Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Georgia vs. Tennessee Hoops Preview

The Dawgs begin a VERY important three-game home-stand tonight against the Bruce Pearlless Tennessee Vols. UT is currently 11-6 on the year, but have beaten Villanova, Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Vandy. Their current "Strength of Schedule" according to the RPI rating is ranked #1 in the country. And, they have many very close losses so their 11-6 record is a bit deceiving. But what is the single weirdest thing about Tennessee you might ask? Answer: They have SIXTEEN players on their roster. I mean...they should do like MLB teams in spring training and play split-squad games or something. Anyway, the players they have that play significant minutes are among the most talented in the conference. Their backcourt is probably the best in the conference and, well, they obviously have a lot of depth. The "new" guy for Tennessee this year, who is doing an excellent job replacing the graduated Wayne Chism, is 6'8'' freshman forward Tobias Harris. Harris is averaging 15.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg. Basically, he's really, really good. Scotty Hopson still leads the backcourt guys, who Tennessee will shuffle through like a six-deck shoe of blackjack cards. Translation: They can be aggressive defensively because of their depth.

But exactly how deep are they? They have TEN players who are averaging double-digit minutes per game this season. And that is non including Jeronne Maymon who is averaging 9.9 minutes per game. This is NOT going to be an easy game for us. If we are to get an advantage, it would be getting Mr. Harris into foul trouble since he is their most dangerous big man. But I'm going to be honest with you...our guards may struggle in this game. Tennessee is very long and athletic on the perimeter and will roll in fresh players. Also, you have to think they are confident after the nice comeback win against Vandy this past weekend. And don't think they have forgotten the beatdown we gave them in Athens last year. In other words, I will be just as happy with a 1-point last second win as a blowout.

At first I thought we needed to win these three home games. But with Mississippi State improving (not fighting with each other and/or regaining eligibility) and Florida obviously a tough opponent, I think we should all be happy with 2 out of 3....but if we win all three I won't complain.

Here are Tennessee's stats on the year:

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