Nov. 30, 2010
Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl
"I thought we made progress tonight. I thought we played pretty well as a team. I was concerned about Middle Tennessee State's ball-screen offense coming in because the players had to make a lot of decisions out there in coverage. It's not the kind of scout where you can say, `If we guard it this way, then we'll have success.' You've got to guard it every which way. I thought in the second half, we didn't communicate as well. We let them beat us to the middle of the floor way too often. They ran their offense much better and as a result scored 33 points instead of 23 points. They shot 10 percentage points higher and were 2-of-4 from 3. I thought they were patient and got a lot out of it.
"The boards were very, very important. That team is plus-9 on the boards and I thought we really did a nice job of rebounding the basketball.
"I played three centers today. Together, I think they combined for like 18 (points) and 16 (rebounds) or something like that. Brian (Williams), Kenny (Hall) and John (Fields) were all factors in there. They rebounded, John blocked shots, Brian scored. They did a pretty good job altogether.
"We turned it over too much. I thought many of our turnovers were just bad decisions about the way we take it, when to break it down. We forced it in some traffic situations and made some poor decisions. Then we were sloppy because 17 turnovers when you're scoring half the time, that could be maybe eight more baskets. When you're rebounding about half the shots - we had 16 offensive rebounds, they had 13 defensive rebounds - and getting half our misses, maybe we score more baskets. The turnovers, I was not pleased with that.
"I was pleased with the effort. The guys came back and were excited about playing tonight.
"We had a great practice on Sunday. We took Saturday off and practiced Sunday afternoon. I hate to practice on Sundays, but when you play Tuesday it's hard not to. They were really sharp. Then (Monday), we went again hard because I'm going to give them (Wednesday) off because it's a study day. But we were tired (Monday) because we went so hard on Sunday. We backed it off a little bit and I thought they came out with good energy. We've got a long way to go. We've got to get better.
"I'm only surprised because I saw us play not that well in early November. We improved a lot in the month of November. We probably improved as much as any team I've had in the month of November. So from that standpoint, was I surprised we played that well in New York? Yes. Was I surprised this victory was a 30-point win? Yes, because we made so much progress in November. Back in the middle of November, I don't know that I could have anticipated us playing this effectively or perhaps this well."
Middle Tennessee Head Coach Kermit Davis
"We just got totally out of character. We shot it on one pass and played really selfishly. I thought Tennessee moved the ball really well. They played hard, played like an unselfish team. In the second half, we played a little better, had better ball movement."
"I give Tennessee a lot of credit. They were really physical. We couldn't get anything around the goal. They blocked shots and intimidated us off the dribble."
On Tennessee's 3-pointers:
"When they start jumping up and making shots like that, they're as good as any team in the country."