Timing favors Tide

They say timing is everything, and the timing of Sunday's Tennessee-Alabama basketball game clearly favors the Tide.

Alabama played Auburn Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa, took a day off Wednesday, then had Thursday, Friday and today to prepare for tomorrow's regular-season finale at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Conversely, Tennessee played Thursday night at South Carolina, returned to Knoxville around midnight, then had Friday and today to hastily prepare for Sunday's game, which is scheduled for a noon tipoff.

Naturally, Vol head man Bruce Pearl is less than thrilled that the Crimson Tide had an additional two days to prepare for this game.

"They're at home on Tuesday and we're on the road Thursday night," Pearl said. "That doesn't make a lot of sense to me in league play."

Philip Pearson, who became Alabama's interim coach when Mark Gottfried resigned a month ago, hints that the schedule isn't all that favorable for the Tide. Instead of following the usual SEC formula of playing on Wednesday and Saturday, with two practices in between, Bama has had to alter its preparations plan, as well.

"It's a little bit different," Pearson said. "This is the third Sunday game (the Tide has played) this year. Our schedule's been a little bit quirky, in my opinion. We had the Tuesday night game, we had two of the three Thursday night games in the league."

Still, Pearson conceded that playing on Tuesday and Sunday, with four days in between, has its advantages.

"I liked having the off day yesterday," he said, referring to Wednesday, "and we've still got one extra day."

Tennessee (19-10 overall, 10-5 SEC) and Alabama (16-13, 6-9) were preseason picks to win the SEC East and West titles, respectively. The Vols stumbled a bit but still managed to clinch at least a share of the East crown. Conversely, Bama has been a major disappointment in the West. Gottfried went 12-7 before resigning. Pearson is 4-6 since taking over the talented but underachieving Tide.

"The reason why CBS is here on Sunday," Pearl noted, "is because Alabama was picked to win the West."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories