Click above to comment on this post
Writer: Bill Trocchi
Post time: 7:28 p.m.
BIRMINGHAM -- For the record, Bruce Pearl likes being Goliath.
When asked by a reporter if he likes being David (as a No. 12 seed with Wisconsin-Milwaukee) or a Goliath (with No. 2 seed Tennessee), Pearl had no hesitation.
"Goliath has better players. Bigger rocks," said Pearl, who enjoyed his media session as much as any of the four coaches in the morning session here on Thursday.
Pearl was humble in his practice-day press conference. Wearing a gray Tennessee t-shirt (he was about to head out for brief practice), Pearl backed off his statement from Saturday at the SEC tournament when he said his Vols had "carried the flag" for the SEC all season. Today, he said, "Florida did a great job carrying the banner for the SEC the past two years, and it is up to one of [the six SEC teams in the tournament] to try to carry it on."
Pearl said this is his most talented team he's taken into an NCAA tournament, and the subject of a No. 1 seed did not come up during his session.
JaJuan Smith, however, earlier said the Vols were worthy of one of the four No. 1s.
"This is a chance to show we deserved a No. 1 seed," he said. "We'll use it as motivation throughout the tournament."
Pearl spent a chunk of his team's practice chatting up CBS broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery, punctuating some of his stories with, "you can't use that, either." He was relaxed and engaging, which is something we likely won't see when he's on the Tennessee bench tomorrow.