"When you get steals you take possessions away from the opponent," Pearl said on his post-game show. "The more possessions our opponent has, the more shots they take and the more we get exposed on the backboard."
The undersized Vols rank dead last among SEC teams in rebound margin. Obviously, the more times they can steal the ball, the more times they prevent their opponent from shooting and possibly grabbing an offensive rebound.
So, why are Tennessee's players so effective at basketball's version of larceny?
"It starts with ball pressure and guys making plays off the ball," Pearl said. "And I think part of it's being small – the fact we're down there on the floor (getting) loose balls and things like that."
In addition to helping stop the opponent's offense, enacting steals helps start the Vol offense by creating fast-break opportunities.
As Pearl noted: "It's a big part of creating offense from our defense."