Vanderbilt (8-10) at Tennessee (10-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 29, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thompson-Boling Arena (21,000) -- Knoxville, Tennessee.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Vanderbilt 5-4, Tennessee 8-2. Away Record:
Vanderbilt 2-3, Tennessee 0-5. Neutral Record: Vanderbilt 1-3, Tennessee 2-1.
Conference Record: Vanderbilt 2-4, Tennessee 2-4. Series Record: Tennessee
GAME NOTES: A pair of struggling SEC squads are set to meet up at Thompson-
Boling Arena on Tuesday night when the Tennessee Volunteers play host to the
Vanderbilt hasn't gotten much going this season, as it sits with just an 8-10
record, and its mark in the SEC has been even worse at 2-4. The Commodores
appeared to be back on the winning track with consecutive wins over South
Carolina and Auburn, but they fell back to their losing ways on Saturday with
a 81-59 defeat at Missouri.
Tennessee's season was a success early on, as it won eight of its first 12
games, which included quality victories over UMass, Wichita State, and Xavier
in its non-conference schedule, However, since the start of SEC play it has
faltered at 2-4. The Vols are carrying a bit of momentum however, having
defeated Alabama at home on Saturday (54-53) to improve to 8-2 at Thompson-
Tennessee leads the all-time series over Vanderbilt, 111-70, although the
Commodores have won three of the past four meetings.
The Commodores fell victim to a back-breaking 32-2 run by Missouri in the
first half of their latest game and they could never recover on their way to
the 22-point loss. Despite the setback, Vanderbilt actually shot much better
from the field (.444) than what it averages this season (.409). Rod Odom led
the way with 17 points, shooting 6-of-12 from the field including 3-of-5 from
3-point range in the process, while Kedren Johnson netted 11 points.
Scoring points has been a consistent issue for this squad, as it ranks 13th in
the league in putting up just 59.8 ppg, which all but spoils its fourth-ranked
scoring defense (61.8 ppg). Johnson has been one of the more reliable guards
in the SEC this season with 14.9 ppg, but that average has dipped to just 10.2
ppg over the last five contests. Kyle Fuller (10.2 ppg) and Odom (9.7 ppg) do
their best to chip in to the lackluster scoring attack.
In a tightly contested matchup with Alabama over the weekend, Tennessee sealed
its fate on the winning side of things when a Jordan McRae bucket in the final
minute put it ahead for good. Even though the Vols were out-shot from the
field (46.7 percent to 42 percent) and made just two 3-pointers, they earned
extra possessions by dominating the offensive glass, 15-6, which led to 17
second-chance points. Much of that dirty work was done by Jarnell Stokes, who
ripped down a career-high 18 rebounds to go with 15 points for his fifth
double-double of the season. McRae also made a lasting impression with 17
points in the triumph.
Like the Commodores, the Vols play outstanding defense, yielding just 61.8 ppg
to opponents, but they too have a disappointing offensive attack (64.4 ppg).
In the seven games since the calendar has flipped to 2013, McRae has been one
of the SEC's elite scorers with 21.6 ppg, which has raised his season's
average to a team-best 14.7 ppg. Stokes is an anchor in the paint, putting up
11.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg, while Trae Golden scores 10.4 ppg and has more than
twice as many assists (74) as turnovers (35).
Odds are that these two teams are in for a defensive struggle in this one, but
with Tennessee boasting better offensive playmakers and the homecourt
advantage, it shouldn't have much of an issue dismissing the Commodores.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 64, Vanderbilt 57
01/29 10:40:21 ET
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