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