And now, the aftermath. The men’s basketball team, coming off of their biggest win of the year (and arguably in school history), have the balance of the SEC schedule to contend with in order to win the first outright SEC championship in 41 years. Let’s all be honest here, Tennessee will be favored to win the remainder of their games, and if they lose in the last four games, however realistic a possibility that may be, it would be considered a huge upset. The reality of the situation is that from here on out, Tennessee will be a favorite in every game they play and it will be interesting to see how the team reacts to being the king of the hill.Of course, the reason the BasketVols have found themselves in this enviable position is that they went on the road and defeated the then #1 team in the country in Memphis in a positively electric atmosphere at the FedEx Forum. As with any win, there are positives as well as negatives to be taken from the game. As for the negatives, the lack of a consistent half-court offense as well as mediocre shooting from the perimeter, but enough with negatives. Who likes negatives?
Positives include the ability to win in a hostile environment into front of people wearing bad Priscilla Presley masks (what’s that? that was actually Priscilla Presley? eww… I mean, hot!), the ability to adjust defense to stop the vaunted dribble drive motion offense, and the ability to put a game away from the free throw line. The last point might not seem like a big deal to an outsider, but followers of the Tennessee program realize that charity stripe shooting has been the fly in our ointment this season. It was refreshing to be able to see the players step up when it counted (perhaps they listened to Digger Phelps’ pep talk before the game while Calipari was busy hamming it up for the cameras on Gameday).
This win will hopefully help out come tournament time as every game turns into a “must win” type game, and having the experience of winning at Memphis should help with the team’s confidence in knowing that they’ve been to the big stage and have taken care of business.
So, up next is Vanderbilt, and the next step towards winning the SEC regular season Championship outright as well as hopefully the next step towards even bigger and better things.
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