Prince gets tough assignment against LSU

Mitchell will force Vols to 'play smart'

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU has yet to win an SEC basketball game, but Tennessee senior J.P. Prince said he's not reading too much into that.

"I'm pretty sure they aren't going to just come out and give up,'' Prince said Wednesday. "Look at Georgia, we went there and played hard and they had their day. I expect another tough game.''

Prince, in particular, should; he'll play his share of defense against LSU's do-everything forward, 6-foot-7, 245-pound Tasmin Mitchell.

It could prove to be the key matchup for 14th-ranked UT (16-4, 4-2 SEC) against the Tigers (9-12, 0-7) at the Maravich Assembly Center tonight (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.).

Mitchell leads LSU in scoring (17.9 points per game), rebounds (9.6) and 3-point shooting (.321).

The Tigers beat the Vols last season, 79-73, in large part because Mitchell kept former UT standout Tyler Smith in check.

Prince, who is 6-7, 205 pounds, knows what to expect from Mitchell tonight.

"He'll try to post me up,'' Prince said. "Sometimes, I don't think people realize how strong I am. I'm going to make him shoot over me.''

UT coach Bruce Pearl said others will have a turn at guarding Mitchell, too.

"We're just going to have to play smart,'' Pearl said. "And we need to get off to a good start in here.''

All of LSU's victories have come at home this season.

"How do you want to go in and face a Tiger?'' Pearl said. "When he's fat and happy, or when he has a thorn in his paw? We're going to be facing an LSU team that's not very happy.''

Prince leads the Vols in most momentum-changing categories: charges drawn (16), steals (32) and career dunks (73).

"I just try to bring the energy,'' Prince said. "It's just a matter of finding ways to contribute.''

Prince has spearheaded a UT team that has become known for winning with defense, ranking second in the league in points allowed in SEC games (67.2).

The Vols are 15-1 when holding their opponent under 50 percent shooting and 14-0 when the opponent scores less than 69 points.

"You've got to scratch where it itches,'' Pearl said. "You've got to put your team in position to be successful, and you can't be stubborn with your style.''

Pearl has made a career out of winning high-scoring games, pressing tempo en route to leading his respective leagues in scoring 16 of his 17 years as a head coach.

The Vols led the SEC in scoring each of Pearl's four previous seasons, but that streak is most likely coming to an end. UT averaged 81.4 points prior to the well-documented Jan. 1 traffic stop involving four players, but it's scoring only 72.4 points in the eight games since then.

"It's different for us, and that's OK,'' he said. "We just have to become more efficient.''

The Line: Tennessee is an 8 1/2-point favorite over LSU tonight. The Vols are 1-2 as a road favorite this season, losing when they were favored by 10 1/2 at Southern Cal and when they were favored by seven at Georgia.

Family Tie: Both of Renaldo Woolridge's parents are from Mansfield, La., and father Orlando Woolridge will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in June.

Did You Know: LSU coach Trent Johnson is the only current SEC coach with a winning record (1-0) against Pearl.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 40

sandiegovolunteer writes:

Hate to say it but this is a must win- Feb is rough!

hueypilot writes:

in response to vol_fan_in_ky#1380279:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Playing over their heads but will be in the big show unless we go into a death spiral.

Ironcity writes:

We need this game in the worst of ways. Looking at the schedule going forward a death spiral is more then possible. The one easy game we have left is against UGA and they spanked us. Should be a lot of entertaining basketball over the next couple of weeks.

Does anyone have an idea when Brian Williams coming back? Has he even been working out since the incident? We could sure use his big body (as a back up)when we go to UK.

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to vol_fan_in_ky#1380279:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

NIT? No way. They have a win over the No. 1 team. Pay attention.

tneagle writes:

in response to Ironcity:

We need this game in the worst of ways. Looking at the schedule going forward a death spiral is more then possible. The one easy game we have left is against UGA and they spanked us. Should be a lot of entertaining basketball over the next couple of weeks.

Does anyone have an idea when Brian Williams coming back? Has he even been working out since the incident? We could sure use his big body (as a back up)when we go to UK.

That's what I want to know! What about Brian Williams? I think it is time to bring the big boy back. We need him especially against KY and Georgia. He could make a difference how far we go in the post season.

Orangeblood13 writes:

NIT lol

get out of here, that is just a dumb statement

Chris4Vols22 writes:

I'm not comfortable with the thought of S. Pearl guarding Mitchell.

schymtz writes:

Hey good folk, I'm all for refraining from chest-thumpin' until the games is over, the cow's in the barn and the sheep have all come home. Yes, the February schedule gives real cause for concern, but not for panic. 'Bear' Bryant used to make an Alabama game against Backwaters Tech sound like a near insurmountable task. Then when 'bama beat up on a clearly out-manned opponent, Bryant made it sound like a lucky break, a narrow escape, and only in some small way due to the performance of his team. Tennessee cannot afford that luxury against LSU. Mitchell really is good, he is weary of losing, and he's not alone, not the only bengal out there.
Back about the time that Moses parted the waters, LSU had a coach named Dale Brown. He built a monster in Baton Rouge and ended up for a few seasons usurping Tennessee's long history of staring Kentucky in the eye. LSU played those Wildcats on nearly even terms, occasionally ended up being "favored" and even winning. The point is that he did it at Tennessee's expense. He said openly that the way to build a team that can compete with the #1 team in the SEC was to beat up on the team that was considered #2. He put together LSU's longest winning streak against Tennessee.
Then there was the time that UT went to Baton Rouge with a seven foot future NBA and ABA player named Len Kosmalski. All he did was tip in a missed free throw to beat the Bengals by one. That's one of the few times I've seen that "hit the first, intentionally miss the second" stratagy pay off! But as I remember it, Tennessee was playing for overtime and there was nothing intentional about it.
I think UT's loss agaist Georgia was more a combination of how badly they wanted Tennessee and possible over-confidence on Tennessee's part that led UT to underestimate and frankly disrespect the opposition based on Georgia's record. That same kind of failure to respect an opponent helped UT against Kansas and cost KU dearly. I doubt KU will overlook an 'undermanned' squad again this season.
Yes, Brian Williams' return could be a real blessing and I heard on these boards that he was back in practice with the team. Then again, I've heard a lot on these boards.... Brian Williams is a VOL. He has made real contributions and shown real basketball progress during his time at UT. He might be needed to pull off a Kosmalski.

GO VOLS! BEAT LSU!

sandiegovolunteer writes:

Let's just say this happens 16-4 now
w lsu
w sc
L at vandy
L vs ky
w vs GA
L at sc
L at fl
L vs ky
w vs ark
l vs ms st

l in sec would put us at 20-11 - should get in dance with those numbers- but if we lose one or two of those wins and end up 18-13 hmm- could be NIT. That seems crazy because right now we would be a 4 seed.

schymtz writes:

in response to sandiegovolunteer:

Let's just say this happens 16-4 now
w lsu
w sc
L at vandy
L vs ky
w vs GA
L at sc
L at fl
L vs ky
w vs ark
l vs ms st

l in sec would put us at 20-11 - should get in dance with those numbers- but if we lose one or two of those wins and end up 18-13 hmm- could be NIT. That seems crazy because right now we would be a 4 seed.

Sounds realistically pessimistic. I suspect this UT team will win one or two or three that they aren't 'sposed to and probably drop at least one they aren't expected to lose. That's why I never bet for or against the VOLs - except with my heart. I really think UT will have a 20-game win season this side of the SEC tourny and may have to win there to go to the dance.

CuccessfulVol writes:

in response to vol_fan_in_ky#1380279:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're and idiot. We have legit chance to finish 2nd in the east and possibly win in the SEC tourney if we get our chemistry/rhythm by then. We could be an elite 8 team if we are fortunate with game matchups in thebig bracket. Just becuase you thought this years original lineup was really good, doesnt mean CBP can't coach up this one to be one of the best.

JaxVol5 writes:

in response to vol_fan_in_ky#1380279:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you kidding me? We lose a tough game to Georgia because we underestimated them and your ready to mapquest your route to the NIT location? What a joke

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CuccessfulVol:

You're and idiot. We have legit chance to finish 2nd in the east and possibly win in the SEC tourney if we get our chemistry/rhythm by then. We could be an elite 8 team if we are fortunate with game matchups in thebig bracket. Just becuase you thought this years original lineup was really good, doesnt mean CBP can't coach up this one to be one of the best.

I tend to agree. We see them all the time and we have seen them lose a game or two they shouldn't have, so we pick their flaws to pieces. I have seen all the SEC teams play, and many other ranked teams around the country. Believe me, I haven't seen one "unbeatable" team anywhere this year. The Vols absolutely can't afford to fool around with anybody, but barring a catastrophic injury or two, I think the Vols should win at least 20 this year and make the Big Dance with no problem. After that, who knows? It's all about match-ups then and we just might get lucky and/or catch fire and do some real damage.

John_10065 writes:

in response to vol_fan_in_ky#1380279:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Being a NCAA bound team isn't just about the talent on the court. It's also about the heart of the players and the fact they can play as a team.

Give me 5 starters and 3 to 4 bench players who will play as a team with commitment to the system and faith in the coaches and they will win against "star" players without heart or team comradery.

I think the core of this team is sound. I am concerned that they tend to start slow. Being slow starting, against certain teams they will never be able to come back (UK worries me). I am also concerned about being able to shut down clutch players, we need to be more consistant at that.

One bright spot that I haven't seen any comments about is the recent upsurge in UT free throw percentage. It's been a joke for several years. As an opposing coach I would have been fouling all the time but now they can't depend upon UT to shoot less than 70% from the line every night. It still needs work but it's looking like it might turn the corner.

The chaos that has been the season off the court might prove to work for us. The players on the court sure seemed to react positively from it.

wildcatbasketball writes:

GOOD LUCK vols!!

volsn3 writes:

Foul shots will win or loose this game...Over under 50% free throws....over we win by 5...under we lose in a close one...Give it your all for Tennessee tonight guys....It's Time

kb7398#233189 writes:

They have a career tally for dunks...another sign the end of the world is near...

schymtz writes:

Another slow start...Must be waiting for ESPN before starting to play!

wildcatbasketball writes:

How many fans are at this game??? looks like 8,000 max

wildcatbasketball writes:

LSU is TERRIBLE

wildcatbasketball writes:

Great game!!! any posters out there watching the #14 VOLS?.I respect the vols but...WOW...no offense to any vol fans..

schymtz writes:

Lazy, sloppy ball. Playin' down to the opposition? Impatient, not going inside. Way too many missed 3's. Poor shooting from anywhere. It's not like UT is up against the strongest D in the SEC. Chism isn't so much blocking shots as just taking it away.

wildcatbasketball writes:

16 points..LSU...impressive

wildcatbasketball writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Plastican--Agree...I did not want to say that as a KY fan because I would get bashed...I was thinking the same thing. I do not come on here to bash but...if UT is #14 in the nation?? enough said.

Again no offense to anyone but it is what it is..

Madkels writes:

If the first half is an indication of how we are going to play, I will not be watching the upcoming road games against Vandy and UK. We should be up by 25. Horrible play against a terrible team. STOP SHOOTIN' 3'S!!!! Get it inside !! This team is so frustrating to watch!

schymtz writes:

Shhhhhhhh! Don't tell anybody, but JP committed a foul on a 3. He was playin' some better before that.

schymtz writes:

My word! Leads down to 8, crowd's yellin'...UT turnover.

wildcatbasketball writes:

in response to schymtz:

My word! Leads down to 8, crowd's yellin'...UT turnover.

no worries...53 will be enough against this team

kcpboarder writes:

I love the Vols, but we are such a dumb team when it comes to knowing when to take shots and when not... I mean I really don't think Woolridge should be shooting threes off of a timeout with a few minutes to go...Oh yeah, J.P. Prince keeps his streak alive fouling guys shooting 3's...That A'boy J.P.!!

volsn3 writes:

free throws win....Kentucky will kill us....then again so was Kansas suppose to...i will take a win but it is not looking good the next three games

schymtz writes:

in response to wildcatbasketball:

no worries...53 will be enough against this team

Uh-huh.

wildcatbasketball writes:

#14 Vols pull it out....No offense Vol fans but that was UGLY....still pulling for them but there is NO way that this team is #14 in the country...If so we have a TON of teams that are not really good!!

Cats may score as many in the 1st half Saturday as UT did for the entire game...LSU is a bad basketball team and anyone should recognize that...I don't mean this in a bad way but I call it as I see it!!!

schymtz writes:

I hope it is possible to learn from this without an absolutely impossible and humiliating "L."At least FOUR times, when the lead dropped under 10, UT gave them back the ball. The last time ALMOST cost the Vols more that they should have had to pay. Playing down to the level of the opposition is a common enough phenemona in basketball, but it almost turned into a winning stratagy for LSU: Lull them to sleep in order to be there in the end. SLOW starts and untimely unneeded 3 shots are a character defects of this team. If UT had won by 15or 20, there would not be much relief. Baton Rough is a long way to travel for a half-hearted pick-up game. LSU shot 30%.

wildcatbasketball writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Plasticman...C'mon...I think KY should be ranked higher than #4 personally...Yeah we got beat by SC and I stated that we deserved to get beat!!! But you cannot tell me that UT is a #14 team? Yes they did beat Kansas, and I applaud them for that!! But how have they played lately? Did you watch this game tonight?

I am not trying to get into a back and forth post with you because I respect your opinion but there is no way that UT is the #14 team in the country.

We cool?...

schymtz writes:

[Take a deep breath} The best teams bring out the best in the opposition. Weaker teams frequently bring out the worst, and I hope we've seen the worst in this UT team for the last time this year. UT did not bring out the best in LSU. What the team may have picked up tonight was not a loss but a great big target on their backs.

volsn3 writes:

this team plays better undermanned...the rotation is killing us...stop the rotation and send in guys when someone does something really stupid...let them learn on the bench...as far as UT and UK and the rankings....dont mean that much in march if you don't win....UK will mop the floor with TN atleast once but they are young and will show it at tourney time....Vols are veterened and will show it at tourney time...again..one and done in the SEC tourney and one maybe two in NCAA....if SC can beat the Cats, anybody in the NCAA tourney can beat them

saban_is_satan writes:

Congradulations j.p. You have the award for the dumbest player in d-1 b-ball. When game gets under 4 minutes he should be benched no questions asked he, out of control, fouls late game situations, and worst of all can't hit a @#$%ing foul shot!!!! We would have iced the kansas game well before we did there is no reason for this s@#t!!!!!

schymtz writes:

Don DeVoe was at the Florida game in Knoxville, Dale Brown was in attendance tonight. I hope they enjoyed themselves. They both provided some good times for fans. By the way, if I was voting, I'd rank UK #2 and UT somewhere in the top 20.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to John_10065:

Being a NCAA bound team isn't just about the talent on the court. It's also about the heart of the players and the fact they can play as a team.

Give me 5 starters and 3 to 4 bench players who will play as a team with commitment to the system and faith in the coaches and they will win against "star" players without heart or team comradery.

I think the core of this team is sound. I am concerned that they tend to start slow. Being slow starting, against certain teams they will never be able to come back (UK worries me). I am also concerned about being able to shut down clutch players, we need to be more consistant at that.

One bright spot that I haven't seen any comments about is the recent upsurge in UT free throw percentage. It's been a joke for several years. As an opposing coach I would have been fouling all the time but now they can't depend upon UT to shoot less than 70% from the line every night. It still needs work but it's looking like it might turn the corner.

The chaos that has been the season off the court might prove to work for us. The players on the court sure seemed to react positively from it.

You have a point there, but it is very much a matter of WHO is shooting the free-throws. I feel pretty confident whenever Chism, Maze, Hopson, and McBee go to the line. The others, not so much. In last night's game, I was absolutely aghast when JP took the ball to the basket with a couple of minutes to go and at least 16 seconds on the shot-clock instead of working it a bit more to get it to Wayne, who was not only unstoppable on the block but was also nailing his free-throws. Predictably, JP got fouled, promptly bricked his free-throw, and THEN fouled a three-point shooter. As long as the team either doesn't know or doesn't care who the free-throw shooters are, and keep the ball in THEIR hands late in close games, we can lose to anybody.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to saban_is_satan:

Congradulations j.p. You have the award for the dumbest player in d-1 b-ball. When game gets under 4 minutes he should be benched no questions asked he, out of control, fouls late game situations, and worst of all can't hit a @#$%ing foul shot!!!! We would have iced the kansas game well before we did there is no reason for this s@#t!!!!!

Agree completely! JP must have cost us at LEAST 10 points in the last four minutes or so. One of these days, watching JP is going to give me a heart attack! My wife was taking a bath when she heard me screaming at the TV; she rushed out, dripping, to see if I was all right. I told her I'm still alive, but sometimes JP takes the joy out of it(;-P)!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features