Christmas Ruins Bruce Pearl, For a Change

Bruce Pearl's Tennessee bounced back from its first loss of the season (to Gonzaga in the Old Spice tourney) well last week against UNC-Asheville, with stud Tyler Smith notching a triple-double and Pearl racking up his 400th win. (Round numbers, ahh.) On the strength of that win and some losses by similarly-rated teams, the Vols shot up into the top 10 in the polls. And now, they're headed right back out.
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↵Temple, which already had losses to Miami of Ohio and Buffalo, smoked Tennessee 88-72 this afternoon. The Owls asserted themselves early (opening up 8-0) and hung on. The game was played in Philadelphia, and Big Five crowds are just the best. Smith shot inefficiently (17 points on 16 FGAs) and the Vols could get it going on neither offense nor defense. (Temple picked apart the press during the second half.) Dionte Christmas has a tremendous day at the job extracurricular recreational activity, with 35 points and 7-of-14 three-point shooting. His stroke looked like cash every single time.
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↵Pearl, as always, stole the show with some showmanship. After a tough foul call against one of his charges, Pearl walked to the end of the bench and removed his coat, revealing some gorgeous orange suspenders. He then calmly walked back toward midcourt and (apparently) yelled something mean ("Santa Claus isn't real!" perhaps) to the ref who blew the whistle. A technical -- and pleased cheers from the Philly crowd -- followed. Thankfully, the building's thermostat had been set low and Pearl couldn't manage to work up a sweat strong enough to ruin his white Oxford.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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