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When Vol Basketball Ruled The World

Friday Marks 10 Year Anniversary of Tennessee’s Historic Win Over #1 Memphis

Where were you on the night of February 23, 2008?

Ten years ago this week, Tennessee ascended to the top of the college basketball universe by winning at top-ranked Memphis. When the new polls came out the next day, the Vols were ranked #1 for the first time in program history. It was ultimately a short-lived reign for Bruce Pearl’s team, as they were defeated 48 hours later in an upset at Vanderbilt.

But those 48 hours might be the most glorious period in Tennessee basketball history. That may seem sad to fans of college basketball’s blue blood programs, but, for long suffering Vol fans, there’s no denying it was a massive triumph.


Those of us who suffered through the end of the Don DeVoe era and Wade Houston’s reign of terror will always cherish that week. If you ever sat through a Kevin O’Neil defensive struggle or a Jerry Green debacle you will always cherish that week. And if you made it through 4 years of Buzz (Peterson) Ball, you’ll always cherish that week.

A lot has changed in the last 10 years. If I had told you at the time that Bruce Pearl would be at Auburn and John Calipari would be at Kentucky within a decade, you probably wouldn’t have believed it.

But here we are.

Was that truly the high water mark for Tennessee basketball history? Will we ever dare to climb higher? Time will tell, I suppose. But for that one glorious night and the week that followed, college basketball’s best team was clad in orange.

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