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Rocky Top Talk Feb 1, 2016

Lady Vols Patch to be Worn by Women's Athletic Teams Next Year

The latest step in the ongoing saga of Tennessee's identity, a conversation that continues to involve those most affected far too little. Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced today that the university's women's athletic programs will wear a commemorative patch honoring the Lady Vol name in the 2016-17 athletic year, with support from Athletic Director Dave Hart.  The women's basketball team is the exception, as they have continued and will continue to use the Lady Vol name.  After next season it will be up to the individual female athletes to determine whether or not they want to...
Rocky Top Talk Feb 1, 2016

Tennessee Recruiting: 2016 Class Looks to Fill 2017 Needs

The present is packed, but the Vols will need help in three critical spots once this fall is over. Sixteen seniors dot Tennessee's official 2016 football roster, and we put ten of them in our first pass two deep.  You can also safely assume Derek Barnett, Jalen Hurd, and Alvin Kamara will be donning the orange just one more season before making their way to the early rounds of the NFL Draft. So with approximately 19 players to replace following what looks like a cycle up year for Tennessee, the 2016 class must fill a number of needs.  Tennessee won't need it immediately thanks to the...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 31, 2016

Tennessee Lady Vols vs. Alabama, 3 PM EST

Go do something else with your day. It's nice outside. TV: SEC Network / go outside instead if it's nice out Radio: listen to Mickey on your phone if you really want to Stats: this won't make you any happier We're into the Struggle Zone now. After dropping games at Lexington and Starkville-games that, had they occurred in a vacuum, might be excusable-€”Tennessee has now dropped four of their last five and five of their last seven. In a statement that we should never have to say, I'm not worried about them making the tournament just yet-€”the RPI of 13 helps a lot; it's a tough...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 30, 2016

TCU 75 Tennessee 63 - Everything About Why The Vols Struggle

The Horned Frogs broke a five game losing streak as the Vols followed a familiar script in the second half. One week ago Kevin Punter scored 36 points and the Vols beat #24 South Carolina in Knoxville.  It took the Vols back above .500 and, with Alabama and TCU coming up, made you believe this team could build some momentum and fight their way toward the NIT. One week later Tennessee has blown a pair of 14 point second half leads, and the Vols are below .500 and in a dangerous spot this season, especially with Kentucky coming next.  Today the specific culprit was three point shooting:  8...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 30, 2016

Tennessee Vols vs TCU Horned Frogs: game thread

A Vols' squad disappointed with its last outing travels to Texas to take on a struggling TCU team. Here's your game thread. The Tennessee Vols travel to Forth Worth Texas this afternoon at 2:00 ET to take on the TCU Horned Frogs as part in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Vols are 10-10 (3-5 in the SEC) and are coming off a disappointing game at Alabama on Tuesday, a game that they had in hand but lost at the end. But the Horned Frogs (9-11, 1-7 Big 12) are themselves on a five-game skid, including a 71-54 loss at Texas on Tuesday. Here's to hoping the Vols find their groove first. Go...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 29, 2016

Tennessee vs TCU Q&A

We check in with SB Nation's TCU blog on the eve of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. One of the best named blogs on the network is TCU's Frogs O' War, and Andrew Felts was good enough to trade questions and answers with us before Saturday's SEC/Big 12 match-up between the Vols and Horned Frogs in Fort Worth. 1. TCU has started 1-7 in Big 12 play and lost five straight, the last two by a combined 30 points.  Has there been a particular reason for the slide, or is it simply, "We play in the best conference in America?"  What will it take to break this losing streak against Tennessee? There is a...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 28, 2016

Lady Vols @ MSU, 9 PM Eastern

After losing three of the last four, a win is absolutely guaranteed tonight! TV/Stream: SECN / SECN+ Radio: If Mickey lands in Starkville and nobody is around to hear it, does he make a good grief? Numbers: Hail Stats! In disarray, having lost three of their last four, and with the hopes of a 1 seed now gone, tonight's win could very well help the team out of their funk. It's just a matter of which team gets the win.  Both Tennessee and MSU have lost three of four (UT having lost 4 of 6, but you get the point) and both are looking to turn things around tonight.  It'll happen for one of...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 28, 2016

Tennessee Recruiting: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Diminishing returns from Derek Dooley led to a steep rebuild, but getting the most from the top of each class has helped Butch Jones put the Vols in championship position. In October 2011 we did a story on the sudden downfall of Tennessee football.  Its title rings a little hollow more than four years later, but the facts remain damning:  Tennessee signed 31 four and five star players from 2007-2009, but only three became long-term starters. When we look back on Derek Dooley's recruiting efforts, we see a clear pattern of diminishing returns.  The 2010 class he shared responsibility with...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 26, 2016

Alabama 63 Tennessee 57: Vols Give It Away in Tuscaloosa

An ugly start and an even worse finish allowed Alabama to steal one in Tennessee's worst loss under Rick Barnes. Tennessee led 16-4 in the first half, then opened up a 48-33 lead with 14 minutes to go when Alabama elected to double team Kevin Punter at the top of the key and the Vols splashed five threes in less than four minutes with good ball movement.  The Crimson Tide, with a quiet crowd and a 1-5 start in SEC play, were on life support. And yet Tennessee let them come back, not once but twice.  A 14-0 Bama run came when the Vols missed their next 15 shots.  From the 14 minute mark...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 26, 2016

Tennessee Vols at Alabama Crimson Tide: game thread

The Vols head south to take on a rival tonight in Tuscaloosa. The Tennessee Volunteers look to leverage a bit of mojo they earned with a win over No. 24 South Carolina last week into a road victory over a tough Alabama tonight in Tuscaloosa. The Vols (10-9, 2-3 SEC) got a career game from senior guard Kevin Punter and an awesome 30-of-32 performance at the free throw line against the Gamecocks and hope for something as magical tonight against the Tide. Alabama is only 10-8 overall and 1-5 in the SEC, but they are 6-2 at home with their only losses coming at the hands of Kentucky and LSU....
Rocky Top Talk Jan 26, 2016

Tennessee vs Alabama Preview

Which team can dictate pace and whether the Vols' hot free throw shooting can travel to Tuscaloosa will go a long way to deciding this one. The current state of SEC basketball in two sentences:  before the Vols took down South Carolina on Saturday they had lost just one other game, a 23 point beat down in Tuscaloosa.  It is Alabama's only conference win. Texas A&M has become your clear leader early, 7-0 in league play and now seventh overall in KenPom.  Kentucky, Florida, and LSU are all next at 5-2, with South Carolina at 4-2.  And then it's a mess in the middle:  Georgia at 4-3, with...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 25, 2016

Tennessee Lady Volunteers vs. Kentucky Wildcats, 7 PM EST

Did you enjoy watching Tennessee lose on ESPN2 last week? Well, have I got the cure for what ails you! ...for certain definitions of cure. TV: ESPN2 / ESPN2 plus 1 Radio: Mickey's gonna toss his headset one of these days Stats: Do we have to? When we last left Tennessee, the Lady Volunteers were busy chucking rocks in the direction of Nashville's second basketball team; yeah, they won, but 58-49 is the definition of winning ugly. Now, they host Kentucky, 14-3 overall and 3-3 in conference with losses to South Carolina (fair), Ole Miss (uh), and Auburn (UHHH?). It should be noted the...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 24, 2016

Peyton Manning: One More Day

What a gift Peyton Manning continues to be for Tennessee fans. Thousands of words have appeared in this space about our quarterback, often in January at the end of something.  When there was a chance it was over in Indianapolis, he didn't owe us anything more.  When Denver was engulfed by Seattle's defense two seasons ago, we rose to his defense because that's what we do after a lifetime of Floridas and Woodsons.  And last year, when his middle-aging body gave out against the Colts in the playoffs and many in Denver's fan base wondered if it was time to move on, we wrote this: This is...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 23, 2016

Tennessee 78 South Carolina 69: Kevin Punter Scores Career High 36 to Beat 17-1 Gamecocks

The Vols used a scorching three point percentage in the second half and a steady hand at the free throw line to hand South Carolina its second loss, with Kevin Punter again leading the way. Insert your joke about snowy conditions outside and a red hot Kevin Punter inside. South Carolina was 17-1 and had done much of that work with defense.  After a free throw shooting contest left the Vols with a one point lead at halftime, I'm really not sure what the Gamecocks could have done differently in the second half.  Tennessee was 1 for 9 from the three point line in the first half.  Then they...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 23, 2016

Tennessee Vols vs. South Carolina Gamecocks: game thread

The Vols look to capitalize on a great opportunity against a good South Carolina team this afternoon. The Tennessee Vols host the 24th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks today at noon in Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee (9-9, 2-4 SEC) started the season on an 8-0 home winning streak only to drop its last two at home against Vanderbilt and Texas A&M and is looking for a resume win against the Gamecocks, who have earned an impressive 17-1 record (4-1 in the SEC). Due to the snowstorm, the school is urging fans to arrive early and be careful. There's no charge for parking in lots G10 and G5/30...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 22, 2016

Tennessee vs South Carolina Preview

The 17-1 Gamecocks come to snowy Knoxville in another big opportunity for the Vols. Mother Nature has not been Tennessee's friend the last two years.  Our date with arch-rival Kentucky was played before a smaller crowd due to snow and ice last season, and tomorrow appears to be the second big game this week when winter weather will take away the Vols' home court advantage. Vanderbilt was big because of the in-state rivalry, but South Carolina wasn't one any of us had circled on our calendars coming into the year.  The Gamecocks got off to a nice start in the non-conference, but few really...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 20, 2016

Vanderbilt 88 Tennessee 74 - The Worst Case Scenario

Not a good night in Knoxville. Tennessee had prided itself on being competitive with everyone it had faced this year, including a number of good teams in and out of league play.  Vanderbilt, regardless of record, certainly goes in that category.  When the Vols began trotting out the small ball lineup, we wondered how it might fare against teams with more than one quality post player.  But tonight ended up being an ugly answer to that question and more: What if a team with quality posts also knocks down their open three point shots? What if those quality posts affect almost every shot...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 20, 2016

Tennessee vs Vanderbilt Preview

As Rick Barnes prepares to face our in-state rivals for the first time in Knoxville, we take a look at what's behind Vanderbilt's disappointing start. In our third week of play, the SEC is getting fat in the middle already.  Only one team is undefeated (#10 Texas A&M) and only one team is winless (Mississippi State).  Tennessee is a good example of the league's competitiveness as we almost beat the former and almost got beat by the latter.  Nine teams are between 4-2 and 2-4. We thought coming in Vanderbilt would be part of the SEC's top tier along with Texas A&M and Kentucky.  Instead...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 19, 2016

Tennessee Football 2016 Depth Chart Projections

Seventeen returning starters? Bring on the optimism. With Alvin Kamara, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Cameron Sutton all back in the fold, we take a look at how the depth chart should shake out for Team 120.  One of the best things about this:  we don't have to wait for signing day to fill in any important gaps with true freshmen. With nine starters back on offense and eight on defense, it's pretty easy to fill this thing out.  Returning starters in big, beautiful bold. POS 1ST YR 2ND YR QB Josh Dobbs SR Quinten Dormady SO RB Jalen Hurd JR Alvin Kamara JR WR Josh Malone JR Preston...
Rocky Top Talk Jan 18, 2016

Alvin Kamara Returning to Tennessee

That's three. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft was today, and Alvin Kamara became the third Vol to decide to return to Knoxville for big things in 2016: Welp... Another year of this college football thing on rocky top.! What y'all think @Migos @DaFlippaMan ? — Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) January 18, 2016 The lightning to Jalen Hurd's thunder, Kamara is a huge boost for Tennessee's offense because he gives them an additional dynamic.  I would argue the Vols were at their most dangerous this year when both were on the field together, flanking Josh Dobbs in a...