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Vols dealing with Wolverines and Pearl rumors (video)

Bruce Pearl reaaallllllly needs a win vs. Michigan on Friday. Beating No. 1 seed Duke on Sunday also wouldn’t hurt.

Still, even those two victories might not be enough to save the Tennessee coach’s job.

Pearl and his volunteers tried to prepare for the No. 8 seed, but instead dealt with numerous questions about their coach because of a recent radio interview in which Vols athletic director Mike Hamilton declared “the jury is still out” on Pearl’s job status.

Pearl did his best to deflect the questions, but couldn’t quite pull it off. After all, it’s been a season’s worth of distractions. By now, the Vols are old pros at handling stories like this.

“If we had gone undefeated this season, we would not have learned or grown half as much as a lot of the things that we’ve had to go through this year,” Pearl said he told the players. “But let’s learn from some things. Let’s learn from my mistakes. Let’s remember not to put yourself in this position again, like I did.”

Will that translate into on-court success vs. the Wolverines? For the off-court questions. Scotty Hopson’s jumper will be a bigger factor.

Tip-off is 12:40 p.m. ET in Charlotte, N.C..

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.