Bruce Pearl's iconic moment as Tennessee coach came when he painted his bare chest orange and cheered for the Lady Vols. His coaching friend, Seth Greenberg of Virginia Tech, saluted Pearl's efforts to draw attention to UT's men's team. But Greenberg lamented that what he called Pearl's "showmanship" might obscure the job the UT coach has done elevating the Vols' basketball profile.
"When you put yourself out there like that, there's a risk," Greenberg said, "and the risk is ridicule.
"But the reward is, he's created a dynamic environment at Tennessee."
In his five-plus seasons at Tennessee, Pearl's teams have averaged 25.2 victories and reached the Sweet 16 three times in five NCAA Tournaments. In his nine seasons as a Division I coach, Pearl has led every team to at least 10 conference victories.
Greenberg acknowledged that showmanship fit Pearl's outgoing personality.
"He's comfortable in his own skin," the Virginia Tech coach said. "He also can coach his tail off. The guy is a great coach. Not a good coach."
When asked to explain what he meant by great coach, Greenberg said, "His players play for him, and they play hard, as well. They don't take plays off. They play every night."
Parsons honored again
The spoils of victory continue to pour in for Florida forward Chandler Parsons.
Following the lead of the Southeastern Conference, the United States Basketball Writers Association named Parsons its National Player of the Week for last week on Tuesday.
Parsons, a 6-10 senior from Casselberry, Fla., averaged 17.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals in victories over No. 23 Vanderbilt and No. 10 Kentucky. Florida had not beaten ranked opponents in back-to-back games since 2007.
Parsons scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 65-61 overtime victory over Vanderbilt. In that game, he scored four of the Gators' final seven points in overtime and sealed the game with a rebound off a missed three-point attempt by Vanderbilt.
In the 70-68 win over Kentucky last weekend, he scored 17 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had five assists with no turnovers.
On Monday, the SEC named Parsons its player of the week for last week.
Cats' games always events
After UK lost at Florida last weekend, UK Coach John Calipari noted how each road opponent seemed to have some special ceremony or promotion tied to the game. Tennessee will be no different when the teams play again in Knoxville on March 6. UT will retire Allan Houston's No. 20 during halftime of the rematch with Kentucky.