Tough enough? No choice for Vols against Georgetown

Martin says Georgetown will be physical

It's probably not what ESPN envisioned, but a good ol' fashioned Big Ten game is going to break out at the SEC/Big East Challenge.

When Tennessee (4-1) meets Georgetown today (TV: ESPN, 6:30 p.m.) at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., possessions will be valued, rebounds will be hard to come by and blood might be spilled.

"We expect physical," said Vols coach Cuonzo Martin, long familiar with the brute warfare of Big Ten basketball from a playing and coaching career at Purdue.

Asked on Wednesday if today's game will take the shape of those grind-out games of his Big Ten days, Martin smiled.

"Exactly like that," he said. "The tougher team will win."

Led by eighth-year coach John Thompson III, Georgetown runs the Princeton-style offense that relies on back-door cuts, open jumpers, post-ups and controlling the clock.

Through the early goings of the season, the Hoyas (4-1) are one of the nation's top defensive rebounding teams and shoot 50.4 percent from the field.

They're big. They're athletic. They're ranked 20th in the country.

"I don't think I've ever seen a Princeton-style team with four starters that are 6-8 or taller," Martin said. "They can pass, shoot, dribble the ball and make plays."

The playmaking begins with sophomore forward Otto Porter. Flying under the radar last year beneath senior teammates Jason

Clark, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims, Porter averaged 9.7 points and team-best 6.8 rebounds per game.

Now a Big East player-of-the-year candidate in 2012-13, Porter averages 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. He posted 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and five blocks in a victory against then-11th-ranked UCLA and 15 points, five rebounds and four assists in a narrow overtime loss to No. 1 Indiana.

Porter was slowed with a mild concussion for Georgetown's opening two games, but is back to 100 percent.

Martin described Porter as an "inside-outside facilitator," and added, "You've really got to be locked in on him and then keep him off the glass when that shot goes up."

Tennessee sophomore forward Josh Richardson will be assigned Porter to open the game.

Georgetown's lone starter under 6-foot-8 is junior guard Markel Starks, the Hoyas' leading scorer at 14.0 points per game.

Starks is joined by rangy athletes Greg Whittington, Mikael Hopkins and Nate Lubick, among others. Matchup problems might arise for Tennessee, meaning defense will be at a premium.

"They do a lot of back-door cutting and have a lot of speed and athleticism," said UT senior Kenny Hall, who continues to be the man the middle for the Vols in the continued absence of injured forward Jeronne Maymon (knee). "We've got to stay on our toes, be aware, not get back-doored and play honest defense."

Against Oakland on Monday, UT put forth its best defensive effort through five games. The Vols allowed only five made baskets in the first half, held Oakland to 28.6 percent shooting for the game and won going away, 77-50.

Martin called it, "Probably one of our better efforts since I've been here from top to bottom."

No one is expecting a shootout tonight. The Vols rank 262nd in the NCAA in possessions per 40 minutes at 65.4. The Hoyas rank 197th with 67.6 per game.

Tennessee gets to the free-throw line more often, while Georgetown is a better 3-point shooting team.

Nothing will come easy.

A distinct edge for the Hoyas is the 20,600-seat Verizon Center.

Georgetown posted a 15-1 record in the building a year ago.

"For our guys to play against a team of that caliber in that atmosphere — it's a good gauge," Martin said.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 30

samvol writes:

first

samvol writes:

lets go vols, play like you did against Oakland and we got this...GBO!!!

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Gotta come lean and mean in this one. Everything has to click for the Vols in a big road game. Hopefully the Vols will be able to make some 3's and play their best hard-nosed defense. This will not be a game for the faint-hearted. Bring it strong, Big Orange, and maybe we can leave DC with a W.

Vol1973 writes:

Go Vols!! Hang tough and get a nice road win!

voloffaith writes:

in response to samvol:

first

In line.........jeepers wally this third grade euphoria over not being SECOND is hilarious......on topic..tough game..most likely a loss without Jeronne(sp)

mlynn1 writes:

Defense will be the deciding factor, If Tennessee can lock down and hold their own in rebounding, then they have a good chance of winning.

VOLinATL writes:

This is gonna be a "hide the women and children" ugly kind of game.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I love the break down from a guy that has never picked up a basketball outside of his drive way!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I wish I could say I know we'll win. But this is a real test for us. I suspect Georgetown may be better as a team than Okie St.! ?? We'll see. tonight. I don't expect us to play tonight like we DIDN'T play against Okie. I think our offense will show and our man will be much better. Our offense better show 'cause they will play zone from what I've heard.

Technically it doesn't matter whether we win this one or not. Especially this early. That's good. But I hope our pride at least gives us a shot to win it and give us confidence for the SEC. We DO still have some growing to do. Especially our perimeter game on offense. passes screens etc. Our defense seems to be better overall but we need to give an "Oakland" effort at the very least.

Like I've already said on another article along with others...I'm bit nervous. It'll be a fun game though.

Go BIG Orange! Go Vols.

Beat uuhhhh What's their mascot??? Hubbas? Hubbers...no What's a Hoya anyhow??

mocsandvolsfan writes:

PS WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP SWITCHING ME TO THE MOBILE AP VERSION OR WHATEVER IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DON'T EVEN USE A MOBILE PHONE! Not much. I have an emergency only cell.
I also hate those stupid commercials that take over the screens in blogs sites sometimes. However go ahead and put money ahead of us. $$$$$$$ It's never about the ohhh never mind!

Also I noticed that many of the same posters are already trying to diss Gruden before he's hired if he is. dang I told you all they weren't real fans. However I apologize to the ones who I said weren't fans who actually were. There were a lot of new screen names on here. It's always suspicious.

LET THE DEBATES CONTINUE!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I actually understand your concern. At times last year I wondered if Golden was being bribed. I didn't really think so and I don't now. BUT he did disappear every so often. We all found out later that he was playing injured. So sometimes our judgements are wrong.
I think maybe yours is wrong this season.

+ I just have to say though "this will be AN ugly game"!(a mistype I'm sure)
It'll most likely be strictly defensive in nature.

david_light_38230#225602 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mmm . . . another Dick Vitale wanna be . . . great!! I think we know who the "diaper dandy" here is . . . oke!!! LMAO

GO VOLS!!!

johnlg00 writes:

Nothing really to add beyond what has already been said. I would say only that the Vols' manhood will be tested tonight. If they play like men, they have a decent shot; if they get panicked like kids, they will be run out of the gym. I'll love 'em anyway, but tonight is the night for them to show if they are going to be a real force this year.

hikerdude writes:

It is going to be really hard for UT to win this one. The Hoyas took Indiana to overtime and Indiana crushed NC.

VolGrad writes:

We will find out some more things we'll need to work on in this game. Will be tough to win. But if we're in it at the end..., the Hoyas could get Stoked. And I don't mean that in a good way.

Go Vols! Beat the Hoyas!!!

trl_x writes:

Like others have said tonight we'll find out what the team is really made of. I think their heads were on the beach in PR.

Maymon definitely would have helped. This game in particular.

VolGrad writes:

I just hope Maymon is able to come back by the time SEC play rolls around. I'm beginning to wonder at this point if he'll ever be able to play again. If so, he will be pretty rusty his first several games.

Get healed up quick!

VolGrad writes:

Crazy low scoring first half. Both teams shooting just 27%. Vols lucky to have that 2 pt lead. Nice shot to end the half, Golden.

Basketvol writes:

18 - 16 at the half. I'll take that.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ten minuets left in game and so far you are spot on. GBO

VolGrad writes:

... and yet it is Golden who has hit on a couple of key shots in both halves....

no1djkb#278630 writes:

tough loss. man we need someone that can shoot. they played tough though

Tennfan4075 writes:

UGLY, UGLY, UGLY, UGLY, but close on the road. GBO

AirForceVol2786 writes:

WOW! I love UT basketball but it is going to be really difficult to get this team to the NCAA Tournament. Our offense is awful. We have no real shooter. Next year is going to be worse when we lose Stokes, Maymon, Golden, and McBee.

VolGrad writes:

Too many turnovers at the end of the game, but good game versus a team no one expected us to have a chance against. Still we were in a position to win it because of our defense, but couldn't get it in the hole. Gotta' improve and win these close ones when we get the opportunity.

VolGrad writes:

Good defenses make for ugly games.

Go Vols! Build on it, and get the ball to Stokes!!!

VolFanHoping writes:

A Mike Hamilton hire loses....doesn't he get $100,000 every time that happens?

Basketvol writes:

Well, that hurt. Still not sure how I feel about that one. Ugly game, but I stand by my comment that this team is moving in the right direction and will be an SEC contender this year and beyond, if we keep Coach Martin.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Free throw shooting killed us. I doubt Stokes is leaving. He is nowhere close to being the player that Tobias was at the same time in their college career. I know Tobias only played one yr, but that was better than Stokes has been thus far. Stokes needs to get physical.

Basketvol writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Free throw shooting killed us. I doubt Stokes is leaving. He is nowhere close to being the player that Tobias was at the same time in their college career. I know Tobias only played one yr, but that was better than Stokes has been thus far. Stokes needs to get physical.

Yes and yes. 3-11 ft shooting in a one-point loss is painfully easy to analyze. When JR and JS missed both free throws back-to-back with each other, I knew that would come back to haunt them, especially in a game like this. You're right about Stokes too. I hoped tonight's game would be the good news--for a change--that TN fans are craving. Guess not; still waiting. Go Vols!

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