Paul Finebaum calls Tennessee's Super Regional exit 'a complete meltdown'
Paul Finebaum, the “Voice of the SEC,” sounded off on Tennessee baseball’s early exit in the NCAA Tournament this week.
The Vols, the No. 1 team in the nation and College World Series favorites heading into the tournament, were knocked off by Notre Dame in the Super Regionals on Sunday. The Fighting Irish took Game 1 before Tennessee evened the series Saturday.
The Vols held a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh inning on Sunday in Game 3 when disaster struck. Starting pitcher Chase Burns gave up 3 straight runs and the Vols were unable to retake the lead.
“I think ultimately this is a complete meltdown,” Finebaum said on his show Monday, via On3Sports. “(Head coach) Tony Vitello was here a week ago talking about all the things that people don’t like about him. Let’s be honest. He comes off brash and a know it all.”
The Vols indeed retained the personality of their fifth-year head coach in Vitello this season, at least if Finebaum’s comments are to be used as a measuring tool. Tennessee was known as a team that embraced its villain role, bat flipping (and bird flipping) its way to 57 wins and a second straight Super Regional appearance.
Despite their early exit, the Vols were a strong team while performing these antics. You can only be cocky if you can back it up, right?
“That’s what made (Vitello) so popular in Knoxville,” Finebaum said. “That’s what has made him such a villain and vilified today.”
Tennessee online sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.