Tennessee (3-2) vs. Xavier (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Imperial Arena (3,900) -- Paradise Island, Bahamas. Television: AXS. Home Record: Tennessee 3-0, Xavier 5-0. Away Record: Tennessee 0-1, Xavier 0-0. Neutral Record: Tennesee 0-1, Xavier 0-1. Conference Record: Tennessee 0-0, Xavier 0-0. Series Record: Tennessee leads, 11-5.
GAME NOTES: In an early season rematch the Xavier Musketeers will battle the Tennessee Volunteers as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament at Imperial Arena in the Bahamas.
Coming off their first loss of the season is Xavier, which gave No. 23 Iowa all it could handle but fell in overtime by a final of 77-74. The loss came in the first game away from home for the Musketeers, who won five straight contests on their home floor to open the year.
In the biggest surprise of the first round of this event, the Volunteers were dispatched by Texas-El Paso, 78-70. The setback ended a three-game win streak for the Volunteers.
Tennessee's other loss this season came against this same Xavier squad. The Volunteers and Musketeers met in the season opener in Cincinnati and Xavier pulled out a 67-63 victory. It was the third straight win in the all-time series for the Musketeers, though Tennessee still has the edge in that regard (11-5).
The winner this time around gets to face either Wake Forest or USC, depending on the outcome of that contest, in the next consolation round. The loser of each contest will also match up.
Poor offensive execution doomed Tennessee against UTEP. The Volunteers netted only 34.9 percent of their shots from the floor, including a ghastly 3-of-21 effort from beyond the arc. With the Miners netting 58 percent from the field, Tennessee just couldn't keep up.
Jordan McRae (21.6 ppg) extended his streak of 20-point games to three on Thursday as he poured in 22 points for Tennessee. McRae is dropping in 47.9 percent of his shots from the field and has actually scored 20 points in four of the first five games. McRae hasn't had a ton of help though as Jarnell Stokes (11.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg) is the only other double figure scorer. Though Stokes is nearly averaging a double-double, he is netting only 42.6 percent of his attempts from the field Jeronne Maymon (8.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) teams with Stokes to form a productive frontcourt duo. As a whole, the Volunteers are scoring 76.2 points per game on just under 45 percent shooting.
Despite leading for the entire first half and most of the second, the Musketeers couldn't hold off Iowa. Xavier saw a 15-point lead disappear in the second half and then made just 1-of-9 shots from the floor in the extra session to surrender the victory.
Even after the loss the Musketeers are still holding a sizable scoring margin on the season (+17). Xavier is netting 78.8 points per game and connecting on an even 50 percent from the floor. The Musketeers also play well on defense, limiting foes to 61.8 points per game on 38.1 percent from the field. Semaj Christon (16 ppg, 4.5 apg) keeps the offense humming with his scoring and passing as he leads the way in points and assists. Matt Stainbrook (10.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg), a former Western Michigan player, has been an important piece of the puzzle in his first year in a Xavier uniform.
Xavier had homecourt advantage and still nearly lost to Tennessee less than a month ago. With this game on a neutral court and McRae on a hot streak, the Volunteers will get some revenge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 74, Xavier 73
11/29 10:44:02 ET