SEC 'catching up' to Pearl?

Critics suggested that Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl's unorthodox offensive system would never work in the rugged Southeastern Conference. When it did, those same people said it worked as a novelty but that opponents would catch up to it and "the second time around" would be different.

Really? Let's take a look at that statement:

Pearl's unorthodox system produced a seven-point (76-69) defeat of South Carolina on Jan. 8 in Columbia. The "second time around" on Jan. 28 in Knoxville saw the Vols shoot a higher percentage from the field (48.4, up from 47.4), score five more points and win by 16 points (81-65).

Pearl's unorthodox system produced a 13-point (89-76) defeat of Georgia Jan. 11 in Knoxville. The "second time around" on Feb. 11 in Athens saw the Vols shoot a higher percentage from the field (53.1, up from 50.8) and a better percentage from 3-point range (41.7, up from 36.8). The Vols scored six fewer points but still won 83-78.

Pearl's unorthodox system produced a four-point (80-76) defeat of Florida Jan. 21 in Knoxville. The "second time around" on Feb. 22 in Gainesville saw the Vols shoot significantly better from the field (50 percent, up from 42.4) and significantly better from 3-point range (52.4, up from 31.8). The Vols scored four fewer points than in the earlier meeting but again posted a four-point victory margin (76-72).

Does that sound like the league is "catching up" to you?


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