Tennessee State (0-5) at Tennessee (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thompson Boling Arena (21,678) -- Knoxville, Tennessee. Television: FSN. Home Record: TSU 0-1, Tennessee 2-0. Away Record: TSU 0-2, Tennessee 0-1. Neutral Record: TSU 0-2, Tennessee 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 0-0, Tennessee 0-0. Series Record: Tennessee leads, 3-0.
GAMES NOTES: In its last game before heading to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, the Tennessee Volunteers will square off with intra-state foe Tennessee State in non-league action at Thompson Boling Arena.
It has been a miserable first five games for the Tennessee State. The Tigers have yet to earn a win. Even playing at home couldn't cure their woes as the Tigers were dropped, 75-70, by Lipscomb in their home opener on Monday. This contest kicks off a three-game road trip for the Tigers which continues against Auburn on Tuesday.
Although they have not sprinted out of the gates, the Volunteers have enjoyed a solid start to the campaign with a mark of 2-1 through three games. The Volunteers have won two in a row after taking out USC Upstate (74-65) and The Citadel (86-80) in their last two matchups. The season began with a loss on the road against Xavier (67-63). Tennessee will battle Texas-El Paso to open up the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thanksgiving Day.
Even though they share the same state these squads do not have a long history between them. Tennessee has taken home victories in all three previous meetings, including an 81-56 triumph during the most recent matchup during the 2003-04 season.
Tennessee State had a one-point lead at halftime but then fell apart in the final 20 minutes to suffer a loss to Lipscomb. The Tigers hit just 31 percent of their shots from the field after the break, while giving the Bisons 36 attempts from the free-throw line.
Patrick Miller did his best to keep the Tigers competitive in the loss as he scored a game-high 28 points on 8-of-20 shooting. Miller is the only player averaging in double figures, as he is netting 22.6 points per game. A lack of scorers has been evident on the scoreboard as the Tigers are scoring only 60.6 points per game while shooting at a meager percentage from the field (.369). M.J. Rhett (9.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is a solid rebounder and could be scoring at a higher rate if his shooting improve (.415). Rhett pulled in nine rebounds against Lipscomb, but had only six points on 2-of-8 shooting. Jay Harris added 12 points against the Bison, but he is averaging only 4.4 points per game on 30.4 percent shooting.
Tennessee's dominance inside was the key to its rout of the Citadel. While the Bulldogs only shot 34.5 percent from the field and scored 16 points in the paint, the Volunteers put in 56.6 percent of their shots, while getting 38 points on the interior.
Through three games the Volunteers have enjoyed a scoring differential of more than 10 points by knocking down 44.3 percent of their shots from the field and netting 74.3 points per game. Leading the charge is Jordan McRae (20.3 ppg, 3.3 apg). The senior guard tops the stat sheet for the Volunteers in both scoring and assists. McRae scored 20 points against the Citadel, a game in which he hit three 3-pointers for the second time this season. Antonio Barton (12.0 ppg) runs in the backcourt as well, though he has been pushed in and out of the starting lineup. Up front the Volunteers have sturdy contributors to rely on in Jarnell Stokes (10.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Jeronne Maymon (9.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg).
There is a reason Tennessee State has yet to win a game this season and it is a lack of talented depth. Tennessee should have no problem taking care of the Tigers in this one. .
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 81, Tennessee State 60
11/22 10:36:09 ET