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Posted: Thursday, January 19th, 2017, 1:20 AM
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Sorry for missing my show yesterday. Been dragging crud around for days and did Smartway/Garza Law Firm Tennessee Basketball Overtime after that UT/Ole Miss classic. Oh, and it was a classic. I've been soft on UT hoops thus far this season on this blog and on the show thus far because I appreciate how hard they play most nights. That said, Tuesday night at Oxford, MS was disgraceful. That was an all time horrible loss.

My message thus far on the Rick Barnes era has been (and continues to be) that this is about players. Barnes seems like a nice enough feller, but he's in little danger of placing the Vols in the upper division anytime soon. Juxtapose him with Ben Howland who took over Miss State on March 24th, 2015. Rick Barnes got the UT job March 31st, 2015.

State flushed Rick Ray after at 13-19 (6-12 SEC) record in his 3rd season.

You could make the case that Rick Barnes inherited a better team than Howland. You can't make the case the Tennessee is better than State right now. What sickens me about UT sports these days is that there's a whole lot going through the motions on the once proud Hill.

It took Bama 8 hours to find an AD, its taken Tennessee over 8 months. No offense, but I wouldn't want that search committee's help in finding my drive when it inevitably ends up in the rough on #3. Those people couldn't find an extra chin on my face after Christmas.

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This place is a laughing stock. I'm glad Rick Barnes is making buddies on UT's campus, but he needs to upgrade his roster. I hear Barnes is already chewing on Phillip Fulmer's ear should he be appointed. It would be really nice if Barnes (who's been behind the scenes campaigning for John Gilbert), put a modicum of effort in on the recruiting trail. I guess my point is that Barnes seems really concerned about the political tea leaves. Hey, Rick. Get some players and win some games.

Barnes was telling folks on UT's campus that the league is soft and that he could win in this league without going for high profile players. 1 and 1/2 seasons in, this doesn't seem to be the case.

Now, in all fairness to Barnes, John Fulkerson on this year's team could've meant perhaps a couple of more wins. Maybe.

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Miss State rolls into TBA Saturday as a very improved basketball team. State lost at home 88-81 to Kentucky Tuesday night in a street fight. State is 12-5 overall, 3-2 in the league with a 2-0 mark on the road. A closer look at their schedule will show you that they've had a softer schedule than Tennessee. Link

While Rick Barnes signed a decent base class with the Vols, Ben Howland got out there and beat the bushes. I'll say it. His staff outworked UT on the recruiting trail. State committed 6 top 100 players in Howland's first full recruiting class there. Link

You can't tell me that Miss State has better hoops facilities than Tennessee. Nor will you convince me that Starkville is a better place to play college hoops with better fans than Knoxville. Rick Barnes and Ben Howland are both HOF level coaches. Both guys have been wildly successful on the big stage. One guy has really busted his hump on the recruiting trail while the other is getting lapped not only by Miss State but the rest of the SEC. How can I say that? Because the #’s say that.

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Look at this Rival top 150 from this present class. Link

These are players that will debut next year. Scroll through here and find the # of top 150 players that Miss State has landed. I counted 2. For Tennessee I counted 0. That's just not acceptable. If Butch Jones recruited this way, we would be up in arms and we should be. This is really sad.

I wasn't kicking up dust on Rick Barnes in the off-season just to do it. We need players here!!! We need size!

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Rivals Top 150 By School (2017 Class):

Bama: #7, #28, #71, #89 UK: #11, #16, #21, #23, #32 Miss State: #27, 132 Auburn, #40, #56 Tex A&M: #41, #125, #131 Georgia: #48 Mizzou: #98 Ole Miss: #106, #113 Vandy: #120, #130, #147 LSU: #124, #137 Florida #133, #144 South Carolina: #138 Arkansas: #146

The SEC has 29 Commitments from Rivals Top 150 Players. This is spread out over 13 teams. Only ONE SEC TEAM DOESN'T HAVE A TOP 150 PLAYER. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE....

I'm appealing to you, Coach Fulmer, John Gilbert, and anybody else falling under the charms of this guy. EVERYBODY else in this league is attempting to recruit and UT isn't. Sorry, but it's true. It's okay to grab some glue guys, but the proof is in the pudding. The pictures from Oxford didn't lie.

Tomorrow at, Orange Throat brings the heat on Donna Thomas and the UT Selection committee, Rick Barnes and the whole mess.

Tennessee plays Miss State twice this year. Maybe the Vols get it done Saturday night. Maybe. But they won't beat them twice. And if Tennessee does beat Miss State twice it will almost be luck.

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We near the end of an eventful week in college basketball. Conference races across the county are taking shape.

1. Tennessee squandered a great opportunity at Ole Miss with a lack of defensive intensity. The level of effort in the final 15 minutes was totally unacceptable.

2. While frustrated, I do keep reminding myself how young a roster Tennessee has right now. One need look no further than the Minnesota Timberwolves to see the importance of experience in sports.

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3. The search for an athletic director has become a pox on the University of Tennessee house. The total lack of focus and purpose is staggering.

4. He never seems to get much credit, but Andy Kennedy has done a fine job at Ole Miss. Kennedy is averaging more than 20 wins a year at a school where hoops are purely an afterthought.

5. South Carolina imposed their will upon Florida and won a slugfest. The Gamecocks continue to show an exceptional level of physical and mental toughness.

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6. It is fantastic that Tim Raines is going into the Hall of Fame. It is criminal that it took 10 years.

7. Anyone who voted for Jeff Bagwell and snubbed Barry Bonds is a joke. I'll leave it to people's individual observations why one got the benefit of the doubt and one didn't.

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8. Richmond gets a chance to validate their spot atop the Atlantic 10 at Dayton. The Flyers will try to drag the Spiders back to the pack.

9. Arizona begins their huge Los Angeles trip at the Galen Center. That gives USC a shot at the kind of impressive resume piece the Trojans currently don't possess.

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Sapphire is Knoxville's premier nightspot. Keep your eyes on this space for some exciting news regarding some additions to the fun.

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Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken is a southern tradition. Stop in for a true regional treat.

2017 looks like a banner year for the Blankenship Field renovation project. Go to to donate.


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How did we get to this point? Again, our search committee has been unleashed. I sure hope they do better with this National search than some of the other ones in recent years.

Since outsourcing seems to be in season at UT, why don't we outsource this AD search to Bama? We could pay them what we a search firm. What's the chance they would come back with a better list than the one our band of geniuses (Peyton Manning not included)?

The guys in that room minus Manning are the architects of the Derek Dooley hire. One of them is architect of the ill-fated UT Men’s HOF. One of geniuses is trying to determine if there’s somebody in the cricket world that could translate to American sports.

It's time to get it right at UT. It's time to get back to winning.


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