Mike Strange: Guards making shots makes Vols go

Mike Strange
Tennessee's Antonio Barton (2) defends against Tennessee Tech's Jeremia Samarrippas (2) on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. UT won the game 84-63. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee's Antonio Barton (2) defends against Tennessee Tech's Jeremia Samarrippas (2) on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. UT won the game 84-63. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

The obvious talking points from Tennessee’s 84-63 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday were:

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Comments » 1

johnlg00 writes:

It's no mystery to anybody how to beat the Vols or almost any other decent team, for that matter. First, protect your paint--limit drives, swarm the big guys inside, and rebound defensively. Second, limit your own turnovers--work your offense, make them defend, and limit their run-outs. If you can do those things, hope their outside shooters aren't making shots.

To that end, the Vols are going to face an endless succession of zone, sagging man-to-man, and maybe the occasional "junk" defense. I don't think many teams will be able to press them successfully and few teams will want to go up and down with them. The big men will have to stay strong, solid with the ball, and aggressive yet patient. The guards have to be ready to shoot the ball when the opportunities arise and MAKE those shots. The Vols can excel on defense when they put their minds to it. Not many teams are going to own the boards against them. Those last two things alone will keep them in most games, but they will have to do the other things to win against good teams.

It is all a matter of disciplined aggressiveness and the mental toughness to keep working the game plan even if the shots aren't falling. They will have a chance to display all those traits over the next couple of weeks to advance in RPI rankings and such and to get ready for the SEC season. If they can, they will have a great season. If they can't, we will all be left to wornder what might have been....

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