Great expectations

Today's lesson in expectations: Tennessee's basketball team won 22 games in 2005-06, losing in Round 2 of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Bruce Pearl is viewed as a hero. Kentucky's basketball team won 22 games in 2005-06, losing in Round 2 of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Tubby Smith is viewed as a zero.

Mike Hamilton, athletics director at UT, recently extended Pearl's contract to six years and boosted his pay to an average of $1.3 million per annum. Richard Cheeks, an adjunct professor at UK, recently tried to place a full-page advertisement in the school newspaper (The Kentucky Kernel) calling for Smith's dismissal.

An Associated Press story quotes Cheeks as explaining his campaign thusly: "We see the program in decline …. We don't want it to decline the way the Louisville did in the latter years when Denny Crum was there."

Cheeks is so determined to oust Tubby that he and a group called "Concerned Fans For UK Basketball" came up with $1,700 for the full-page ad in The Kernel. The newspaper's advertising staff rejected the offer.

Obviously, the standards in Big Blue Country and the standards in Big Orange Country are eons apart. Just in case that point wasn't readily apparent, the AP story concluded by noting that UK's second-round loss marked "the third time in the last 12 seasons Kentucky failed to reach the round of 16."

As opposed to Tennessee, which failed to reach the round of 16 for the ELEVENTH time in the last 12 seasons.

Pearl raised Tennessee's victory total in Year 1. Maybe he'll raise Tennessee's expectations in Year 2.


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