The trials and tribulations of Bruce Pearl hit another low point tonight as his Tennessee Volunteers dropped a preseason game to Division II University Of Indianapolis at home, 79-64. Whoops. This isn't exactly the way Pearl and the Volunteers wanted to tune-up for the season. Instead of firing out of the gate and storming into the season-opener, Tennessee tripped, fell and landed in a puddle.
The Vols played a sloppy game, turning the ball over 25 times and blowing an eight-point halftime lead. Indianapolis came out hot in the second half, erasing the deficit and jumping out to a seven point lead of their own during a 15-0 run that spanned the first five and a half minutes. The end result was an embarrassing 15-point loss in a game that will lead many critics to question Pearl's coaching ability.
The Vols weren't taking it well, walking out of the arena with their tails between their legs.
"Mostly it's embarrassing," guard Melvin Goins said. "I think that's the one word that wraps it up. Just an embarrassment to ourselves and to our fans."
For Pearl, it's more than embarrassing. The loss, even though just an exhibition, surely won't cool the fire burning under his seat. The sixth year head coach has been in the headlines lately after allegedly committing multiple recruiting violations and working to cover them up. The sixth-year head coach was working without a contract after being sent a letter of termination during the NCAA investigation into the violations. Tennessee self-imposed numerous sanctions, including limiting recruiting time and pay-cuts for the coaching staff, but are still waiting for the NCAA to finish their investigation.
The good news for Tennessee? The game didn't count and we've seen before this isn't the end of the world. Michigan State lost to Division II Grand Valley State in 2007. While the loss was embarrassing then, Sparty went on to acheive great things, advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
For more on the Vols, check out SB Nation's Rocky Top Talk.