Good Riddance to the Most Homogenous, Most Confusing, and Most Frustratingly Entertaining Tennesse Vols

>> Friday

Well, I tried calling my brother last night to see what he thought of his beloved Tennessee Vols, but he didn't answer. Of course, I did call during Louisville's 18-1 run in the first half, so maybe he was just too bewildered and depressed.

Anyways, I for one am glad that Tennessee is out of the tournament. I know some people like the "organized chaos" (as Bilas and Endberg called it last night), but I find it often unbearable to watch. Moreover, I just can't get into this Tennessee team. Even after having watched them a handful of times this season, I still have no idea who the players are (except Lofton). And last night I figured out why I can't keep them straight at all.

1. Everyone is named Smith. The overabundance of Smiths is the most obvious problem with understanding this team. Even more confusingly, announcers like to call them "the Smith brothers." With the Hansborough brothers, the Lopez twins, and Bruce Pearl's son, and that other Korver kid in this tournament, people shouldn't toss around the word "brother" so flippantly. It's confusing me.

2. Everyone wears a headband, has the same haircut, and has no facial hair. Thanks to the Jailblazers of the late 90's, we now have teams of players that all wear the same headband. Unfortunately, this fashion trend is problematic for the casual fan especially because headbands really do obscure the players' faces. I guess you can't fault Chism though; you can't confuse his style with anyone else. I haven't seen a style that unique since Derek Fischer's over-the-ear look.

3. Everyone is black. I've heard that there is scientific evidence that people have a more difficult time distinguishing people of different ethnicities than of their own ethnicity -- also known as the George Constanza "Sugar Ray Leonard" syndrome. But seriously, except for Chris Lofton, these guys look a lot alike, and that's probably exacerbated by the reasons mentioned in #2.

4. Everyone plays the 2 or the 3.
I think I would have an easier time keeping these guys straight if they actually played real basketball positions. At least I could say, "Hey, OK, Tyrone Smith plays the 5, and Lamar Smith plays the 1. I can jive with that." But everyone plays the same style. There's no "defensive specialist" or "point guard" or "stiff who is just on the team to give 5 fouls". There are just 5 guys driving toward the hoop, popping off-balance threes, and pushing the break.

5. Everyone is the same height. Like #2, #3, and #4, the homogeneity of these players is made worse by the fact that they're all 6'4" to 6'8".

6. Everyone is wearing the same jersey. I guess this is a problem for all basketball teams, but maybe a couple of them could go with the t-shirt-under-the-jersey look or socks-up-to-the knees look to help me out a little bit.


Vinnie 7:05 PM  

Haha... I love how you just picked two generic black-guy names, neither of which are actual Tennessee players. And L. Smith is the one first initial they don't have. (And of course, T. Smith is the very white-sounding Tyler.)

I would say that Lofton added a bit of variety by being a 3-ball specialist, not wearing a headband, and being a bit lighter-skinned. Next year, though, not so much. But I think the uniformity is one of the things I love about the team, which is weird because I generally don't go for uniformity in any other life context.

And don't worry--I'll make sure not to call tonight after Davidson whoops up on Wisconsin in this second half.

Vinnie 7:07 PM  

Oh, and I never, ever would condone the t-shirt-under-the-jersey look, which is why I hate David Cubillan. Well, not really, but he does look like a nerd.

Patrick 2:41 PM  

I agree with you Paul. I never understood why everyone loved Tenessee this year. They played in a weak SEC and while they beat a good Memphis team, Memphis at the same time blew it when they couldn't hit a damn free throw.

I am proud to say that I picked Louisville to go all the way. Go Rick Pitino...bringing the hair gel back to the finals

Vinnie 9:55 PM  

As much as I've loved watching them these last three years, I never, ever believed they were the best team in the country this season, even when they were ranked #1 (as it was a total default-type #1 ranking).

But I can't wait to see what next season will be like without Lofton and more contribution from Prince and some of the other guys who'll slide up the depth chart.

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