Vols streaking into South Carolina

Trip to South Carolina big in SEC standings

The stakes are high for Tennessee at South Carolina tonight.

The Vols, with a victory, can match the SEC win total of last season's men's basketball team while also raising their winning streak over the Gamecocks to 11 games.

A victory tonight (TV: FSTN, 8 p.m.) in Columbiaalso would ensure UT (15-13, 7-6 SEC) is no worse than fourth in the league standings heading into the final week of the regular season. The fourth-place team in the league gets a first-round bye for the SEC tournament.

So what does first-year UT coach Cuonzo Martin have to say about all of those potential added pressures, streaks and incentives?

"Not much; it's just another game, Martin said. "We're just trying to stay focused and win one ballgame.

That was Tennessee's mindset in its most recent meeting against the Gamecocks, a 69-57 win on Feb. 8 in Thompson-Boling Arena.

The victory came in the midst of a four-game win streak that put visions of an NCAA tournament at-large berth on the minds of most every UT fan and player.

Alabama deflated that bubble by beating Tennessee 62-50 last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, however, putting the Vols' backs firmly against the wall entering tonight's action.

UT senior wing Cam Tatum, who at 0-for-12 shooting the 3-pointer on the road has a streak of his own on the line, said he can guarantee the Vols haven't overlooked last-place South Carolina (10-17, 2-11).

"We've been up and down, with highs and lows, Tatum said. "It's not like we've been overwhelming anyone we've played, so you don't overlook anyone.

"Our routine doesn't change, he said, before adding with a chuckle, "it probably should from an individual aspect.

The Vols beat the Gamecocks in the teams' first meeting by hitting 50 percent from the floor (19 of 38) and from beyond the 3-point line (10 of 20).

In addition to Tatum, Skylar McBee hasn't been the sharpest shooter the past two outings, going 0-for-6 shooting the three at Alabama and 0-for-3 in Wednesday's win over Ole Miss.

"I don't think that's a slump; oh-for-20, that's a slump, Martin said. "I don't think (McBee) defended well, that's my thing.

Martin said he doesn't anticipate any changes to the starting lineup.

Tatum, meanwhile, barely bats an eye when discussing his road shooting woes.

"Whatever it was, I tried not to think about it too much, because if you do, you're defeated before you even get started, Tatum

said. "I've been down this road many times, and I've hit big shots on the road, so I know I'm capable.

Even if the shots don't go down at South Carolina — Tatum was 0-for-5 shooting the three at Alabama — the fifth-year senior has found other ways to contribute.

"Me not making a 3-pointer on the road has nothing to do with me playing defense, rebounding, making steals or diving for loose balls, Tatum said.

Tatum was the Vols' "hustle board" team leader in the win over Ole Miss. The board, posted on the wall in the Pratt Pavilion practice facility, adds up the players' charges drawn, dives, deflections, steals, rebounds and "And One" (basket and ensuing free-throw opportunity) plays.

Tatum takes pride in being second on the team with 10 charges drawn this season.

The player leading that category with 15, Jeronne Maymon, is of the same mindset as the head coach and veteran Tatum.

"Man, we can't overlook any team, plus we're going to South Carolina, and we've struggled on the road, said Maymon, referencing UT's 1-8 record in opponents' gyms. "We have to grind every possession like it's the last one; we have to put it all together and execute everything we have practiced and seen on film and we have to pursue every loose ball, attack the rim and make our free throws.

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

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Comments » 59

oldschoolvol writes:

There are a ton of Vol alumni in the Carolinas and we all ought to try to make it to this game. There are always tickets available. Every year I drive down from Charlotte and have never had any trouble getting as many tickets as I wanted. This team is playing hard and deserves our support. It is chicken picking time in Columbia!

Flabbergasted writes:

Go Vols!

Flabbergasted writes:

in response to oldschoolvol:

There are a ton of Vol alumni in the Carolinas and we all ought to try to make it to this game. There are always tickets available. Every year I drive down from Charlotte and have never had any trouble getting as many tickets as I wanted. This team is playing hard and deserves our support. It is chicken picking time in Columbia!

I was really disappointed with the student section at the Ole Miss game Wednesday night. It was about half full. The students need to support their team.

miatatom writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

I was really disappointed with the student section at the Ole Miss game Wednesday night. It was about half full. The students need to support their team.

I guess CCM needs to stand on some tables to get their attention.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Come on VOLS! Pluck those chickens and get 'em ready for the deep fryer!

10Vol85 writes:

However unlikely, here's what I would like to see the rest of the way:

GA (H) over FL
Vandy (H) over FL
KY over FL (H)
KY (H) over Vandy
TN over SC (H)
TN over LSU (H)
TN (H) over Vandy

Not absolutely sure of the tiebreakers with the uneven scheduling but I believe that might be enough to give us the 2 seed regardless of what AL does. Maybe wish for an AL loss just to be sure. Hey, I'm not asking for much ;)

eRUPPtionBLUE writes:

For Vols STREAKING into South Carolina -

Here they come, boogie-dy, boogie-dy
There they go, boogie-dy, boogie-dy
And they ain't wearin' no clothes
Oh yes, they call them the streak
Fastest thing on 10 feet
They're just as proud as they can be
Of their anatomy
They're gonna give us a leap
Oh yes, they call them the streak
They likes to show off their physique
If there's an audience to be found
They'll be streakin' around
Invitin' public critique...
Oh yes, they call them the streak...

10Vol85 writes:

Don't look Ethel!

gerryblack writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

I was really disappointed with the student section at the Ole Miss game Wednesday night. It was about half full. The students need to support their team.

Just because one is a student doesn't mean they are bound to support their sports teams. I went to the University of Memphis and never went to any of their games because I bleed orange. GO VOLS

golfman1975 writes:

in response to 10Vol85:

Don't look Ethel!

Maybe we need to shoot for the moon...or shoot them a moon...at least 5 at a time.

BruisedOrange writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

I was really disappointed with the student section at the Ole Miss game Wednesday night. It was about half full. The students need to support their team.

I'd never thought about it, but it makes sense that the students would not be gung-ho about watching this team.

What do most of them know about basketball? They've played it on-screen and remember Bruce Pearl's high flying, action teams. I can see how 'zoMar's style wouldn't rate high on the entertainment scale of an inexperienced, casual basketball fan.

It's like taking a fan of Peyton's Colts and putting a pre-Flaco Ravens game in front of them. "Defense? Who watches defense?"

CCM plays a man's game. A serious game. Students are tired from studying and being in the library--they want some action. The weeknight choices for them are the game, a beer, or somebody's bed.

But the freshmen don't have those Pearl-era TBA expectations. They'll learn the game, and wins will bring most of 'em back.

(When I did grad work at MTSU, they had a cheerleader, lovely girl, with big... er, pom-poms. You wouldn't believe how many guys went to the basketball games just to watch her!)

SevenT writes:

South Carolina is the absolute worst team in the SEC. Coach Derrin Horn will probably be fired at the end of the season. If Tennessee can't beat this team they are much worse than their record shows.

Just Saying

iowavol writes:

"Not much; it's just another game, Martin said. "We're just trying to stay focused and win one ballgame.

Way to go coach, keep them focused on the task at hand. Keep up our intensity and we will be okay.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to 10Vol85:

Don't look Ethel!

Witch Doctor next time read story before stripping down to fig leaf and running around house in support. lol
Bones never lie.

Jakevol writes:

Long trip home if you can't beat South Carolina. They are a weak team, but then all teams can become hot, playing their best game and beat you.

UT4prez writes:

UT 65 USC 63.

You or somebody you know has become afflicted. Stop "just sayin'" before it is too late. Call 1800nosayin for help.

Just a joke. Don't call that number. No idea whose it may be.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

I agree UT is on a streak heading into S Carolina, a losing streak. The Vols have dropped 5 of the last 6 road games and score 11ppg less away than at home. One thing I always look for are teams that score 10 points or less away. These teams are pure wallet busters. I will give S Carolina a slight nod until the Vols prove they shoot on the road. 61ppg dont win many games.

10Vol85 writes:

10seVol85,
I post only occasionally. I've been around for about 3-4 years, I think. I didn't know you existed until recently. Sorry if I stepped on your name.

Record outside of conference would only matter as last resort, if that. Under the old system, you would go head to head first. In a 3-way with UF and VU under my scenario above and under the old system, we would be 3-1, Vandy 2-2, and Florida 1-3. Bringing Bama in Vandy and UT would both be 3-2, Florida 2-3, and Bama 1-2. Next, I think you would go down the line against 1st place team (each 0-2) and so forth.

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to SevenT:

South Carolina is the absolute worst team in the SEC. Coach Derrin Horn will probably be fired at the end of the season. If Tennessee can't beat this team they are much worse than their record shows.

Just Saying

Yep... And he was sittin-pretty at Western. Bummer.

SummittsCourt writes:

A road win is always a good win in the SEC. Go Vols!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gotta say all these tiebreakers and "what-ifs" make my head spin! I don't mind reading other people's speculations on all of it, but I say that if the Vols just win every game they can and do the best they can no matter what, all this post-season stuff will take care of itself. The only thing the Vols can control is how well they themselves are playing and that is where their attention and that of the fans should be focused, IMHO. What pleases me most is the progress the whole team made in climbing out of the deep dark hole the whole college basketball world consigned them to in the preseason.

RockVegas writes:

If we go in there and rebound and don't take quick jump shots we should be O.k,but it depends on what team shows up.I was looking at our road record and was thinking like we stink,and then I looked at everybody else's,and see that we aren't the only team that stinks on the road.That's kind of crazy how different teams look at home and on the road...GBO.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

I'd never thought about it, but it makes sense that the students would not be gung-ho about watching this team.

What do most of them know about basketball? They've played it on-screen and remember Bruce Pearl's high flying, action teams. I can see how 'zoMar's style wouldn't rate high on the entertainment scale of an inexperienced, casual basketball fan.

It's like taking a fan of Peyton's Colts and putting a pre-Flaco Ravens game in front of them. "Defense? Who watches defense?"

CCM plays a man's game. A serious game. Students are tired from studying and being in the library--they want some action. The weeknight choices for them are the game, a beer, or somebody's bed.

But the freshmen don't have those Pearl-era TBA expectations. They'll learn the game, and wins will bring most of 'em back.

(When I did grad work at MTSU, they had a cheerleader, lovely girl, with big... er, pom-poms. You wouldn't believe how many guys went to the basketball games just to watch her!)

You may have a point about what today's students expect in terms of entertainment at a game. I was an undergrad in the Mears era. Students turned out in droves even though his teams played a very deliberate style in the pre-shot-clock era. Turns out that most of us were just glad to see a winning Vol team. However, we didn't have every game on TV, we didn't have all the other distractions today's students have--though the main choices you listed were available even then(;-P)!--and the program wasn't coming off a relatively more exciting and successful era. I think if the Vols continue to improve and go into next season on a somewhat higher wave of expectation, student attendance will pick up along with that of the general public.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

Yep... And he was sittin-pretty at Western. Bummer.

I don't know what has happened at USCe in the Horn era. He was a real up-and-comer at Western and the Chickens were not that bad under Fogler and Odom. There is some good basketball talent in SC and adjoining states. The Vols can't afford a lapse tonight; a win might just save Horn's job for another year, while a loss will seriously blunt the Vols' post-season hopes.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I agree UT is on a streak heading into S Carolina, a losing streak. The Vols have dropped 5 of the last 6 road games and score 11ppg less away than at home. One thing I always look for are teams that score 10 points or less away. These teams are pure wallet busters. I will give S Carolina a slight nod until the Vols prove they shoot on the road. 61ppg dont win many games.

61 points wins over the 57.5 points SC is averaging at home against SEC teams.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Turn the sarcasm knob down a notch or two, OS. If you are a fan, act like it; if you are a troll, you are not very good at it.

CoverOrange writes:

Noticed something about the schedules for UT and SC. SC had the worst start of the season having to play the top 3 east teams, Florida, Vandy and Kentucky, right off the bat but got/gets to play the top 3 teams from the west Alabama, Miss St and LSU at home. UT on the other hand got all three of those west teams on the road. Kismet.

GerryOP writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Gotta say all these tiebreakers and "what-ifs" make my head spin! I don't mind reading other people's speculations on all of it, but I say that if the Vols just win every game they can and do the best they can no matter what, all this post-season stuff will take care of itself. The only thing the Vols can control is how well they themselves are playing and that is where their attention and that of the fans should be focused, IMHO. What pleases me most is the progress the whole team made in climbing out of the deep dark hole the whole college basketball world consigned them to in the preseason.

Well said! Coach Zo and this team have far exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic fan.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RockVegas:

If we go in there and rebound and don't take quick jump shots we should be O.k,but it depends on what team shows up.I was looking at our road record and was thinking like we stink,and then I looked at everybody else's,and see that we aren't the only team that stinks on the road.That's kind of crazy how different teams look at home and on the road...GBO.

Good point. Even UK has its hands full on the road. That is why road wins count for so much in NCAA selection criteria. I just hope the Vols can resist the temptation to take those quick 3-pointers, especially early. USCe has some big guys inside, so the Vols might well get some inside shots blocked early. This should NOT discourage them from going inside early and often. The more you go at shot-blockers, the more likely they will foul or get "lifted" by shot fakes. They absolutely CANNOT get caught up in trying to ring the bell from outside without trying to go inside first. The Chickens have a lot of trouble scoring themselves, so if the Vols just keep up their defensive intensity and don't give up too early on the inside game, they should be able to bring this one home.

murrayvol writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! :{) Put down the pipe.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Good point. Even UK has its hands full on the road. That is why road wins count for so much in NCAA selection criteria. I just hope the Vols can resist the temptation to take those quick 3-pointers, especially early. USCe has some big guys inside, so the Vols might well get some inside shots blocked early. This should NOT discourage them from going inside early and often. The more you go at shot-blockers, the more likely they will foul or get "lifted" by shot fakes. They absolutely CANNOT get caught up in trying to ring the bell from outside without trying to go inside first. The Chickens have a lot of trouble scoring themselves, so if the Vols just keep up their defensive intensity and don't give up too early on the inside game, they should be able to bring this one home.

Good advice johnlg....excepting Rupp Arena. No foul will be called (on the boys in blue) unless blood is drawn.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Am I showing my age if I look at the title of this article and say, "What? They're naked?"

Go Vols!! Give 'em all ya got!!

FanNotSheep writes:

Tomorrow's headline: "Gamecocks come up short, Vols' streak grows to 11"

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Turn the sarcasm knob down a notch or two, OS. If you are a fan, act like it; if you are a troll, you are not very good at it.

orangesheep joined Feb 23. not a fan, She is definitely a troll. Read her sarcastic comments

johnlg00 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Good advice johnlg....excepting Rupp Arena. No foul will be called (on the boys in blue) unless blood is drawn.

Unfortunately true in Blue Heaven, but luckily the Vols aren't playing there tonight. My strategy might work in any other circumstances. Even at Rupp, the problem is not so much the guys blocking the shots as it is the rarely-called digging at the ball that causes the offensive player to have to go up into the shot-blocker's wheelhouse.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolFanInTheBoro:

orangesheep joined Feb 23. not a fan, She is definitely a troll. Read her sarcastic comments

Oh, unfortunately I have read them all. I was just giving him/her a chance to deny he/she was a troll, knowing it would be a lie.

born2ride writes:

We should beat the Gamecocks even on the road.

wildmed writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

I was really disappointed with the student section at the Ole Miss game Wednesday night. It was about half full. The students need to support their team.

In defense of the students, they were in the middle of mid-terms this week. Hope that played a role.

FanNotSheep writes:

Another possible Sunday headline: "Streaking Vols pull out big one on the road."

10Vol85 writes:

SEC tiebreaking procedure:

http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com/Link...

"1. Two‐Team Tie. The following procedure will be used in the following order until the tie is broken:
A. Won‐lost results of head‐to‐head competition between the two teams.
B. Won‐lost record of the two teams versus the No. 1 seed (and proceeding through the No. 12
seed, if necessary).
C. Coin flip by the Commissioner.

2. Three‐Team Tie (or more). When three or more teams are tied, the following procedure will be used
in the following order until the tie is broken. If two teams remain tied after a tiebreaker provision, the
two‐team tiebreaker formula will be used.
A. Best winning percentage of games played among the tied teams (Example: Team A is 3‐1, Team
B is 2‐2 and Team C is 1‐3 ‐ ‐ Team A would be seeded highest, Team B second‐highest and
Team C lowest of the three).
B. Best winning percentage of the tied teams versus the No. 1 seed (and proceeding through the
No. 12 seed, if necessary).
C. If two teams remain, coin flip by the Commissioner.
D. If three or more teams remain, draw by the Commissioner."

UT4prez writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Another possible Sunday headline: "Streaking Vols pull out big one on the road."

Now that's funny.

Vol43 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Another possible Sunday headline: "Streaking Vols pull out big one on the road."

See if they can measure up against the gamecocks.

ccantrell#227456 writes:

in response to 10Vol85:

However unlikely, here's what I would like to see the rest of the way:

GA (H) over FL
Vandy (H) over FL
KY over FL (H)
KY (H) over Vandy
TN over SC (H)
TN over LSU (H)
TN (H) over Vandy

Not absolutely sure of the tiebreakers with the uneven scheduling but I believe that might be enough to give us the 2 seed regardless of what AL does. Maybe wish for an AL loss just to be sure. Hey, I'm not asking for much ;)

Alabama must lose one of their remaining games. If so. Tennessee would be #2 seed if your scenario were to play out.. UT (3-1) vs VDY (2-2)and Florida (1-3) in records against each other. Which is the first tie-breaker with 3 teams.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Gooooo Voooollllllssssss!

makelemonade writes:

in response to ccantrell#227456:

Alabama must lose one of their remaining games. If so. Tennessee would be #2 seed if your scenario were to play out.. UT (3-1) vs VDY (2-2)and Florida (1-3) in records against each other. Which is the first tie-breaker with 3 teams.

Even if AL doesn't lose another game, we might win the tiebreaker in a 4 way tie under the previously mentioned scenario. AL would be 1-2 against all teams, UT(3-2), V(3-2), UF(2-3). I believe the tiebreaker would go all the way down the list to Ark, we won and Vandy lost. Of course, we must win out or it won't matter, it's fun to think about though. Who would have thunk it after the Austin Peay game?

HtownVol writes:

Watching the game now.

19-9 tennessee.

Stokes and Maymon are just unstoppable tonight. Golden is on fire and McRae may be the best dunker in the SEC (or up there).

I dont think McBee is good for this game, USC has shown they will abuse him.

Great start

orangecountyvols writes:

HTown,

Great start ...................then..........

Vols start passing the ball around as if it was a medicine ball. Comical the meltdown the last 3 or 4 minutes.

Stokes unable to make any free throws again.
Turnovers, all that results in a South Carolia flurry at the end.

wildmed writes:

AT THE HALF, THE VOLS ARE AHEAD BY TWO. TURNOVERS IN THE BACKCOURT ARE ENOUGH TO MAKE ME CRAZY. HOPE SOMEONE ON THE BENCH KNOWS THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER, LOOKS LIKE A CHOKE JOB TONIGHT.

Vol43 writes:

If John Ward is a 10, Kesling is a zero. I hate to say that, but this is not his speciality. He kinda sucks. Sorry, but that's my opinion.

Vol43 writes:

We make a free throw. Carolina gets the ball and scores on the other end. Kesling, as an afterthought, says oh yeah we made the free throw. He's an idiot!

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