Today Coach Fox's HoopDawgs try to shake the massive, dry mouth, brain pounding hangover from the loss to Vanderbilt Wednesday night. They take on Pearl's Vols at 1pm in Knoxville. If you're frustrated by the play of the Dawgs recently, take a look at what's going on in creamsickle country.
What kind of team are we? Do we hang our hat on suffocating defense? Are we a run and gun team? Are we a grinded it out, half-court basketball team? What do we want from our offense, lots of post ups, good three point shooting, or driving to the basket? There is nothing that makes me say “Now that is Tennessee basketball!” We have nothing to go to when the going gets tough. We don’t even know who our go-to player is! The team is in disarray and has nothing to go back to. When Pearl’s team first struggled, they brought more urgency to the press and said “You may beat it, but this is what we do, and we aren’t going to back down.” This team has nothing like that. And that’s on the coach. At the beginning of each year, you sit your team down and say “We are going to X and we are going to do that every game. No matter what happens, that is what this team is about.” It’s not like with this team. When you have no identity, you panic in tough times. That’s why we struggle so much in late game situations. We have nothing to go to, and when that happens the players don’t trust what is called. It’s why we have seen so many different plays in the last few seconds of games. There is nothing consistent.In many ways that analysis resembles what's going on in Athens. Tennessee has plenty of talent, just as the Dawgs do. But focus is lacking, an identity is needed. Daunting task trying to steal a road win in Knoxville today. But hopefully Fox has had the guys' noses to the grindstone ever since the waning seconds drained from Vandy's last win.