there is a real entity called 'The Fulmer Cup' out there. Link



Would it be fair to use this stuff against him? I'm of the opinion that this stuff could make him a tough sell to Dr Davenport who's certainly got some leanings that would cause repulsion to this baggage.



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Never Over Here: While I've joked around on the air here that Fulmer is the current De Facto AD sitting next to the man in the PMS3 Orange Cowboy Hat, the truth is that anything can happen in this deal. What if Bev digs in her high heels? What if she says 'no Fulmer Cup on my watch.' I'll tell you this as well, David Blackburn still will have a chance before that committee to knock it out. I guess what I'm saying is that at UT you just never know.


The Tennessee River Would Flow Backwards Before: That moron John Currie got the AD job. Favorite John Currie greatest hit was the night Chris Low challenged him to a fight in the bowels of Memorial Gym in Nashville. C Low was ready to throw down!!! Yasss



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Tony,

Pro hoops is at its All Star break and college basketball is in the heart of its conference grind. Plenty for hardwood enthusiasts to choose from this weekend.

1. Tennessee did not respond well to adversity at Rupp Arena. The Vols were never really a factor in the game.

2. Kentucky is too offensively oriented to go all the way in March. John Calipari's best teams have been elite on the defensive end of the floor.


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3. Auburn's hopes of making the NCAA Tournament have been torpedoed by poor defense. The Tigers have been turnstiles in their last 60 minutes of basketball.

4. Florida has the look of the most well rounded team in the SEC. The Gators can play at any tempo.

5. Ed Cooley is doing a fantastic job again this season. He has put a remade roster in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid.


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6. Arkansas bounced back from a run of bad play with a huge win at South Carolina. That keeps the Razorbacks season alive.

7. North Carolina State is in total disarray. That's what they get for hiring Mark Gottfried.


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8. Duke appears to have regained their footing. Virginia, on the other hand, has been stagnant of late.

9. Every Arsenal season is a sequel to Groundhog's Day. Things never change.


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We will have some exciting news regarding the Blankenship Field renovation project in the coming weeks. Go to blankenshiplegacy.org to donate.

Keith
@rkeithhatfield










Tennessee Basketball > Kentucky Football. Yesterday in this space we shared that Kentucky now holds a 153-69 all time advantage over the Vols in hoops. Just for fun we looked up the all time UT/UK Football series. Tennessee is 79-24-9 all time versus the football Cats. So, while UT beats Kentucky 31% of the time in hoops Kentucky only beats UT 21% in football. I'm not sure if it makes you feel better but UT Basketball > Kentucky Football. Take that Cats!!



Draw Your Own Conclusions Here!!!! NFL Combine Participants: Big 12.....18 Players Michigan...14 Players Bama.......10 Players LSU........10 Players Clemson....9 Players Miami......9 Players A&M....... 9 Players Arkansas.. 8 Players Florida....8 Players FSU........8 Players Utah.......8 Players Oh State...8 Players USC........8 Players L-Ville....7 Players Wash.......7 Players UNC........7 Players Tennessee..6 Players Georgia....1 Players





My Conclusions: Ohio State must have a lot of young talent left for 2017. Yes. They do.

Brady Hoke did a nice job of building Michigan.

A&M gets less from more than anyone in this country.


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Kyle Whittingham would've been a nice hire here when David Blackburn encouraged our boosters not to hire Dooley but hire Whittingham. Look at Utah??? On par with the big boys!!!


Washington's Playoff appearance wasn't a fluke.



Tennessee missed a golden opportunity this year to get to Atlanta.


Georgia had one invitee!!! What can I say about that?




Terrible break for Florida. Hate seeing this happen to the best team in the SEC. Link



Final Thought: I don't have one today. How's that?


Tony




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