Nine-game win streak at stake against South Carolina

Vols haven't lost to S. Carolina since 2007

Cuonzo Martin recaps the Vols' win over Georgia

No one on Tennessee's men's basketball team has lost to South Carolina.

Not even fifth-year senior Cam Tatum, and that's including the 2007-08 season he redshirted.

"Really? I had no idea until you just told me," said Tatum, who's six points shy of becoming the 44th UT player to score 1,000 points in a career. "I just know South Carolina always plays us tough, and we expect the same thing (tonight)."

UT's winning streak against the Gamecocks has stretched to nine games as the two teams prepare to play Wednesday (TV: MyVLT, 8 p.m.) at Thompson-Boling Arena.

South Carolina (9-13, 1-7 SEC) hasn't defeated UT (11-12, 3-5) since winning 81-64 on Feb. 17, 2007, in Columbia. But coach Darrin Horn has a more pressing streak to end, as the Gamecocks have dropped three straight since beating Alabama 56-54 on Jan. 25.

While Horn has likely been trying to figure out which Vols lineup to prepare for — there are hints of another change of starters tonight — UT coach Cuonzo Martin has worked to figure out South Carolina's confounding match-up zone defense.

"They trap from the top, they trap from the wings...they'll trap the guard coming up and they trap in the corners," Martin said. "Bottom line, this is a hungry team we're facing, and we have to be ready to protect our home court.

"South Carolina is competing and playing hard. When you're fighting for your life, that's how you should play."

Martin said the Vols are just "fighting to be a good team."

As for solving the Gamecocks' defense, Martin said UT will need to shoot a good percentage from the perimeter.

Tatum said shooters like the notion of playing against any kind of zone look.

"You hear zone, and your eyes light up and you get excited," Tatum said. "When a team plays zone you can look at it as they don't have the people to play you in man, or you can take it as an insult that they don't think you can shoot and use that for motivation."

In this case, both theories might apply. South Carolina's defense has hardly been stellar, allowing opponents to shoot 44.5 percent from the floor and 38.3 percent from 3-point range.

The Vols, meanwhile, haven't exactly set the nets afire in SEC play, shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

UT point guard Trae Golden said it will be his job to get his teammates better shots against the Gamecocks' zone look.

"For me, it's getting in those seams and getting the ball to Jeronne (Maymon) or Jarnell (Stokes), or finding one of our shooters," said Golden, who after getting benched for the Georgia game could start tonight. "I'm sure they'll tilt it (zone) toward me at times, too."

Golden's 10 made 3-pointers lead UT in SEC action, and he's hitting at an acceptable 37-percent clip.

In a match-up zone, defenders can stay in their assigned area of coverage and "switch" who they cover, or other times, against certain players, they'll "chase" and allow their previous area of coverage to be assumed by a teammate.

It can all get very confusing to try to follow, but Martin said if the Vols stick with their principles, they'll be fine.

Regardless of how UT chooses to attack the unique defense, Stokes said it's imperative the Vols get the win.

"I think we're done rebuilding, and it's about time we make some moves toward our goals," Stokes said. "We've got a good team here."

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 26

BleednUrnge81 writes:

I think if Trey Golden will be a point guard and not a shooting guard, he would put up better numbers. I beleive we need to recruit a point guard and have golden play the 2 instead, it seems to be his natural position. Down low there is no issue, Maymon and Stokes are in beast-mode down there. Skylar McStash needs to hit a few more 3's. I do like that coach martin wants to try more 3's, we will need them down the strech. If south carolina can beat alabubba, then we sure as hell can. If we win out, including the sec tournament, then we would get a default invitation to the big dance, courtesy of the conference championship. We could do that if we play as a complete team, we can't have any question marks come tournament time. GO BIG ORANGE :)

born2ride writes:

Even Martin can beat South Carolina at home.

givehim6 writes:

Can UT get it's first SEC win streak this year? GO VOLS!

IBAVolFan writes:

in response to born2ride:

Even Martin can beat South Carolina at home.

But would struggle to win on the road. The SEC seems to be down this year, with expection to Kentucky, Florida and Vandy?.

IBAVolFan writes:

in response to IBAVolFan:

But would struggle to win on the road. The SEC seems to be down this year, with expection to Kentucky, Florida and Vandy?.

exception.

CapStormfield_1 (Inactive) writes:

in response to IBAVolFan:

exception.

Looks to me like the whole SEC is down this year - with the exception of UK. Anyway, something happened during the LSU game, because since then the 'Cats are playing 'lights-out' bb.

wigmeister writes:

Win streaks! So tired of hearing about win streaks. Do you know how many win streaks ended this year in football and both basketball programs. Screw win streaks!

UT4prez writes:

I'm looking forward to the SEC tourney but we won't beat UK if we run into them there. They are much better now than the team that came to Knoxville and of course we won't be playing in TBA. If someone else takes them down we would have a chance to win it all. I think Vandy may have the best chance to beat UK but Arkansas played them tough in Rupp and if UF is hitting from the outside they can beat anyone. The NIT is much more realistic and still quite a challenge for this team. I would be ecstatic if they got there. That would in no way be a disappointment. Go Vols!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

let it go already

AFTiger writes:

The Vols will defeat the Gamecocks--no problem. I predict the Vols will easily win 13 games this year, maybe 14. They'll finish 13-18 or 14-17 to earn a birth to a year-end scrimmage against the Lady Vols.

dwa7#337691 writes:

early predict:

UT 69
SC 61

dvols writes:

Not even Kentucky can boast of such a streak....

underthehill writes:

Golden playing fewer minutes seemed to help him have more energy to play with intensity and finish..hope to see the same tonight...

underthehill writes:

in response to AFTiger:

The Vols will defeat the Gamecocks--no problem. I predict the Vols will easily win 13 games this year, maybe 14. They'll finish 13-18 or 14-17 to earn a birth to a year-end scrimmage against the Lady Vols.

I think this team has progressed to a point where they can win some games they are not expected to win if they can finish the last five minutes when the pressure is on...that is when they need Golden to be strong with the ball and limit his turnovers...they still have a chance to surprise some folks..

Bubba_Knows writes:

How bad is South Carolina?

Bubba_Knows writes:

Tatum is only 6 points away. He might be able to get there in the next 3 to 4 games. LOL

dcap8424 writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The banner's already there. They can add another year to it though. Do you really think they hang a whole banner for every NIT or NCAA tourney they make? Have you ever been there? This is no different than any other school in the country that I've seen.

brod writes:

a nine game win streak against the south carolina teams or recent years is nothing to be proud of. as for the nit, i would be very happy with an nit bid this year. why are there so many uk fans posting on here. isn't uk the most prominent basketball program in the country? why are you posting on such a lesser team's site????i think you fags need to come out of the closet and admit that you are really ut fans. as for you uk fans who post good feedback on here, keep posting. i'm just singling out the fags.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

TENNESSEE 65 - South Carolina 62
UT's first-year mentor Cuonzo Martin continues to search for some Volunteers who can nail the perimeter shot with some regularity, as top scorer G Trae Golden is a not-so-golden single-digit scoring in three of last five games! Hence, UT likely to be hard-pressed to shake off hard-working, developing South Carolina, which had covered 3 straight as underdog prior to running into the Kentucky bulldozer last Saturday. UT won't easily establish any low post game vs. the Gamecocks' emerging "bigs" 6-9 soph Damonte Harris & highly-acclaimed 6-8 frosh F Anthony Gill (combined 23 pts. & 13 rebounds vs. Florida last Thursday), while tough-as-nails mate 6-7 sr. ex-Nevada transfer F Malik Cooke (12.7 pg, 5 rpg, 2 spg) continues to supply solid leadership on and off the court. As with both meetings LY, this one decided late.
Note..we will see two up and coming frosh in a great matchup between Gill and Stokes (both 6'8). This will be a nice measurement for Stokes and his ability vs another frosh of equal size.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to IBAVolFan:

But would struggle to win on the road. The SEC seems to be down this year, with expection to Kentucky, Florida and Vandy?.

Down compared to what? They are currently projecting 5 teams in. Could be 6. They have owned the Big East and ACC. The ACC is horrific once again outside of those two schools. 2 of the top 5 in attendance come from the SEC. The 2nd best ACC team was destroyed by Florida. UK beat the best ACC team. USC beat Clemson. Ole Miss beat Miami and Penn State. Alabama beat GT, MD and Purdue. Vanderbilt beat NCSU and Marquette. Miss State beat Texas A&M, Arizona and WVU. LSU beat Marquette. Georgia beat Notre Dame. You grass is always greener crowd never look into facts.

Roll on SEC in spite of the morons.

hikerdude writes:

The only way we go to the NCAA tournament is to win the SEC tournament, and that ain't gonna happen. Even though I think our team is improving, there is no way we can improve enough to beat Ky. They really put a whipping on Fla last night.

UT4prez writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe that was Bama that played UK tough at Rupp. Too many teams with red and white! I agree NIT is the best realistically. I know you are attempting a slam with your banner comment but I would be proud of an NIT appearance this year. This isn't life or death. It's basketball and this team plays hard and has been competitive in all games with a couple of exceptions. I have been frustrated with them at times like everyone else but believe Coach Martin has them heading in the right direction. Now don't go running looking for scores to quote in an attempt to refute my point. It isn't worth the time.

I forget who posted about our bright spots but watch out for McRae next year. My gut is telling me he may have a breakout season. Either that or my burrito is not sitting well.

GONAVY writes:

in response to UT4prez:

I'm looking forward to the SEC tourney but we won't beat UK if we run into them there. They are much better now than the team that came to Knoxville and of course we won't be playing in TBA. If someone else takes them down we would have a chance to win it all. I think Vandy may have the best chance to beat UK but Arkansas played them tough in Rupp and if UF is hitting from the outside they can beat anyone. The NIT is much more realistic and still quite a challenge for this team. I would be ecstatic if they got there. That would in no way be a disappointment. Go Vols!

I would only give Vanderbilt a 1 in 5 chance of upsetting UK in Memorial. Florida is a better bet in Gainesville after the embarassment UK laid on them last night; then again, not sure anyone in the conference will beat UK.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to GONAVY:

I would only give Vanderbilt a 1 in 5 chance of upsetting UK in Memorial. Florida is a better bet in Gainesville after the embarassment UK laid on them last night; then again, not sure anyone in the conference will beat UK.

The only team in the conference that can beat Kentucky is Kentucky.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Down compared to what? They are currently projecting 5 teams in. Could be 6. They have owned the Big East and ACC. The ACC is horrific once again outside of those two schools. 2 of the top 5 in attendance come from the SEC. The 2nd best ACC team was destroyed by Florida. UK beat the best ACC team. USC beat Clemson. Ole Miss beat Miami and Penn State. Alabama beat GT, MD and Purdue. Vanderbilt beat NCSU and Marquette. Miss State beat Texas A&M, Arizona and WVU. LSU beat Marquette. Georgia beat Notre Dame. You grass is always greener crowd never look into facts.

Roll on SEC in spite of the morons.

It is common to hear comments like this when your team is down. Ah, the SEC is down really says, we suck this year.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to GONAVY:

I would only give Vanderbilt a 1 in 5 chance of upsetting UK in Memorial. Florida is a better bet in Gainesville after the embarassment UK laid on them last night; then again, not sure anyone in the conference will beat UK.

People never study stats before they speak. Kentucky has been a horrible road team this season at one time covering the Vegas spread 1 of 9 away. The reason is Kentucky scores 82 ppg at home but that drops to only 67 ppg scored away from Rupp. Vandy has only allowed 64ppg at home this season. So Kentucky could easily fall to the oldest and most experienced team in the SEC at home with the youngest SEC team on the road. Vandy went 9-1 until they lost two SEC road games to Arkansas who is 16-0 at home and Miss State who Vandy led by 11 points. Kentucky is a completely different team away, and the benches on the end could really upset the young players who need coaching. It will be a low scoring slug fest and close either way.

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