Monthly Archives: January 2015

Game Day: Tyndall hints at switching starters — again


Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall cycled his way through seven starting lineups in his first 10 games. Then, through the last four, it seemed he had settled on Josh Richardson (1), Kevin Punter (2), Devon Baulkman (3), Armani Moore (4) and Willie Carmichael (5). But UT’s worst offensive showing of the season, its 56-38 loss to Alabama on Saturday, might make Tyndall start tinkering again. A different starting lineup could be on display when UT (9-5, 1-1 SEC) hosts No. 19 Arkansas (13-2, 2-0) tonight (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.) tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena.

“We have alternated lineups all year and switched some things up,” Tyndall said Monday. “Outside of Josh and Armani, we really don’t have anyone that has just separated themselves from the pack. So, we are going to continue to test different lineups to see what works and doesn’t work.”

Tyndall specifically mentioned promoting sophomore guard Robert Hubbs and junior forward Derek Reese to starters. That means sophomore guard Kevin Punter and freshman forward Willie Carmichael would be out.

Punter, UT’s second-leading scorer at 10.2 ppg, shot 0-for-7 from the field and made two free throws against Alabama. The season-low came after he scored a game-high 15 points at Mississippi State.

Carmichael, who has started every game since the season-opener, is a combined 0-for-4 from the field in the last two games. He grabbed four rebounds against Mississippi State and two against Alabama. Both games brought foul trouble. He fouled out against the Bulldogs after 22 minutes. Four fouls limited him to 13 minutes against Alabama.

“Willie is a young guy who has to get better,” Tyndall said of the 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward.

The coach continued.

“Willie is starting on an SEC team as a freshman. There are not a lot of dudes out there getting to do that. With that comes expectations. He is a guy that, even though he probably isn’t quite ready to be playing the minutes he’s playing, that’s where we’re at. He stays in foul trouble for lack of discipline. He’s out of position. He leaves his feet. He doesn’t get the post fronted. Now, all of a sudden, instead of getting to play 22-24 minutes, he plays 12 or 14. And he’s constantly frustrated. Well, we are every bit as frustrated as he is, because we keep pointing out the same mistakes. But, that’s freshmen.”


“We didn’t play real well the other night. But I think, overall, we have a group of guys that believe in themselves and think they’re good players. I believe they’re good players. One game doesn’t make or break as season. I do believe this: If we are not on edge and we don’t have a sense of urgency, and we don’t play with detail against Arkansas, it can get ugly real quick.” — Tyndall

“I think he’s arguably one of the top six or eight players in our league.” — Tyndall on Arkansas guard Michael Qualls (15.8 ppg, 5.3 ppg)

“If we didn’t have Josh Richardson, we would score about 15 points per game.” — Tyndall

Numbers to Know:

2: Number of times Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall has taken down a ranked opponent. The first? Morehead State’s upset of Louisville in the NCAA tournament in 2011. The second? UT’s win over Butler earlier this season.

+4.9: Arkansas’ league-leading turnover margin.

25.3: Percentage of UT’s total points Josh Richardson has scored this season (226 out of 895). That’s second-highest among SEC players. Richardson is 35 points shy of becoming the 47th member of UT’s 1,000-pound club.

13: Number of UT players that have fouled out in 13 games this season.

4: The Razorbacks have won 4 of their last 6 regular-season SEC road games dating back to last season




AP Top 25: Ben Frederickson’s College Hoops Ballot


A weekly look at the ballot Tennessee men’s basketball beat writer Ben Frederickson submits to the Associated Press. Shifts from last week are listed after the team name. Disagree? Sound off to @Ben_Fred.

1) Kentucky
2) Virginia
3) Gonzaga
4) Villanova
5) Duke
6) Utah
7) Louisville
8) Wisconsin
9) Arizona
10) Notre Dame
11) VCU
12) Kansas
13) Maryland
14) Iowa State
15) North Carolina
16) Wichita State
17) West Virginia
18) Oklahoma
19) Arkansas
20) Baylor
21) Texas
22) Wyoming
23) Seton Hall
24) Michigan State
25) Northern Iowa

Just how low did Tennessee go?


The Tennessee basketball team lost to Alabama 56-38 on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

A brutal outing for the offense included a second-half scoring drought of 13:02 and a field goal drought of 14:07. UT scored 14 points after halftime and, at one point, missed 15 shots in a row.

It wasn’t that long ago ( at Virginia on Dec. 5, 2012) that the Vols totaled just 38 points. But such a slim total in a home game is rare. The Vols had never scored fewer than 46 points in Thompson-Boling Arena. They set an all-time low for points in a home game during the shot-clock era. The last time they scored fewer than 38 points in Knoxville? A bizarre, 11-6 win over Temple on December 15, 1973 at Stokely Athletic Center. Former coach Ray Mears encouraged his team to stall, and without a shot clock to force the action, the plan worked.

Only three major conference teams have failed to score fewer than 38 points so far this season, according to STATS LLC. None of those losses came at home. Rutgers lost to Virginia 45-26 on a neutral site. Colorado fell 56-33 at Wyoming. Auburn lost 53-35 to Tulsa on a neutral site.

Providence lost 58-38 at Kentucky, which means only Marquette can truly feel UT’s pain. The Golden Eagles dropped a home game to Wisconsin 49-38 on Dec. 6. Ironically, that loss was the first game Marquette played after beating UT 67-59 on Nov. 30 at the Orlando Classic.

Correction: It was Temple coach Don Casey, not Tennessee’s coach Ray Mears that initiated the stalling match in 1973. The Vols didn’t do much to force the action, though. Here’s a full recap, which includes the following description:

This was before the days of a shot clock. Casey’s idea was to force Tennessee to come out and try to retrieve the ball, opening up his best shooters to score. As time ensued, the crowd wondered how long this repetitiveness would continue. The fans’ demeanor quickly turned from disbelief to anger. They paid to see a competitive basketball game, not two guys passing a ball back and forth.

Despite the crowd’s constant ranting, Temple held the ball until the first half ended and exited the court to a barrage of boos. They trailed by only two points.

The second half opened with more of the same. By now, the crowd became much more vocal and hostile, tossing ice and trash onto the floor, causing game delays. Security was beefed up in the building, including positioning additional police officers behind the Temple bench. 

Mears, visibly agitated by the goings on, yelled several times at the Owls to start playing real basketball. Casey responded by challenging the Vols to come out of their zone and get them. The two coaches were in a stubborn stalemate with neither one giving in.  


Florida hoops commit KeVaugh Allen to visit Vols


KeVaughn Allen, a 2015 four-star guard from Little Rock, Ark., has an unofficial visit to Tennessee planned for this weekend, according to one of his AAU coaches.

Kahn Cotton of the Arkansas Soldierz AAU program confirmed to the News Sentinel on Wednesday that he and Allen plan to attend the Vols’ game against Alabama on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Jerry Meyer, 247Sports director of basketball scouting, first reported the visit. Meyer has switched his Crystall Ball prediction on Allen from Arkansas to UT. 247Sports considers Allen (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) the top player in Arkansas, the No. 14 shooting guard in his class and the No. 52 prospect overall.

His ESPN scouting report reads:

“Allen is a long, athletic scorer who does a great job attacking on the break. He has a smooth floater with excellent touch and body control to go along with his mid range pull up and ability to knock down open threes. Allen can defensive rebound and start the break as well. Allen is a decent ball handler that is very quick with the ball and he has a nice burst when he needs to get to his sweet spot on the court.”

Allen committed to Florida in April of 2014, but did not sign with the Gators during the early signing period. Cotton said the following teams are currently in the mix with the Vols include: Florida, Arkansas, Memphis, Oregon, California, Connecticut and Missouri.

“They’ve recruited him hard,” Cotton said of the Vols. “He (Allen) liked Tennessee when (former UT coach) Cuonzo (Martin) and that crew was there. Tennessee has been on him for quite a while. It was Cuonzo’s style that attracted him. What has attracted him with Donnie Tyndall’s style is the freedom that he gives his guards and their style of play.”

Cotton said Allen plans to play point guard in college, which also makes UT an attractive option.

“The opportunity to play the point is there, with Josh Richardson leaving,” he said. “We are not new to researching these schools. We know what areas most teams need. Point guard is a need for the University of Tennessee.”

AP Top 25: Ben Frederickson’s College Hoops Ballot


AP image

AP image

A weekly look at the ballot Tennessee men’s basketball beat writer Ben Frederickson submits to the Associated Press. Shifts from last week are listed after the team name. Disagree? Sound off to @Ben_Fred.

1) Kentucky
2) Duke
3) Virginia
4) Gonzaga
5) Wisconsin
6) Louisville
7) Arizona
8) Utah
9) Maryland
10) Villanova
11) Texas
12) Kansas
13) Notre Dame
14) Wichita State
15) West Virginia
16) Oklahoma
17) Seton Hall
18) Iowa State
19) North Carolina
20) Baylor
21) VCU
22) Ohio State
23) Colorado State
24) South Carolina
25) Old Dominion