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I had the great opportunity to talk with Rocky Top Talk yesterday, another fabulous blog on the SB Nation network. I was able to do a quick Q&A session with writer Will about today's match-up of 11 seed San Diego State and 6 seed Tennessee. We found that our teams had a lot of similarities including the fact that we both are under-seeded.
1. Obviously this year has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs to say the least. The biggest question everyone wants to know is, will the Vols be motivated by their perceived underseeding and huge loss to Kentucky to come out and play their best basketball or will they come out flat not wanting to play a team from a non-Big 6 conference that they've never seen on TV? How will Coach Pearl motivate them? How about all of the national media picking SDSU to win this game? Personally, I absolutely HATE it, but do you think it will motivate or demoralize the Vols?
The last ten minutes of the Kentucky game in Nashville were very demoralizing, especially considering the Vols beat Kentucky just two weeks before that. We still thought we had the resume of a 4 seed, or a 5 at worst, and so the 6 was an additional punch to the gut. However, when Seth Davis instantly picked San Diego State to beat us, I think that started turning things around from disappointment to motivation. And you're right, the majority of the national media have followed his lead and picked SDSU - what I hope it does for Tennessee is make them realize they're doing it not just because we got blown out by Kentucky, but because you guys are legit. Tennessee also got dusted by Southern Cal in a game against a team they'd never seen, and a game they were not ready for. I think that helps Pearl have them ready to play - my biggest concern would've been them looking ahead to Georgetown or even Ohio State (since we beat Georgetown last year by double digits), but now thanks to all the media picking SDSU, I think they'll be focused. I just hope they're expecting the same type of game from the same quality opponent they'd expect to see in later rounds, and bring their best basketball.