Something special

It takes something special to win in the second weekend March. So says Bruce Pearl, the man who has made the trip three times and come back all three winless.

Having three seniors who have been there helps. Having a deep bench helps. But for Pearl, it's about more than those things.

"It's about our cast of characters," Pearl said. "They've got to know that they can't do it by themselves. They need the other guys to come along."

Tennessee had a full five-on-five scrimmage Tuesday afternoon trying to simulate what Pearl called a "nightmare matchup" in Ohio State and its 6-foot-7 point guard Evan Turner.

"The first two games, we have a game plan against, say Ohio. This is what they do. This is what we need to do to take that away," Pearl said. "It doesn't exist with Ohio State."

The last time the Vols faced the Buckeyes, Turner was a freshman, Ohio State ran a lot of its offense through the post and UT played its "controlled chaos" style.

In fact, Peal says that were UT able to play that style again, it would be tough for Ohio State to win and UT could make use of its depth.

But times have changed.

"I understand why Turner is talked about as the best player in the country," he said. "To guard him with guys his own size, they're not used to guarding point guards."

Junior post Brian Williams thinks that he can be something special for the Vols come Friday.

Thanks to his month-long suspension, his legs are fresher than in years past despite seeing more minutes.

"I had a second offseason," Williams said. "It made me more hungry. It made me see what basketball is all about. I got my second wind and I'm ready."

Williams said that with a team as talented as Ohio State, the game is not only going to come down to effective defense but depth.

While the Vols use a 10-man rotation, the Buckeyes use six. It may not be March magic, but even so, Williams sees that as a major advantage.

"They're playing 40 minutes. That's incredible; they've been doing that for 40 games," he said. "I know their bodies are going to break down at some point. If ours do, we have five more coming off the bench that can take over for us.

"We still have more legs than anybody in the nation right now."


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