Feb. 27, 2007
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "This was a very significant night because we added to the history of this arena. No Tennessee team has won more games at Thompson-Boling Arena than this bunch of Vols. Very few crowds have been larger than this, and with remodeling coming up, there will not be any crowds larger than tonight's attendance.
"Peyton Manning talked to the team before the game. Some do the talk, and some do the walk. Manning does it as an alumnus and supporter of UT. For him to attend this game is significant. He talked about this year, and said what he learned more than anything else is to trust his teammates to do the job. With the effort we have brought, we showed that kind of trust in this game.
"We are playing well after being dominated at Florida. Everybody on this team is growing up. Our team is fresh and hungry. Wayne Chism was getting in foul trouble, even though he played effectively while he was on the floor. His foul problems, however, caused us to rotate differently in the front line.
"Our defense was terrific. Jason Shay as our scout is now 3-1 against the Gators. We played a lot of team defense. Dane Bradshaw studies film, just like I do, and he reached out and got a big steal. Tonight was not goodbye, Dane, and thanks for the memories. It is not a time to reflect on anybody's career because we are not through yet. Joakim Noah is a 6-11 Bradshaw.
"Nine guys played, nine guys scored, and nine guys contributed. When Chris Lofton starts setting up plays with other players on our team, your opponent will lose some of his confidence. We have better depth than we have had. JaJuan Smith last year would have had to play 33 minutes; this year he played 25 minutes."
FLORIDA HEAD COACH BILLY DONOVAN: "I don't see team unity issues. I see guys maybe trying to do too much and not sharing the ball very well. I think we have guys trying to take too much upon themselves, trying to help the team and do too much. Tonight, you could see that by the number of our turnovers.
"We always have been a team that has had great ball movement and really played off each other very well. I do not think it is bad. I think it is just the competitiveness in all of those guys trying to do well and take it upon themselves too much.
"I do not understand why these other teams do not get credit. I do not understand why Tennessee does not get credit. They are an NCAA tournament team. Vanderbilt is an NCAA tournament team. These are good teams we are playing against. Our team has won so much - an SEC tournament championship, a SEC regular season championship, and a national championship. I think people are really being naïve if they do not think these teams are going to come out with great commitment and focus to want to win the game. Sometimes you have to look at the other team and give them a little credit. Hopefully, these things we are going through right now will make us better.
"I think our team is in a no-win situation right now. If we had won every game, the questions would have been: do you think a loss is good for this team, do you think you have won too many games, can they handle this, is it good to be playing your best basketball right now. And I think when you lose, the questions become: does this team have a problem, they are not playing very well, and why. It is a no-win situation because people want great drama."