Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

March 15, 2012

ROCKY TOP BEAT: Tennessee is finally immersed in March Madness

CROSSVILLE — This week we are finally fully immersed in March Madness. From the Lady Vols to the Vols, Tennessee fans will be busy following their two favorite teams compete for a championship. The Vols are just not competing for the championship they had hoped for.

Vols back to friendlier confines

The Vols failed to take advantage of their first round bye last weekend in the SEC Tournament and as a result were relegated to the NIT Tournament. What first appeared to be a negative has so far been a plus. The Vols received one of four No. 1 seeds in the NIT and will play all their games at home leading up to the semi-finals in New York. 

The fans that came out Tuesday not only received free parking but were able to take advantage of general seating for ten dollars. Many of these Big Orange fans were able to occupy seats usually reserved for long time season ticket holders; the result, a loud and rowdy Rocky Top crowd that created a great atmosphere for the Vols. 

Savannah State was able to weather the Vols' early onslaught and fought back to within two points in the middle of the second half. However, the home court advantage was the difference as the fans refused to let their Vols falter on this night. On a neutral court, with Jeronne Maymon sitting out with a bruised knee, this could have had a very different outcome. 

Vols host in-state foe

Tennessee will play Middle Tennessee State University in their next game. By the time you are reading this, the date and time should be set. MTSU would love to derail the Volunteer Express headed for New York. The Vols will need to bring their “A” game or chance seeing their season end on a sour note. 

The Vols can get their 20th win of the season against MTSU and need only to win two more games to make it to Madison Square Garden. Both of these goals would have been unthinkable just a few short months ago. 

Lady Vols rewarded

The NCAA Selection Committee rewarded the Lady Vols for their SEC Tournament Championship with a No. 2 seed, if you call having No. 1 Baylor in your region a reward. Still, Tennessee played Baylor better than either Stanford or Notre Dame in the regular season. Getting that match-up with Baylor could be a daunting task for a team that has been inconsistent this season. 

Lady Vols pack their bags

Pat Summitt’s alma mater, UT Martin, is the first team the Lady Vols will face in Chicago this Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CDT. The winner of BYU and DePaul will be awaiting the Lady Vols on Monday should they advance. They have already beaten DePaul on a neutral court earlier in the season but that was then and this is March Madness where anything can happen. Still, you have to like the Lady Vols' chances to make it to Des Moines, Iowa where the regional champion will have their ticket punched for the Final Four. 

Survive and advance

This weekend the Vols and Lady Vols need to guard against upsets as they strive to keep those around Rocky Top smiling. Want to hear those sneakers screeching and watch the Vols up close, then get on down to Thompson Boling Arena. Take advantage of those cheap general admission tickets and open seating. If the atmosphere is anything close to what occurred last Tuesday, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Go Vols and Lady Vols!

(Frank Gale is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)


Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Even when Tiger Woods finished just a few strokes from last place at the British Open, he was one of the  featured topics in stories coming out of Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

    July 23, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Vols focused on Utah

    The SEC media days have come and gone with no real news being generated. A successful media days appearance is usually defined as leaving Hoover, AL without giving a future opponent bulletin board material. Using that criteria, Tennessee left without any major gaffs.

    July 17, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: Good things must come to an end

    The Dr. Pepper Classic, a long-time tradition at McKenzie Arena, affectively-known as the Round House, will seize, as a couple of teams dropped out, leaving the university in a "lurch," according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press Tuesday morning. Teams wanted a cash guarantee to play, which couldn't be provided (at this time).

    July 10, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Majors Invitational tees off Sunday at Lake Tansi

    It is the second weekend in July and that means Johnny Majors is at Lake Tansi this weekend to host his annual golf tournament. It is always a treat for the local UT fans to interact with those that have been a part of the Vol football program. They come to the plateau each year to renew old acquaintances and share the stories of gridiron prowess from past years. By the way, the stories sure seem to get better with time.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: 'Dores make history with CWS win

    History was made at the College World Series in Omaha, NE, this week, as the Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team won the school's  first national championship in any sport since the Vandy women's bowling team won the 2007 national crown.

    June 26, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Tyndall hire closes the book on Martin era

    The University of Tennessee was able to close the books on the Cuonzo Martin era of Vol basketball earlier this week when they hired Donnie Tyndall to lead their program. Athletic Director Dave Hart, who conducted the search and the hiring on his own, appears to have found the right coach for this team at the right time.

    April 24, 2014

  • ROCKY TOP BEAT: You never know what will happen next with TN sports

    When you cover UT sports, you never know what is going to happen next. The past two weeks were no exception as they were filled with "the good, the bad and the ugly."

    April 17, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: Spring in full swing with Masters under way

    With "March Madness" over and the Masters golf tournament under way in Augusta, GA, you know spring has sprung.

    April 10, 2014

  • ROCKY TOP BEAT: Lady Vols, Vols' seasons concluded abruptly

    The basketball season ended rather abruptly last weekend for both the Lady Vols and the Vols; however, the way these two teams ended their seasons will leave entirely different lasting memories.

    April 3, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Basketball has taken Big Orange Country by storm

    Basketball has taken Big Orange Country by storm. The Lady Vols are a fixture in the Sweet 16, but the Vols returning after a few years' hiatus was a pleasant surprise. There are plenty of accolades to be spread around Rocky Top, but basically it starts with the guards and ends with Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon dominating the paint.

    March 27, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014