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Wednesday
Posted: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017, 8:27 AM
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I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE days like this....The Vols are trying to play their way into the NCAA Tournament and they have a live dog in Knoxville tonight. This game is a serious contrast in styles that gives us a look see into why March basketball is so interesting. Somebody tonight is going to succeed in forcing the other team to play their game. The last time these two teams played, UT out Dored Vandy. Honestly, Bone shot the Dores down last month in Nashville. That's not going to happen again tonight. If Tennessee is successful tonight Grant Williams must be a focal point on offense. Also, energetic Hubbs III must be a real player tonight.



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Vandy is a different team than the last time Tennessee saw them. They've won 6-9 including a rather convincing win over fading South Carolina Saturday night in Nashville. Nolan Cressler, a second year transfer from Cornell, has found his footing and has emerged as quite an option on offense for Vandy. He had a stretch the other night where he scored 8 of Vandy's first 16 points in the SC game. Both of these teams have convinced themselves that they are playing for their NCAA Tournament lives. The Vols are right, Vandy is delusional. The spirit of George Cafego will be in that building tonight.



Chris Lee of Vandysports.com joined me on the show yesterday. "What Vandy has started doing is taking the ball to the hole. Nolan Cressler started this and the rest of the guys have followed suit. Cressler had 3 layups and a dunk and opened that game up for Vandy," Lee said.


'Tennessee whipped Vandy in Nashville. But will Bone show up like he did in this game?’, Lee said.



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Today's Vandy/UT Water Cooler Fact: Vandy is going for their 3rd straight win IN KNOXVILLE tonight. Has that ever happened? If it has, I can't find it. Brian Hartman reached out to UT Assistant AD/Hoops Media Relations Czar Tom Satkowiak on Twitter yesterday regarding this and heard nothing. We couldn't find a stretch where Vanderbilt won 3 straight in Knoxville. Can you imagine if that happens tonight?



Paging South Carolina: Don't look now, but the Gamecocks are making their own Life Alert commercial. After losing last night at Florida, South Carolina has dropped 5 of their last 6. They look gassed. Carolina isn't defending like they were last month. Everybody lately is getting 70 plus on them. Tennessee will have a real opportunity to throw a 20 win Carolina team on the bubble Saturday in Columbia. Who woulda thunk that?



The Ones We're Chasing In Bubble Trouble: Syracuse, Pitt, Wake, Georgia Tech, Bama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Cal, Kansas State, TCU, Texas Tech, Seton Hall, Providence, Marquette




A look under the hood proves that it's quite expensive to field teams in the SEC. This is why football is different. Scholarship athletes from coast to coast probably resent the attention given to their football brethren. If those athletes clicked on this link they would appreciate the imbalance that exists athletically as it pertains to finances.

Football made 55 million

Basketball made 2.3 million

Baseball made 1.55 million

Other men's sports (4) lost 1 million

Women's sports (10 sports) lost 17 million

Women's B Ball lost $4 Million

Baseball gets 11.7 scholarships and made $1.55 million. That's great stuff.


Here's the link



Hatfield's Nine
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Tony,

College basketball is inside the final two weeks of the regular season and the chaos of the NBA trade deadline is at hand. Should be an interesting next 48 hours.

1. Tennessee has an opportunity to capture a Top 50ish RPI win at home tonight against Vanderbilt. A win keeps the Vols squarely on the road to the postseason.

2. The "search" for an Athletic Director at Tennessee has, as things almost always do around here, turned into a back room political fight. Regardless of who ends up in the job, there will be fence mending to be done.


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3. Brad Brownell has to wonder what sort of atrocity he committed in a previous life. Clemson is totally snakebitten.

4. Georgia Tech did serious damage to their NCAA Tournament chances last night. Losing to a team that has already fired its coach is not optimal.

5. Louisville and North Carolina face off in a battle of titans. The winner adds an impressive piece to their Selection Sunday profile.


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6. USC could really use a win at Arizona on Thursday to add some weight to their resume. They probably aren't going to get it.

7. Putting Magic Johnson in charge screams of the desperation the Lakers are facing. They had better hire exceptional support staff.


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8. The amount of activity by the other teams in the Eastern Conference tells me some front offices see an injured Cleveland team as vulnerable. We'll find out soon enough if that is short sighted.

9. The idea of a Chicago-Minnesota trade centered around Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins is fascinating. I see that as a winner for both sides.


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Sapphire is Knoxville's premier nightspot. Stop in and enjoy one of their signature cocktails.


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Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken is a culinary treat. Stop by and see what the good folks in Memphis have known for years.

Let's push the Blankenship Field renovation project closer to its goal. Go to blankenshiplegacy.org to donate.

Keith
@rkeithhatfield










T Mail:
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'Tony,

I thought CBS's Jerry Palm (I think that was his name) made some excellent points. No question that every game is a must-win for the Vols going forward. However, he swings WAY OVER THE OTHER SIDE to the point of NOT recognizing the extraordinary season that this team has had. He said they were in competition with a many teams and listed them. But fully HALF (or more) of the teams that he mentioned owned a WORSE RPI than the Vols. And the Vols have the SECOND BEST strength of schedule in the nation. This was a team that was picked to finish THIRTEENTH in the SEC this year. NOBODY had them on their radar. NOBODY had Grant Williams on their radar. They have been a very good story, and there are still games left to play.

Mike, Nashville'




Mike: I agree with EVERYTHING you just wrote.....And as always thanks for being there and wonderful hearing from you.


But.....


It's not Jerry Palm's job to recognize extraordinary seasons. That's why I like him. The bottom line is probably going to be that the UTC/GA combo is going to cost UT a chance to get in unless they run the table. He doesn't care that they were picked 13th in this league....Nor should he.....


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And you're right...RPI/SOS is wonderful but I'm afraid we over-scheduled a little bit...

That's why it's great hearing from someone taking the emotion out of this....


All this said....I hope he's wrong or more to the point I hope UT can win 4 straight to close the season....

Again 'preciate you being there.

TB



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'TB:

You are on the money with the fact that Title IX becomes an issue again with a Fulmer hiring more so than Blackburn. People that don’t think so are just ignorant to the world today. I’ll give you exhibit A on why it will and how stupid it is that people can’t see it…his name is Peyton Manning. His incident had no business being part of that farce but somehow it led the discussion because internet media like nothing more than scandal involving a big name and damn the facts. So hire Fulmer and the Manning incident can return again with Fulmer’s handling of it or lack thereof. Isn’t it really ironic that we show a President and am AD the door in part because of a Title IX lawsuit that we will happily revive with the hiring of the new AD? Come on people, we cannot be that stupid to not learn from our mistakes or we get what we deserve. You can hire Fulmer but be prepared and on point to address this early and often and get out in front of it with positive PR or his AD lifespan will be short.

Frankie'



Frankie: That's a great point. The way they shamelessly brought Manning back into the fray is EXACTLY how these people think. There's no statute of limitations when it comes to getting in line for that grief $$$. I just don't understand the sudden candidacy of a guy who's not only barely qualified but would be a potential black eye with the Title IX crowd. It's so Tennessee that we're about to do this.




Thanks to John Adams for the shoutout in his latest column about the Fulmer/Blackburn debate idea. He called me shrill, but I'll live with it. I still say if you put that thing on pay per view it could be one of Video Seats' all time greatest events.


Final Thought: Great job by the audience yesterday on our topic yesterday…It was about a 50/50 split as far as my deal….Perhaps because the NIT really does mean Not In Tournament for the Vols in the past 30 years....Tennessee and the NIT don't get along very well....Since 1988 Tennessee is 3-8 in that event. They went 1-1 three times and 1 and done five times......UT’s NIT losses since 1988 include stalwarts MTSU 2x's....George Mason...Vandy....Virginia...Coll Charleston...Georgetown Oh and Mercer...



Go Vols...

Tony




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