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Dear Chuck:

I was driving to the basketball game between Tennessee and Florida when I heard your voice on the radio. I thought you had gotten your sports mixed up by predicting the Vols were going to make it a college basketball hat trick. (That is a hockey term, right?)

Then I heard the rest of your comment: Florida was the only undefeated team in menís Division I basketball because Duke had been upset by Georgetown and Pittsburgh had lost to St. Johnís. Before the night was done, UTís 80-76 victory made it a hat trick of three previously undefeated teams losing for the first time this season. All I can say is, ďWay to go, Vols.Ē Or maybe, ďHow Sweet It Is.Ē

Jeff Simpson


It was great to see that type of atmosphere ó and sellout ó for a menís game in Thompson-Boling Arena for the first time since the Vols played Kentucky in January of 1991. Itís nice to see this program on track to make the NCAA Tournament field.

While a lot of the credit has to go to first-year head coach Bruce Pearl and his staff and vastly improved players, youíve also got to thank UT athletic director Mike Hamilton. He made a tough decision regarding Buzz Peterson last year and there hasnít been much criticism of that decision lately.

What do you think the results would be if UTís students were asked about the most popular sport on campus today?

Thereís also a good chance that a major donation will be announced this week to help begin construction of an indoor practice facility for menís basketball. Hamilton has said this type of facility is needed for three main reasons:

To make Thompson-Boling fully functional as an ďassembly centerĒ that could have more concerts and financially lucrative events for the university, player development and recruiting (every other school in the SECís Eastern Division already has this type of facility). Itís hard to argue with Hamiltonís first and third points.

But there could be more at stake than a nice gym with several 10-foot goals. It also could be vitally important in terms of getting Bruce Pearl to make a long-term commitment to stay in Knoxville.


It seems like there was quite a backlash of negative comments about Peyton Manning after the Colts were upset by the Steelers. It seemed kind of pointless to me because the better team clearly won that day. Isnít that what athletic competition and professional sports are supposed to be all about?

Kenny Singleton


Of course you are right, but thereís also an element of society that likes to see people fail. Donít forget: The Colts started the season 13-0 and looked virtually unbeatable before things began to unravel for a variety of reasons.

Manning might as well have painted a bulls-eye on his chest with a post-game comment that began, ďI am trying to be a team player here, but ...Ē

Itís always better to praise the opposition and walk away from the microphone as quickly as possible. Manning had every right to be frustrated. Itís difficult to imagine the Coltsí offensive line doing a worse job adjusting to a 3-4 scheme or picking up Pittsburghís blitz. Say what you want about football strategy, but itís hard for a quarterback to make an accurate 30-yard pass from the prone position.

Anyone that knows Peyton Manning knows he is a standup guy and intense competitor. He prepares for games and wants to win as much as any athlete that Iíve ever dealt with. The really disturbing part is that Manning is just 3-6 in playoff games and has yet to win a major title.

Award-winning columnist Chuck Cavalaris writes a twice-monthly column for farragutpress. Send questions or comments you may have to Chuck also hosts a two-hour sports talk show from 3 to 5 p.m., Saturdays on ESPN 1180 AM.


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