(WBIR - Knoxville) The Vols are preparing for a big game Saturday against the Missouri Tigers. It's the last game of the Vols' regular season and the team's up and down season has set up a do-or-die scenario.
First, what happens on the court inside Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday will have a major impact on the team's big dance hopes.
"Depending on who you listen to, a lot of people feel like a win tomorrow against Missouri gets them off. Making things more interesting, Missouri is almost in the identical situation. The game kind of have a playoff feel because of that. I don't know that it's necessarily an elimination game for either, but certainly whoever wins their path is a lot easier," said Rob Lewis, associate editor for Volquest.
In addition to NCAA talk, there's chatter among fans that coach Cuonzo Martin's future is dependent upon Saturday's game. A win will help Martin, but a loss could spell bad news for Big Orange's leader, and some fans hope that will help make room for former coach Bruce Pearl.
"It's been all of the talk on campus. If Bruce Pearl got back I think that would be awesome, but I love Martin too. But I'm a Bruce Pearl fan," said UT freshman Paige Williams.
"I'm not all for bringing Bruce back. I think that's kind of silly, to be honest," said junior Michael Tremoulis.
"I think that anybody who's been following the program for years and years would love to see Bruce Pearl back, but for that to happen, I just couldn't see it happening," said senior Logan White.
Lewis doesn't think it's that simple. "I would tend to think that it's not that cut and dry because a lot could still happen," he said.
One thing all Vols fans can cheer for is a win against Mizzou Saturday. Tip-off time is 4:00 p.m.