Melvin Goins' statistics in Tennessee's 75-53 victory over LSU on Wednesday night hardly seemed significant. In fact, you might contend that nothing was significant against an opponent as feeble as LSU.
You show up. You win. You move on.
It's a three-step process that will be executed repeatedly against the Tigers this SEC basketball season.
But in UT's case - and Goins', in particular - don't dismiss what happened at Thompson-Boling Arena as merely another example of the haves beating up on the have-nots.
The Vols needed to play a good game against a bad team, just to break a trend if nothing else. And Goins needs to play well against everyone if this team is to distinguish itself in March.
The team and the point guard both rose above the competition, which could have been subdued with only slightly more exertion than required for your average shoot-around. If they can avoid overlooking LSU, perhaps they can maintain their edge through the supposedly cushy westward swing of their upcoming schedule.
Up next is Ole Miss on Saturday in Oxford. Then come Auburn and Alabama. The threesome already has combined for 27 losses.
If the Vols can maintain the consistency that too often has eluded them, they should win all three games. If so, they could be playing for first place when they take on Kentucky in Lexington - and coach Bruce Pearl returns from SEC-imposed exile.
Goins will have a huge say in whether the Vols pull it off.
He might not be as smooth as the prototypical point guard. He might not bring fans to their feet with dazzling passes. But his value is becoming increasingly more evident, especially in light of the last two games.
In last Saturday's loss to eighth-ranked Connecticut, he was UT's best player. And it wasn't close. He had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. He also had the lead role in his team's defense of Kemba Walker, who scored a season-low 16 points, nine below his average.
Goins' performance was consistent with his caliber of play against ranked opponents. In UT's last three games against ranked opponents, Goins has averaged 16.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.
"It's a challenge to be on the floor with great players," he said. "I try to rise to the occasion."
This just in: LSU isn't ranked, and if it has any great players, they're well disguised.
But while the competition dropped off drastically, Goins didn't. He had 11 points, six assists and no turnovers in 22 minutes.
He realized the relevance of back-to-back good games.
"Once you come off a good game, you want to try to get yourself going to be more confident throughout the game," he said. "I think hitting that first shot was big for me."
Some of Goins' gains have been more subtle. Last week, Pearl pointed out that Goins' penetration sometimes was leaving him too close to the basket, which could thwart the offense as well as transition defense.
You didn't see that against either UConn or LSU.
"It's something I've been conscious of, going back and watching film," Goins said. "I'm trying to learn from my mistakes. I think I'm playing more under control."
Goins already was advanced in other areas. Few point guards can match his strength. His strength and tenacity are apparent whenever he's within striking distance of a loose ball. Once he clutches the ball, he rarely finishes second in a tug o' war.
"I think it's 'will,' " he said. "If it's a 50-50 ball, whoever wants it the most gets that ball.
"I do think I'm stronger than most guards I'm matched up with, thanks to (assistant strength and conditioning coach) Troy Wills. He's got me right."
Maybe Goins can do the same for his team down the stretch.