After beating Florida 89-86 on Wednesday night, Bruce Pearl said it best when he reminded everyone that we are champions and fans should take the time to enjoy and appreciate what this Tennessee basketball team has accomplished. After all, these ‘outright’ championships don’t come around often. It’s been 41 years since the last one and you can never count on the next one coming any time soon.
No matter what happens from here on out, the accomplishments are many. In addition to the SEC crown, the Vols set a school record with their 27th win. I’m not sure how many could have imagined a 27-3 record heading into the final regular season contest. I truly believe a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament is a likelihood at this point.
As for the game, I wasn’t surprised that the Gators sprinted out to a blazing hot start and a 16 point lead, hitting on their first nine shots from the floor. It was very similar to how the game played earlier this year in Knoxville. It turned out that the ending was similar also: a Tennessee comeback. What continues to amaze me is the toughness, both mental and physical, this team continues to exhibit. I love the way they fight and battle, the way they just refuse to lose.
The victory over the Gators was a complete team effort. JaJuan Smith was deservedly the player of the game with 23 points, including eight straight that propelled Tennessee from down one to a seven point lead. Tyler Smith, as has become the norm, was a warrior all night. His rebound and basket with 44 seconds left, after JaJuan missed two foul shots, couldn’t have been bigger. Wayne Chism battled inside all game and hit two pressure free throws with 18 seconds to go. Jordan Howell had zero turnovers and five big points in 18 minutes. Chris Lofton chipped in 21 points, hitting some really difficult shots with a hand in his face, as has become his trademark. J.P. Prince only played 15 minutes before finding himself in foul trouble but he manged to score 10 points during that span.
What a great win and a great season! The 2007-2008 Tennessee basketball Vols are champions. I hope everyone will make it to TBA on Sunday for senior day and to watch the final home game for this special group of players.
Be sure to check out our Vols Forum where you can review the 1300 post Official Game Thread or celebrate with other VolNation members in the Official SEC Champs Thread.
2 thoughts on “Vols are SEC Champions!”
How does the recruiting class for next year look?
You can find a list of current commits at the bottom of the home page at http://www.volnation.com. The 2008 class includes Philip Jurick, Renaldo Woolridge and Daniel West. I think it’s a very reputable group which includes a much needed true point guard (West).
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