Bruce Pearl now has an on-court embarrassment to add to his tumultuous preseason.
No, Tennessee's 79-64 exhibition loss to Division II Indianapolis doesn't count in the standings. The Vols' last game that truly mattered is still that Elite Eight appearance against Michigan State.
But after Monday's game Pearl conceded that Indianapolis -- coached by Stan Gouard, one of Pearl's former players at Southern Indiana -- was better coached.
From the Knoxville News Sentinel:
"Defensively, we didn't have great effort, we didn't have great energy," said Pearl, who is opening his sixth season as UT’s coach. "All of that is my fault. You've got to put it all on the coach. We were embarrassed."
Many in the announced crowd of 16,701 headed to the exits early after 23rd-ranked UT failed to draw closer than seven points in the closing minutes.
Meanwhile at Auburn, Tony Barbee's second exhibition as coach ended with Columbus State winning 54-52 and the Division II team getting to take a snapshot of the postgame scoreboard.
The attendance was estimated at about 3,000 fans, including a large contingent of fans from nearby Columbus. When the game was on the line, the crowd was surprisingly loud for such an empty arena, a stark contrast to the old Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, where noise seemed to die in the cavernous ceiling.
CSU fans enjoyed the post-game celebration, while Barbee said he encouraged his team not to hang their heads.
A third exhibition loss by an SEC team was averted when Alabama needed double-overtime to beat Division II Alabama-Huntsville 73-68.
"For me, I have too much respect for the game," Alabama coach Anthony Grant told reporters after the game. "I don't look at a school as a Division II opponent and assume because we are a Division I team that automatically we should win."