2008-2009 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS BASKETBALL
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Following a tremendous 2007-8 season, the Tennessee Volunteers basketball team looks to build upon their dominance and take the program to the next level. And despite some key losses that the team will have to overcome, if everything comes together as it should under this Bruce Pearl coached club, there is little reason to believe that the team will not once again be the class of the SEC and cannot make another deep NCAA Tournament run.
For more about the Lady Vols championship and analysis of the importance of the their victory in helping make SEC basketball #1, check out Best College Basketball Conference.
For more on SEC fan attendance, check out Top SEC Basketball Fan Attendance School.
Absolutely essential to the successes of the Vols this season, however, is the decision of Tyler Smith to return for his junior season. Smith, the Vols 3rd leading scorer in 2007-8 with 13.6 ppg, was also a force inside, with 6.7 rpg. He will be relied upon heavily to carry the offensive burden, in particular over the early part of the season while players returning players like J.P Smith (8.0 ppg) and Wayne Chism (9.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg) grow accustomed to their expanded roles in the offense.
In addition to players that will be returning from the 2007-8 roster, the Vols also will be adding some new blood to the team in the form of a number of rookies and redshirted players. These include highly touted first year player Scotty Hopson, who is expected to become a significant contributor over the course of the season.
This season in many ways will represent a watershed one for Bruce Pearl's Tennessee team. The first team comprised entirely of his own recruits, this season will provide the first real test of whether Tennessee is truly here to stay as an elite men's basketball program, or if they will return to their place behind the Gators in the Conference pecking order. Our early prediction is that there is more evidence than not to indicate that this team looks to still be the class of the conference.
If you haven't read it yet, check out our Bruce Pearl Biography. You can read more about last year's Tennessee Vols men's basketball team at 2007-2008 Tennessee Vols Men's Basketball Team and 2009-2010 Tennessee Volunteers Basketball page. Other Tennessee Volunteers Men's Basketball pages include: Tennessee Volunteers Basketball History and University of Tennessee -- Knoxville -- Trip.
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