all VOL, y'all.

Vols beat Auburn. The 3 Doors Down / Survivor Edition


I wrote a post about the men’s basketball team a while back which debated whether or not the glass was half empty or half full. It was after their convincing win over Vanderbilt in Nashville, two victories into what would be a six-game streak. I ultimately admitted I didn’t know what to make of the Vols, though I suspected that their next contest, the Kentucky game, would tell us a lot.

And it did. Which is why ever since Kentucky, I’ve been a glass-half-full kinda guy, though one who’d freely admit that “half-full” wouldn’t necessarily translate to a ticket to the big dance.

Winning out the regular season might have, though. But when the Vols fell flat in Athens and suffered what was only their second “bad loss” of the year (both to the Bulldogs), their dance chance hung by a mere thread.

Which is why I was so anxious for last night’s contest against Auburn (9-21, 3-14 SEC). To see how Tennessee (18-11, 10-7 SEC) would respond to their first dose of adversity since early February when they were a totally different and less established team, one that was just a game over 500 and far more concerned with winning records than bracketology.

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Which Vols?

Would we see a team that looked poised to put the finishing touches on a late-season tourney run? Or, perhaps a second consecutive top-flight NIT team?

While I vowed to withhold ultimate judgment till the final buzzer, I wound up seeing several different things last night. The first was a team which I thought would never trail – not once – as the Vols started hot, particularly from behind the arc, and quickly built a 9-point cushion against what looked to be an outmatched Auburn squad.

But boy was I wrong. Because in short order, I saw a team that made just five of 19 shots during one stretch where they, you know, couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn. (HEY! HO! Barn. Get it? Oh, never mind.)

I also saw a team that played horrible defense, a team whose most menacing player forgot how to shoot free throws, and a team whose bubble looked like it might just pop when it found itself down by three at the break.

Let’s see, what else did I see. OH, I know – a really funny tweet from Wes Rucker.

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So, yeah, I’ll play along here. It’s time for Tony to find a new Barbee, right? And maybe lose the soul chip while he’s at it. Though, to be fair, the bangs / soul chip combo he was sporting last night actually doesn’t look that bad on him. It just makes him look outta place. Like he should be at a 3 Doors Down concert or something.

Instead, he’s here without you, baby. But you’re still on his lonely mind.

Hmm, what else? To the Vols’ credit, I saw a team that battled back to regain the lead, but one that still trailed with under ten minutes to go. Then, finally, I saw a team that pulled away for good with a 14-2 run which was bookended by a pair of threes from Skylar McBee and Jordan McRae.

What else did I see? Mild interest (very mild) in a little game I threw out there in the Twitterverse once the real game seemed under control. Vol hoops / celebrity name mash-ups.

I started by dropping Ar-Kenny-O Hall and my friends over at @BBallTimeMag (great follow) chimed in with:

Which was obviously strong. In trying to counter, though, I’m afraid I jumped the shark with Trae(cey) Golden. She was in Growing Pains back in the day. Well, Tracey Gold was. Hell of an actress. Even so, the game kinda fizzled at that point because, well, it sucked. (Still, I see you over there, Bay-Lo. Don’t you worry. I ain’t fooled by the dimes that you drop. You’re still, you’re still, Branny with the rock.)

Anyway, know what I saw from Auburn? Fantastic play outta Frankie Sullivan on his Senior Night, who led all scorers with 24.

And who, it should be pointed out, shares the exact same name as guitar legend Frankie Sullivan who, as I’m sure you’re all well aware, was one of the founding members of epic band Survivor.


Frankie Sullivan / Frankie Sullivan (no relation)

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And I gotta tell you, when I first made the connection, it kinda scared me because of the whole Eye of the (Auburn) Tiger thing. Plus, I feared I’d jinxed the Vols with that stupid mash-up game I was playing.

But it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Because when the dust cleared, Tennessee won by a final count of 85-78. And I was reserving judgement till the end.

And the only Survivor I saw last night was UT. Because they were the ones who managed to survive Senior Night in Auburn.

If they do the same this Saturday in Tennessee? Who knows. They just might be dancing, yet.

No time to proof but just once — hope this wasn’t riddled with errors…

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photo source Vol_photos on Twitter — a great follow
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