'Opportunity Week'

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl prefers to view a challenge as an opportunity, and his Vols certainly face two imposing challenges … er, opportunities this week.

Tennessee visits No. 4 Memphis (15-2) on Wednesday night, then hosts No. 2 Florida (15-0) on Saturday. Instead of grumbling about the imposing task, however, Pearl is gushing about the possibility for gain. That's the message he is conveying to his players, as well as the media.

"We've talked about this being ‘Opportunity Week' for Tennessee," Pearl said. "It's great to have these kinds of games on the schedule because they are opportunities to do something that is special and significant and memorable."

Playing the two strongest teams on your schedule three days apart is a daunting task. Still, Pearl is taking a positive approach, noting that these are the kinds of games Tennessee's players could remember fondly many years from now.

"As coaches, we remember most of the wins and all of the losses," he said. "The young people, I don't know if they do. But they'll remember these games because of how incredibly talented these teams are. In Memphis and Florida, there will be at least a half-dozen or more of these players that will be playing in the NBA.

"It's fun when you get done playing college basketball to be able to remember that you went up against that guy, and he's playing for somebody at the next level."

Of course, it's even more fun to remember playing "that guy" if you managed to beat him.

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