January 12, 2010
Tennessee's upset win over No. 1 Kansas on Sunday was big. But was it really big enough to comemmorate with a special t-shirt?
The official University of Tennessee team store began selling shirts yesterday to celebrate the team's unlikely win over college basketball's top team. It reads "ROCKY CHALKED", gives the score, headline and labels Kansas as "undefeated #1" and Tennessee as "underrated #16".
Beating an undefeated Kansas team was a great accomplishment for Bruce Pearl's squad, especially given the roster upheaval that resulted from the New Year's Day arrest of four players including All-SEC forward Tyler Smith. Any victory over KU would be impressive, but the fact that it came from via six scholarship players and three walk-ons (one of whom hit the game-capping three pointer) elevates the win to near-legendary status in Knoxville.It doesn't elevate it to "let's make a t-shirt about it" status though. It's not like Tennessee beat UCLA circa 1972. Kansas is an excellent team and still the overwhelming favorite to cut down the nets in April. But the question of when the Jayhawks would receive its first loss was never "if" but "when". Tennessee, riding a wave of emotion, caught an under-motivated team that was expecting to cruise to an easy victory.
Tennessee fans can celebrate how they want, but they should take heed to the following t-shirt advice: Unless it's a simple Tennessee t-shirt; to celebrate a conference tournament championship, Final Four berth or national championship; or this, leave it alone.