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Tennessee preview

A typical Tennessee fan.

Saturday’s noon matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers will likely be subdued from the usual hype which surrounds the biannual matchup. It’s no surprise the Vols are struggling this season in the wake of Bruce Pearl’s tumultuous departure from Knoxville. Cuonzo Martin has taken the helm after a less-than-stellar two-season career at Missouri State, and has led his team to an 8-8 start. The team fell last night at Mississippi State after having a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds.

Regardless, Tennessee’s struggles still should not take away from the rivalry factor on the court. Kentucky cannot overlook the Volunteers; last week they pulled off the upset over Florida, and even in a loss, the MSU game likely has built momentum. This could very easily be a trap game for the Cats. And considering the battle it took for Kentucky to win on the road at Auburn, well, I think you get the point. And don’t forget the incentive Tennessee may have as payback for ending the streak. I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.

This is no contest on paper, Kentucky has the athletes to beat this Volunteers team going away. The Big Blue just needs to put it all together and look like a cohesive unit; we didn’t see that until that last several minutes in Auburn

To get you ready for the game at Tennessee here’s a quick preview of the two teams.

(stats via

Tennessee (8-8, 1-1 SEC)

RPI: 199

SOS: 123

vs. Top-25: 1-2

Best wins: vs. Florida

Bad losses: vs. Austin Peay, at Oakland

Kentucky (16-1, 2-0 SEC)

RPI: 8

SOS: 89

vs. Top-25: 3-1

Best wins: vs. Kansas, vs. North Carolina

Bad losses: None

Note: It’s tough to decide who Cuonzo Martin is going to start on Saturday. Here’s my best guess.

PG: Marquis Teague vs. Trae Golden

Marquis Teague is slowing molding himself into a real point guard and should be able to hold down the Sophomore Trae Golden, who is more of a shooter than Teague. He had 20 points last night against MSU, and shot 4-6 from behind the arc. You cannot overlook this young Tennessee point guard; he’s shooting better, assisting more, and turning the ball over less than Kentucky’s. This is probably Tennessee’s best player on the floor. The one thing Golden lacks is the play making ability and instinct to drive the lane. While Golden’s numbers may look a little better, Teague has the flashiness — if he can just finish at the rim.

SG: Doron Lamb vs. Cameron Tatum

Cameron Tatum is the last of the headband era in Tennessee, and a grizzled veteran on the Volunteers squad, this his fifth season on the team. If you had to assign this team a “Mr. Do-It-All” like Kentucky’s Kidd-Gilchrist, Tatum would be Tennessee’s. He’s got a big body and has the ability to go anywhere on the court (keyword: ability), but he’s sort of under-performing for his age. In fact, he didn’t score a single point against the Bulldogs last night. Lamb will probably get a lot of touches, but there is a significant size difference here and if guarded on tight man-to-man, he may not get a lot of open looks in the half court set. Lamb will need to create in transition and be waiting in the wing for open three’s.

SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Jordan McRae

Oh boy, this one’s not even close. I doubt there is a single defender in the country who can hold down Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and if there were, it’s certainly not going to be Jordan McRae. No offense to you Mr. McRae, but I’d get out of the way. Kidd-Gilchrist will have more points, rebounds, steals, (and maybe turnovers but that’s okay) than McRae and I’d just about take that to the bank.

PF: Terrence Jones vs. Jeronne Maymon

The conundrum that is Terrence Jones is still being worked out by many fans and media members. Which side of Jones will we get — the reemerging star we saw last week against South Carolina or, to some degree, Auburn on Wednesday? Or the sulking injured one? Jones and Maymon matchup statistically fairly evenly, both are averaging 11 points per game and shooting a low free throw percentage. The edge off the glass goes to Maymon, but consider Jones missed a pair of games earlier, and Anthony Davis is kind of a rebound vacuum. This will be a great test for Terrence Jones, a physical SEC body to challenge him to play up the to hype. I hope Jones is prepared to get pushed around. Watch this one-on-one closely, Big Blue Nation. We should learn a lot about which Terrence Jones we’ll see going forward.

C: Anthony Davis vs. Kenny Hall

Kenny Hall doesn’t shoot much and barely manages seven points and five rebounds per game, and has 18 blocks on the season. #AnthonyDavisSaysShutUp. The one thing the Volunteers have to do to beat Kentucky is work the ball through Hall, as they did against Florida last week and what Auburn did through Ron Chubb in the middle. That’s obviously no easy task and starts with guard play – which Tennessee doesn’t have a lot of. Hall may be one of the weaker big men in the SEC in terms of both size and production. Maybe we see Davis finally gets the elusive triple-double on Saturday. The Brow comes to play.

Mustache: Adam Morrison vs. Skylar McBee

I don’t even


Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

20 Comments for Tennessee preview

  1. Tdizz
    2:03 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Slowing molding himself… Check your work before you submit it

  2. Don
    2:07 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    The year is 2016 and the United States has just elected the first woman president who happens to be from Kentucky. A few days after the election the president-elect, whose name is Debra, calls her father and says, “So, Dad, I assume you will be coming to my inauguration?”

    “I don’t think so. It’s a 10 hour drive.”

    “Don’t worry about it, Dad; I’ll send Air Force One. And a limousine will pick you up at your door.”

    “I don’t know. Everybody will be so fancy. What would your mother wear?”

    “Oh, Dad,” replies Debra, ‘I’ll make sure she has a wonderful gown custom-made by the best designer in Washington.”

    “Honey,” Dad complains, “you know I can’t eat those rich foods you eat.”

    The President-to-be responds, ” Don’t worry, Dad. The entire affair will be handled by the best caterer in Washington; I’ll ensure your meals are salt free. You and mom just have to be there.”

    So Dad reluctantly agrees, and on January 20, 2017, Debra is being sworn in as President of the United States. In the front row sits the new president’s dad and mom.

    Dad, noticing the senator sitting next to him, leans over and whispers, “You see that woman over there with her hand on the Bible, becoming President of the United States?”

    The Senator whispers back, “You bet I do.”

    Dad says proudly, “Her brother played basketball for Kentucky.”

  3. cstapes
    2:13 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Interesting that Tennessee has its’ players wear their “going to court” clothes for their individual pics.

  4. macon_volfan
    2:19 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    McRae won’t start. Martin has been going with Richardson for defense. Also Swiperboy Woolridge has been starting over Kenny Hall.

    Both lineup changes have actually worked pretty well for Martin and the Vols.

  5. macon_volfan
    2:19 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    #3-yes. Black men only wear suits to court.

  6. Raleigh Cat Fan
    2:20 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Don, what are you talking about?

  7. cristoforouk
    2:26 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Who says Lamb will be back in the starting lineup?

  8. macon_volfan
    2:36 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Martin is not ‘thinking’ of playing Stokes (and his size 20 shoes) against UK tomorrow. I’m surprised by that, actually. Can’t hurt for a short stretch, I don’t think.

  9. macon_volfan
    2:37 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    oops—I meant that Martin is NOW thinking of playing Stokes. Sorry for the double post!

  10. bbn
    3:00 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Can we please stop leaving Miller out!?!

  11. Hard Hittin' CAT
    3:13 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Eat a pumpkin pie, drink a 20 oz. Mt. Dew.
    Take two shots of ipecac and stand in a room with white carpet.

    Once you’re done hurling all over the carpet realize that’s Tennessee, a God awful color of puke orange and nothing anybody wants any part of.

    GO CATS!!!

  12. KD
    3:16 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    The bashing of both Marquis Teague and Terrence Jones is ,er, has gotten old. They are both playing well enough now and getting better as the season progresses, just what you want to see. The nice thing about having so much talent on one team is that any one individual does not have to play his perfect game for the team to succeed. In fact it is impossible, there is only so much to go around.Teague finishes at the rim as well as any point guard I can remember. It may not be a dunkfest everytime, but the ball usually goes in. Terrence truly has a new (evolving)role on this team. He does not have to provide the lion’s share of inside scoring like he did last year. I look for his passing game to come around and really take this team to another level. Some of you knuckleheads act like you’ve never had a bad day/week/month…I’d guess a lot of you doing the bashing have had a bad life. Support your Cats through thick and thin….all of them.

  13. CATS
    3:29 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    12.) Thank you, KSR needs to quit holding on to bashing them so they have something to talk about. Just support the team we all liked that

  14. Phillips
    3:44 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Golden has to be a good player. At one time he was being recruited by Billy Clyde to come to UK. And we all know CBC is a great evaluator of talent.

  15. Jacob
    4:09 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    except adam Morrison is actually good at basketnall

  16. BaconVolfan
    4:13 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Golden and Kenny Hall shared ties. Is that a violation?

  17. Stevie Janowski
    4:27 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Adam Morrison easily. Best stache and hair combo

  18. Lee
    7:11 pm January 13, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah throw in a couple pics of white guys to make fun of. I’m sure you made Matt and Drew proud.

  19. Brandon
    12:31 am January 14, 2012 Permalink

    Skylar: “Hey Coach….you gonna let me start man?”
    Coach Martin: “I don’t think so Skylar.”
    Skylar: “Be a lot cooler if you did……allriiiiigghhhttttt…”

  20. HuntsVegas
    6:12 am January 14, 2012 Permalink

    yeah this site bashes players too much………..