From the Times Free Press
For Tennessee’s football program, the future is now the present.
By the end of the week, nearly half of a highly-touted and much-anticipated 2014 recruiting class will be in Knoxville and working toward next season.
The Volunteers confirmed 14 mid-term enrollees on Wednesday, and Butch Jones, who’s pointed to the early arrivals since before his first season ended last fall, will welcome the added talent and competition as his second year as Tennessee’s coach gets fully underway.
If Tennessee’s basketball team continues the roll it’s been on for the last three weeks, it has NC State to thank.
After getting embarrassed on their home court on Dec. 18 by a Wolfpack team that had somehow managed to lose to NC Central at home earlier in the season, the Vols have been on a tear. Admittedly, the competition hasn’t been all that great, but when Tennessee absolutely dismantled a good defensive Virginia team on Dec. 30, people started to pay attention. And after Tuesday night’s 18-point whipping of LSU in Baton Rouge, it’s safe to say it:
The Vols are on a tear.
Consider how well they’ve shot the ball in four games since the NC State debacle: From the field, they’ve made 118 of 228 shots, or 52 percent. From 3, it’s even better: 36 of 68 or 53 percent. They’ve even managed to shoot 69 percent from the free-throw line, which hasn’t been their friend at times.
A surprising first week of competition in the Southeastern Conference women’s basketball team has left the league with no obvious front-runner.
Tennessee and Kentucky, who have combined to win the conference’s last four regular-season titles, lost their SEC home openers. Tennessee, the defending league champion, fell 80-77 to LSU on Thursday to end a string of 16 straight victories in conference openers. Kentucky lost 83-73 to Florida on Sunday to fall at home to an unranked foe for the first time since Jan. 9, 2011.
Those surprising early-season results suggest the SEC could have a much more wide open race than usual this season.