Aug. 31, 2010
Tennessee's 2010-11 basketball schedule features numerous noteworthy storylines in non-conference play. Here are just a few to ponder, as the Vols' first exhibition game is just 64 days away.
Monday, Nov. 8
Exhibition vs. Indianapolis - The Greyhounds are coached by Stan Gouard (pronounced: jerr-ARD), who starred as a collegian for sixth-year UT head coach Bruce Pearl at Southern Indiana. Pearl and Gouard teamed to lead USI to a national championship in 1995 and a pair of Great Lakes Valley titles.
During his playing days at Southern Indiana, Gouard helped the Eagles to an 82-12 overall record and was twice named the NABC Division II National Player of the Year. He also was recognized as the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Most Outstanding Player and the CBS/Chevrolet MVP of the national championship game in 1994.
Entering his third season at UIndy, Gouard brought his first Indianapolis squad to Knoxville for an exhibition game on Nov. 3, 2008, when Pearl led Tennessee to an 87-73 victory over his former pupil.
Friday, Nov. 12
Chattanooga - Tennessee's regular-season opener could mark a homecoming of sorts for a pair of Mocs student-athletes. Sophomore forwards Drew Baker (Karns HS) and Sam Watson (Farragut HS) are Knoxville natives.
Houston Fancher, Tennessee's coordinator of video scouting, regularly faced Chattanooga head coach John Shulman in Southern Conference action when Fancher was the head coach at Appalachian State.
Tennessee's crowds for home-openers have been impressive during Bruce Pearl's five previous seasons on Rocky Top. The Vols draw an average of 20,144 fans in home-openers during the Pearl era. Will you be there this season?
Tuesday, Nov. 16 (and Thursday, Dec. 23)
Belmont - Due to an odd scheduling happenstance with the NIT Season Tip-Off, Tennessee faces in-state foe Belmont twice during the regular season. The Bruins are led by veteran head coach Rick Byrd, who is a two-time graduate of the University of Tennessee (1976 and 1977) and a Knoxville native. Byrd--who once served as a student assistant coach at UT under the legendary Ray Mears--recently guided Belmont to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and a share of three Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season titles in the past five years.
Belmont's roster includes redshirt freshman forward Blake Jenkins, who is the son of former Vols letterman Fred Jenkins (1984-87). Blake is a graduate of Knoxville's Bearden High School, and Fred is fifth on Tennessee's career steals list (177) and remains the only player ever to lead the Vols in steals for four straight seasons.
Wednesday, Nov. 24
Potential NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinal Matchup vs. Wake Forest - Holding down the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, Tennessee and Wake Forest could potentially meet up in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals in New York City's Madison Square Garden just prior to Thanksgiving. The Volunteers lead the all-time series with the Demon Deacons 7-2, dating to 1947. But UT is just 1-2 against Wake Forest away from Knoxville. The programs have not met since Dec. 8, 1970, when the Vols posted a 60-59 win in Winston-Salem.
Tuesday, Nov. 30
Middle Tennessee - Tennessee's new coordinator of video scouting, Houston Fancher, is a 1988 graduate of Middle Tennessee. Fancher is hoping the Vols can extend their streak of eight consecutive wins over the Blue Raiders, which stretches back to Dec. 5, 1991.
Another Knoxville native will return home as part of the Middle Tennessee roster, as sophomore guard and Fulton High School graduate James Gallman makes an appearance in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Saturday, Dec. 11
at Pittsburgh - This contest will be played in the brand new CONSOL Energy Center, which serves as the home of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. An Aug. 18 Paul McCartney concert served as the venue's Grand Opening event. The facility seats 19,000 for basketball games.
When the Vols and Panthers tipoff against each other for the first time since 1999 (UT leads the all-time series 3-1), it will mark a meeting of two of the winningest active NCAA Division I head coaches. Eighth-year Pitt coach Jamie Dixon's .777 (188-54) career winning percentage ranks third among Division I coaches with at least five years of experience, while Pearl's .773 (443-130) winning percentage ranks fourth. And each coach has led his current school to three NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances.
Tuesday, Dec. 14
Oakland - Oakland University, a member of the Summit League, is located just 30 miles from Detroit, Mich., where Tennessee associate head coach Tony Jones grew up and got his start in coaching. Jones was an All-City performer at Detroit Southwestern High School before serving as assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach there from 1986-91. During that time, he coached future NBA players Jalen Rose, Howard Eisley and Voshon Lenard. Jones helped lead Southwestern to the USA Today national title in 1991 and also guided Team AAU Michigan to a pair of state titles.
Tuesday, Dec. 21
Southern California - Former Tennessee head coach Kevin O'Neill makes his return to Thompson-Boling Arena in his second year coaching the USC Trojans. O'Neill coached at UT from 1994-97, compiling a 36-47 (.434) record and leading the Vols to an NIT appearance in 1996. The last time a former Tennessee head coach brought his new team to Knoxville to face the Vols on the hardwood, Don DeVoe's Florida squad was handed a 75-57 loss (Feb. 17, 1990).
This season, the Vols look to avenge a loss at Southern Cal's Galen Center last December. The Vols lead the all-time series with the Trojans 4-2.
Wednesday, Jan. 5
Memphis - Tennessee looks to end a streak of three straight games in this series in which the road team has emerged victorious. The Vols claimed victories in FedEx Forum during the 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons, while the Tigers escaped Knoxville with a two-point win in 2008-09.
The Vols lead the all-time series with Memphis 13-8, dating to 1969.
Saturday, Jan. 22
UConn - Bruce Pearl and UConn head coach Jim Calhoun share more in common than simply ranking among the most successful coaches in college basketball--both are also Massachusetts natives. Pearl hails from the town of Sharon, while Calhoun was raised in Braintree. Just 15 miles separate the two towns.
Pearl and Calhoun also share the elite distinction of being among only six active coaches with 10 or more NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances to their credit.
Tennessee defeated UConn in the programs' only previous meeting on the hardwood, posting a 65-51 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2000, in Birmingham, Ala.