ROCHESTER, Mich. — Oakland coach Greg Kampe believes Tennessee compares favorably to Alabama and Arkansas in men's basketball, despite the fact his team lost to those schools and beat the Vols.
The Golden Grizzlies (4-2) beat Tennessee (3-3) on Monday night, 89-81, winning their fourth consecutive game this season. Oakland opened the season on the road with losses at Alabama (74-57) and at Arkansas (91-68).
"(Tennessee) is as athletic as Alabama and Arkansas, and I think they shoot the ball probably better than either of those two teams shoot it,'' Kampe said following Monday night's game. "I don't know if they are as good defensively as Alabama; I think Alabama might be one of the best defensive teams in the country, although they play at a slow pace.
"The difference between (Alabama and Tennessee) is JaMychal Green. I don't see one of those guys on Tennessee's team.''
Kampe said that venue and the stage of the season the games were played affected the outcomes.
"One of the things is we played Tennessee here and not there,'' Kampe said. "We've played a few games now, and those games (Alabama and Arkansas) were our first two games of the year. The makeup of our team has changed ... it's a work in progress.''
Kampe said Green was clearly the best player among the three teams, and he believes the Razorbacks' loss of forward Marshawn Powell to a season-ending knee injury is "gonna really affect them.''
Kampe said he respected Vols coach Cuonzo Martin for not buying out the road game with Oakland, and praised the coaching job Martin has done after losing four starters from last season's team.
"I think Tennessee is going to be a tough out at home because they can really shoot the ball,'' Kampe said. "I think Cuonzo Martin is doing a really good job for them.''
Late Night Vols: The UT team arrived at the Detroit Metro airport at approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday after its game with Oakland only to discover its charter flight was not there.
The team did not take off for it's 80-minute flight to Knoxville until 3 a.m. with a day of classes ahead.
"They all made it to class,'' Martin said Tuesday night. "This is what you do, it's what you have a scholarship to do, to play at the highest level. You have a lot of resources at the University of Tennessee. The teacher's not clapping their hands because you showed up on time, that's what you're supposed to do.''
Martin and his staff made use of the delay by watching game film at the airport.
No Excuse: UT guards Trae Golden and Jordan McRae didn't want to hear any talk about jet lag from Hawaii possibility affecting the team's performance at Oakland.
"It wasn't any of that; that's not an excuse,'' said McRae, who matched his career high with 25 points. "They played better than us. The game is over, we can't do anything about it. We're going to watch the film and prepare for Pitt.''
"Jet lag isn't an excuse; we play basketball, we travel the world, and we should come in and be ready to play every night, and we didn't get ourselves ready for tonight,'' he said after Monday's game. "We'll get back to the gym and work on what we need to work on. I don't think we hang our heads on this; it's a long season and it was a rough night for us, but we'll bounce back.''
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