Another quality win?

With Tennessee visiting fourth-ranked Memphis tonight and hosting second-ranked Florida on Saturday, the fact the Vols already knocked off a ranked team (Dec. 17 at Texas) would seem to be a tremendous plus.

Maybe not, though. Head coach Bruce Pearl sees a glass that is half full AND half empty.

Here's the positive spin:

"It will help in the long run," he said. "It certainly is helping us in the RPI (Ratings Power Index). It's helping in national rankings. If we can be anywhere near that bubble, it'll help us at the end when the (NCAA Tournament selection) committee is making decisions."

There's also a negative spin, however. Pearl says the win at Texas toughened the Vol task by issuing a warning to all of the ranked foes remaining on the schedule.

"It doesn't help us from the standpoint that we're not going to sneak up on anybody else," the coach noted. "All they've got to do is put the Texas game on and see what we're capable of and have their players see what we're capable of. So, we're not going to sneak up on anybody."

Maybe. But the fact the Vols already have slain one giant should give them added confidence going against Memphis and Florida, shouldn't it?

"Yeah, I suppose," Pearl said. "But I guess it affects the players more than it does me as a coach."

The NCAA Tournament selection committee attaches great significance to so-called "quality wins" over ranked opponents. Beating Texas means Tennessee will have at least one quality win when the NCAA bids go out in March. If the Vols could double their quality wins total by beating either Memphis or Florida that would be a huge boost to their chances of getting invited to "The Dance."

"These games, if you can get one, serve you well," Pearl conceded. "That's why you schedule them. You schedule these so you've got a chance get a couple of them."


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