UT to play MTSU on Monday at 7 p.m.

Are Vols susceptible to high ball screen?

Savannah State guard Preston Blackman (1) as Tennessee guard Skylar McBee (13) defends in the second half during the National Invitation Tournament at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Tennessee won 65-51 over Savannah State.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Savannah State guard Preston Blackman (1) as Tennessee guard Skylar McBee (13) defends in the second half during the National Invitation Tournament at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Tennessee won 65-51 over Savannah State. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

It took Savannah State about 25 minutes to get the timing just right on its high ball screen on Tuesday night.

The Tigers, who through 33 minutes played Tennessee within two points, had seen plenty of film of the play working well against the Vols.

South Carolina ran it. LSU executed it. Ole Miss manipulated it.

Chances are strong Middle Tennessee State will run its version, too, when the Blue Raiders (26-6) play the Vols (19-14) at Thompson-Boling Arena in the second round of the NIT on Monday at 7 p.m.

No television coverage was announced in a UT release just after midnight, although every NIT game will be televised by an ESPN property.

All seats for are general admission and tickets cost $10. Parking is free.

UT point guard Trae Golden and freshman forward Jarnell Stokes are marked men, with opponents attacking the players perceived to be the Vols' weakest defenders.

The high ball screen represents the Achilles' heel for UT, as it often exploits Golden and Stokes.

Stokes was not only reduced defensively, but also, in the post-game press conference following the 65-51 win over Savannah State.

"For a freshman, I think he has a lot of potential,'' said Savannah State forward Rashad Hassan, who took it right at Stokes for 20 points and 14 rebounds. "If he keeps working on his game, he can definitely be a dominant factor.''

Hassan didn't intend for his remarks to sound condescending, but for those who have seen Stokes play inspired, that was the effect.

Golden is a sophomore, which made it hard for many to accept him getting out-played by Ole Miss freshman point guard Jarvis Summers in the costly SEC tournament quarterfinal loss last Friday.

In all fairness, Savannah State point guard Preston Blackman is a junior. Blackman had 14 points and five assists, while Golden had 11 points and one assist.

UT compensated, advancing despite getting beat at the two positions by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season champions.

Senior Cam Tatum proved savvy, taking over point guard duties with his dribble penetration to the tune of a team-high five assists while also covering the Tigers' four-man. UT junior Skylar McBee chased his defensive assignment around all night, and freshmen Yemi Makanjuola and Josh Richardson held their own.

Even Jordan McRae, once a marked man on defense himself, stepped it up

Another step will likely be required across the board to compete with MTSU.

The Sun Belt Conference regular-season champions reached the second round of the NIT by beating Marshall, 86-78, on Tuesday night in Murfreesboro. The Thundering Herd had the highest RPI (44) of the teams left out of the NCAA tournament. By comparison, Savannah State's RPI was 191.

Day-to-Day: UT coach Cuonzo Martin said Wednesday the status of second-team All-SEC forward Jeronne Maymon remains day-to-day. Maymon missed Tuesday's game with a bruised right knee suffered in the Vols' 74-69 overtime win at LSU on Feb. 29.

New Lineup, Same Result: The Vols started their seventh different lineup on account of Maymon's injury and improved to 7-0 in games debuting a new starting combination.

Tatum is now the only UT player who has started every game this season.

Freshmen Flurry: The Vols received a season-high 33 cumulative points from their freshmen,bettering the previous mark of 22 set in UT's overtime win over LSU.

Stokes led the Vols with 13 points, Makanjuola scored 10 and had a team-high eight rebounds in his first career start and Richardson had 10.

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

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Comments » 66

1vavolfan writes:

According to ESPNU the game is Monday night at 7:00

GreeneVol writes:

Just a bit of perspective,the 86 that the Blue Raiders scored is impressive - they shot 52.5% against Marshall which is a very good night. They are averaging 71.9 PPG. Marshall gives up 68.1 PPG.

We gave up 51 pts Tuesday to a team averaging 64. Yeah, there were some lapses, but we held them to 32.8% shooting.

Defense has been our strength, and I think we will be fine. Hopefully Maymon will be able to play...

GreeneVol writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

According to ESPNU the game is Monday night at 7:00

Yep. But it's not been updated on the NIT bracket at NCAA.com; maybe they've just not gotten around to it yet. Sunday sure would be better for crowd-sake.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Even though many have criticized Tenn for not putting Savannah State away after the early lead, I think you have to factor in Maymon's absence a lot for this game. Yet some of the criticism is valid. I was disappointed in Tennessee giving up too many second-chance points and getting out-toughed at times (although I have to admit, McBee's jump-ball scrum was a classic). Still, look at the game overall. Tennessee, despite several defensive lapses, still gave up just 51 points. It wasn't a work of art, but they did take care of business. A team like Savannah State is going to bring their A-game to a game like this. Ask Miss. St. or any of the other higher-seeded teams who lost in the first round to a more determined opponent. You'll see the same thing happen to several teams in the NCAA. It always does, no matter which tournament these teams play.

volcam writes:

Now we have a great second round NIT game with two in-state rivals facing each other. We know MTSU will bring their "A" game to Knoxville. I have confidence that Coach Martin will have the Vols prepared to step up their play as well. Here's a challenge to all Vol fans who can physically make it to TBA: show up, be loud, and cheer this very deserving Vol team on to a big win over the Blue Raiders. GO VOLS!

madmax22 writes:

"The Tigers, who through 33 minutes played Tennessee within two points" and through the first 10 minutes they played within 17 points and in 40 minutes they played Tennessee within 14 points. Slice the game any way you want to Mike it was a win.

keepitreal4vols writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now tell us the story of why Stokes joined the team late and why he wears black shoes.

keepitreal4vols writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

Yep. But it's not been updated on the NIT bracket at NCAA.com; maybe they've just not gotten around to it yet. Sunday sure would be better for crowd-sake.

Do you think anyone outside the state of Tennessee would watch a 2nd round NIT game over the 2nd round of the NCAA??? Monday is good exposure and NIT gets their game in primetime with no competition. Tennessee is playing at home on a Mnday night at 7pm so get your butt to the arena and yell loud.

Razor784 writes:

There could be a conflict with the Lady Vols on that night, if they win Saturday, they'll play some time on Monday night.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Do you think anyone outside the state of Tennessee would watch a 2nd round NIT game over the 2nd round of the NCAA??? Monday is good exposure and NIT gets their game in primetime with no competition. Tennessee is playing at home on a Mnday night at 7pm so get your butt to the arena and yell loud.

I would. And I live in Ohio. Weather looks to be to good on Sunday to be inside anyway.

SummittsCourt writes:

If Maymon plays, Savannah St doesn't even come close to playing with the Vols.

I hope he is available for MTSU, however I believe the Vols win and move on. Go Vols!

rhaggarty#588552 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

I would. And I live in Ohio. Weather looks to be to good on Sunday to be inside anyway.

I live in Ontario and catch every televised game. Wish I could be there in person on Monday. Go Vols!

DougSharp writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Do you think anyone outside the state of Tennessee would watch a 2nd round NIT game over the 2nd round of the NCAA??? Monday is good exposure and NIT gets their game in primetime with no competition. Tennessee is playing at home on a Mnday night at 7pm so get your butt to the arena and yell loud.

I suspect a few people in Minn. and Miami will tune in since the winner will play Tenn and thier game starts at 9pm the same night. Possibly fans from Wash. may watch since I'm figuring the Huskies will make it to MSG to eventually play the Vols in the Semis. Afterall I watched a CBI game last night. Some of us simply like to watch basketball games for reasons other than to find out the correct spelling of a player's name, or to learn a player got to a program mid-season after graduating HS early so they didnt get the cool Vol shoes so they wear thier own etc, etc.......I like your sarcasim.

underthehill writes:

Re: the point of the article..Golden is a marked man much more than Stokes..when Golden gets beat he does not attempt to shield the player who sets the screen and this creates a 2 on 1 against the inside defender whether it is Stokes or another..Golden (I think) is the best clutch shooter outside but he does not have the quickness to matchup on man defense..I know Martin sees this and have to conclude he is doing what gives his team the best chance to win because he has to have Golden's offense..MTSU and TN is an excellent matchup and I am going to try to be there..MTSU plays harder for 40 minutes than any college team I have seen this year..they take you man to man full court some to create tempo..

FeelVol writes:

Hey Griff you forgot to mention that Tatum also had five turnovers to go with his five assists, while granted Golden didn't have one of his better games distributing the ball he only had one turnover.It seemed to me that McRae was basically a non factor in the Savannah game as well so please do your homework alittle better if all you want to report is facts about this team.Go Vols!!!

volboy81 writes:

in response to FeelVol:

Hey Griff you forgot to mention that Tatum also had five turnovers to go with his five assists, while granted Golden didn't have one of his better games distributing the ball he only had one turnover.It seemed to me that McRae was basically a non factor in the Savannah game as well so please do your homework alittle better if all you want to report is facts about this team.Go Vols!!!

Im surprised Griffin even reported that we won...hes so negative! I noticed they finally took out the part in this article about not knowing the date or time of the UT-MTSU game after the headline read "Vols to play MTSU on Monday at 7pm"

underthehill writes:

Just rounded up some old retired buddies who don't usually attend but I think we can get tickets online and this means we won't have to stand in line so we have 4 going..I join those who encourage Vol fans to see what should be a great ball game...

Vol43 writes:

"These are my new shoes. They're good shoes. They won't make you rich like me, they won't make you rebound like me, they definitely won't make you handsome like me. They'll only make you have shoes like me. That's it." Charles Barkley.

he he

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

MTSU will be in New York. MTSU is the best Sun Belt team in the last twenty years.They went into Vandy late in the year and had Vandy on the ropes late, plus traveled to UCLA and won. We saw how well UT fared against Vandy in Nashville trailing by 25 points. UT cant match scorers with MTSU. Enjoy the weekend, it all ends Monday.

tennlions writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

I would. And I live in Ohio. Weather looks to be to good on Sunday to be inside anyway.

I live in Indiana and will absolutely be watching.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

MTSU will be in New York. MTSU is the best Sun Belt team in the last twenty years.They went into Vandy late in the year and had Vandy on the ropes late, plus traveled to UCLA and won. We saw how well UT fared against Vandy in Nashville trailing by 25 points. UT cant match scorers with MTSU. Enjoy the weekend, it all ends Monday.

I must admit you are cute!!!! and have a set the size of MSG....

tennlions writes:

This is the team that concerns me most. You don't win 26 games unless you're a talented, well-coached team. I don't care what conference you play in.

Bigger_Al writes:

MTSU will bring thousands of fans to TBA. They'd be a 12 seed if they had won their conference tournament. Gotta figure Maymon will play. Gonna be a tough game. Vols will have to fight hard and defend their home court like they did throughout the SEC Season.

PUL4VOLS writes:

They just have to come out and play their game and go hard for the 40 minutes as we believe MTSU will do. Defense will be the key and hopefully they rise up for the occasion. As others have said, they need Maymon but are capable of winning without him. It should be a very good game and if the 2012 instead of the late 2011 version of the Vols show up, they will have a very good chance of advancing. I'm hoping hard for that. GO VOLS!

volpreacher writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

MTSU will be in New York. MTSU is the best Sun Belt team in the last twenty years.They went into Vandy late in the year and had Vandy on the ropes late, plus traveled to UCLA and won. We saw how well UT fared against Vandy in Nashville trailing by 25 points. UT cant match scorers with MTSU. Enjoy the weekend, it all ends Monday.

You see how well Vandy fared at TBA. You're so against UT, you are blinded. Just leave, no one takes you serious.

born2ride writes:

Who cares about the NIT? It is for losers.

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

MTSU will be in New York. MTSU is the best Sun Belt team in the last twenty years.They went into Vandy late in the year and had Vandy on the ropes late, plus traveled to UCLA and won. We saw how well UT fared against Vandy in Nashville trailing by 25 points. UT cant match scorers with MTSU. Enjoy the weekend, it all ends Monday.

"LSU by 6 or more"

"I will give S Carolina a slight nod"

'LSU and Vandy are too big on the inside and will create huge mismatches for a team playing without any resemblance of a Center. I said 2 weeks ago UT would finish 2-5 and I will stick by that prediction..I give a slight nod to S carolina at home vs a terrible road team."

"That one more win will be hard to come by. LSU and Vandy are both hot and too big inside for UT,"

"UT will not beat teams with true Bigs. UT will not beat Vandy who just put up the most SEC road points since 1969 when they scored 102"

Your words all.
Why in the world do you continue to spout nonsense?
I figure you must be a weatherman by trade, knowing that if you predict rain long enough sooner or later......

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

MTSU will be in New York. MTSU is the best Sun Belt team in the last twenty years.They went into Vandy late in the year and had Vandy on the ropes late, plus traveled to UCLA and won. We saw how well UT fared against Vandy in Nashville trailing by 25 points. UT cant match scorers with MTSU. Enjoy the weekend, it all ends Monday.

Turncoat,

Ignorant Comment at Best.

I just called my Bookie and put Tree Fitty on UT. You have been wrong so much this year it is a sure win for me.

Usually when one becomes a Turncoat like you, they choose a Good Team to be a Fake Fan of, but somehow you choose Vandy, Hilarious. You turned your back on UT when they fired Fulmer becasue he was a UT alum, Hilarious. Yet Vandy fired one of their best coaches ever (Watson Brown) who was an alum and one of their all time Great players. In his 5 years he was 10 and 45 and also had a 4-29 SEC record. That is respectable for Vandy yet they fired him. So not only are you a Turncoat you are a hypocrite, Hilarious.

Harvard will eliminate Vandy in the first round like Richmond, Murray State and Sienna have in Vandys last 3 trips to the NCAA, Hialarious. Next time you Turn Your back on a School at least choose Duke in Basketball and USC in Football to be a Fake fan of.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

MTSU will be in New York. MTSU is the best Sun Belt team in the last twenty years.They went into Vandy late in the year and had Vandy on the ropes late, plus traveled to UCLA and won. We saw how well UT fared against Vandy in Nashville trailing by 25 points. UT cant match scorers with MTSU. Enjoy the weekend, it all ends Monday.

Just a few things wrong with your "analysis". First, MTSU DID lose to Vandy at Vandy. Second, Vandy DID lose to UT at UT. So why exactly are you so sure MTSU will beat UT at UT? Yeah, yeah, I have often criticized the logical fallacy of "Team A beat Team B, and Team B beat Team C, so Team A should beat Team C." Yet you have turned that syllogism inside out. Oh, and I'm not terribly impressed by MTSU's win at UCLA; that is a program in shambles right now--they also lost to Portland by 29. Based on your track record predicting against the Vols, if I were a betting man myself, I would bet the farm on the Vols. Do your clients know how many times you have missed on Vol predictions this season? If not, well, most amateur gamblers are suckers anyway, so maybe that's how you can still make a living, if you are.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

Mississippi lost last night too. I told everyone besides KY this is the worst the SEC has been since the 60's. After all a 17-13 team (TN) finished second in the conference. Should be a cakewalk for Murfressboro.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And they still couldn't afford to get him a new jersey..

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to born2ride:

Who cares about the NIT? It is for losers.

Yet you clicked on the link and read the Article, HMMM.

Hickmc writes:

in response to born2ride:

Who cares about the NIT? It is for losers.

I guess that means you'll be there. You should feel right at home.....

SummittsCourt writes:

SEC not doing so well in the NIT. Only Tennessee is left! Go Vols!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to born2ride:

Who cares about the NIT? It is for losers.

No, people who name themselves "born2ride" are losers.

johnlg00 writes:

On the subject of the article, I have wondered all year why the Vols seem so vulnerable to the high ball screen. As the article said, the usual perimeter victim for the Vols has been Golden. In that case, they should use someone else to cover the other team's PG. Also, they seem not to pay enough attention to which way the ball-handler prefers to go on it. It is an axiom of good defense that when a player has definite preferences, you make him do SOMETHING ELSE. Overplay the guy to the direction he wants to go and he likely won't be as effective. The other thing they could try is for the post man to double-team the guy out top. With a post man and one of our long-armed wing players double-teaming him, he won't be able to get the pass he wants to the screening post man on his rim-run. If the ball-handler is not a great outside shooter, the guard could go under the screen to prevent the pass to the cutter. In short, this is not an insoluble problem, but it IS something the Vols will need to give some extra attention to, since it is one of the main weapons any good team will use against an aggressive man-to-man such as the Vols use.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to NO_DIGGITY:

Yet you clicked on the link and read the Article, HMMM.

No, he just saw from the title that the article was about the NIT, so he posted on it just to annoy the real fans. He didn't even read the article, he just used the name in the article as his tagline. The subject doesn't matter in itself; the only thing that matters to him is an opportunity to rag on us. Sad, sad.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to GetSimmsandTeagueout:

Mississippi lost last night too. I told everyone besides KY this is the worst the SEC has been since the 60's. After all a 17-13 team (TN) finished second in the conference. Should be a cakewalk for Murfressboro.

So you're saying the Sun Belt is a better conference than the SEC? Then why is the best team in it in the NIT instead of the NCAAs? Do you really think MTSU would have that same gaudy record playing an SEC schedule? You and PH should get together to write a book. All of those who placed bets according to his advice could use it as evidence for a malpractice suit against him.

volman2008 writes:

hey mike,why dont you go to nashville,and get a job,love it or leavr it......

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to johnlg00:

So you're saying the Sun Belt is a better conference than the SEC? Then why is the best team in it in the NIT instead of the NCAAs? Do you really think MTSU would have that same gaudy record playing an SEC schedule? You and PH should get together to write a book. All of those who placed bets according to his advice could use it as evidence for a malpractice suit against him.

JohnLG, and fellow Vols,

Absolutely. Actually, the troll.........un-professional/handicapper has to be doing all this stuff on purpose, just to get attention.

Noone who is serious about his or her profession can actually be as stupid as this guy. He is the modern day version of "Leonard's losers." Each prediction the troll makes is 'you-know-what backwards.' He has to be 'picking' the wrong results on purpose. That's the only explanation.

One thing we do know for sure, after a Vandy vs
Tennessee football game, he is no where to be seen ( thank goodness. ) As well as his disappearing act after the last basketball game in TBA with them.

It's hard to comprehend how one school ( the Vols ) actually controls a person's thinking as does U T with the frustrated troll/unprofessional.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

in response to johnlg00:

So you're saying the Sun Belt is a better conference than the SEC? Then why is the best team in it in the NIT instead of the NCAAs? Do you really think MTSU would have that same gaudy record playing an SEC schedule? You and PH should get together to write a book. All of those who placed bets according to his advice could use it as evidence for a malpractice suit against him.

No I didn'rt say the Sunbelt was better than the sec. I just think from bottom to 2 this is the weakest the SEC has been since the 60's. I think the tournaments will show that. So far they have. Could TN have gone 26-4 wuth Murfressboro's schedule? No.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

in response to johnlg00:

On the subject of the article, I have wondered all year why the Vols seem so vulnerable to the high ball screen. As the article said, the usual perimeter victim for the Vols has been Golden. In that case, they should use someone else to cover the other team's PG. Also, they seem not to pay enough attention to which way the ball-handler prefers to go on it. It is an axiom of good defense that when a player has definite preferences, you make him do SOMETHING ELSE. Overplay the guy to the direction he wants to go and he likely won't be as effective. The other thing they could try is for the post man to double-team the guy out top. With a post man and one of our long-armed wing players double-teaming him, he won't be able to get the pass he wants to the screening post man on his rim-run. If the ball-handler is not a great outside shooter, the guard could go under the screen to prevent the pass to the cutter. In short, this is not an insoluble problem, but it IS something the Vols will need to give some extra attention to, since it is one of the main weapons any good team will use against an aggressive man-to-man such as the Vols use.

Or do what Illinois St. did to Miss. last night run some zone.

carbonzip writes:

I thought Stokes did a pretty good job against Vanterbilt. What are MTSU's weaknesses?

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to carbonzip:

I thought Stokes did a pretty good job against Vanterbilt. What are MTSU's weaknesses?

Latin Women and Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon.

GerryOP writes:

So.... we have our Pro HCPer here predicitng failure, now all we need is for lil' westie to chime in with his gloom and doom. That would guarantee a victory for our Vols.

Go Vols! If you get to MSG I'll stop by and give you a shout and support!

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to NO_DIGGITY:

Latin Women and Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon.

LOL those are some of mine too.

underthehill writes:

in response to carbonzip:

I thought Stokes did a pretty good job against Vanterbilt. What are MTSU's weaknesses?

Their inside guys are quick but not real physical..TN should dominate inside..however..their overall team speed helps them dictate tempo and the opponents big men have to run the floor more than normal..Stokes is a much better defender than this article indicates ..he is being put in an impossible situation when Golden quits after his man beats him.. Golden has to keep the player who sets the screen behind him..not open up a lane for him..it is then 2 on 1 against Stokes..Stokes outplayed Ezeli against Vandy..and Vandy did ok against KY..nuff said about Stokes..he is a rebounding machine...

Pullingguard writes:

Stokes is very meek around the basket.. Is he afraid to dunk? He is a big guy, strong and should be playing as such but he certainly does not play up to his size.. Gotta toughen up Stokes...

VolunteerLifer writes:

"Another step will likely be required across the board to compete with MTSU."

TO COMPETE with MTSU? I realize they are a good team and could very well beat us at our house. But to say if we don't step up we can't compete with them? Who is the higher seed here? Come on, Mike, that's a gross exageration. We are a team playing in a tournament of more or less equal quality teams. Stop saying that UT is on the verge of getting blown out if they don't bring their A-game.

IndyVolFan writes:

When I went to Tennessee Tech, our saying for them was "Where the women are women, and the men are too!" Go Vols!

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