Vols' going small (no Hall) might not work against Kentucky

Game plan could change vs. Kentucky

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) drives past Vanderbilt guard Kevin Bright during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) drives past Vanderbilt guard Kevin Bright during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

No Hall. Think Small.

That was Tennessee's mantra in a 58-46 win at Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.

It might or might not be the game plan when 25th-ranked Kentucky (17-7, 8-3 SEC) visits Thompson-Boling Arena to face the Vols (13-10, 5-6) on Saturday.

Tipoff is 1:05 p.m. (TV: WVLT).

Responding to Vandy's four-guard look, UT coach Cuonzo Martin not only did not start 6-foot-9 senior Kenny Hall, he didn't even play Hall against the Commodores.

Hall had started all 21 games he has played, averaging 22.1 minutes, 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds.

He was coming off one of his least memorable outings, scoring only two points in 11 minutes at South Carolina on Sunday. In that game, he also was ineffective on defense before sitting down.

Martin said Hall's absence was more a reaction to Vanderbilt's lineup, but he was pleased with the results, especially Jarnell Stokes' results.

"I felt like our best lineup is four guards,'' Martin said Wednesday night, "because now you have space and Jarnell can do the things he needs to do and be aggressive.

"Now we can play defense the way we need to play it.''

Stokes played 37 minutes as UT's lone "big" flanked by four guards and recorded his sixth consecutive double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

According to UT, only O.D. Anosike of Siena has a longer streak (seven) of double-double efforts this season. He's the younger brother of former Lady Vol Nicky Anosike.

Kentucky will be short a big man Saturday since losing Nerlens Noel to a season-ending knee injury Tuesday night at Florida.

The Wildcats can still go big, with 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein and 6-10 Kyle Wiltjer. If that's the case, Hall should see plenty of action.

McRae's First: Jordan McRae is playing an SEC-high 36.1 minutes in league games, but had the energy Wednesday to notch his first career double-double.

Scoring double figures was old hat, but the 11 rebounds to go with his 14 points were the surprise.

3 for Q: Quinton Chievous was 1-for-10 on the season from behind the 3-point line when he entered the Vandy game in the first half.

That didn't discourage him from letting one rip — and it went in to give UT a 28-20 lead.

"(Martin) always tells the whole team to shoot an open shot if you've got it,'' said Chievous. "I felt I had an open shot so I just let it go.''

After being anchored to the bench for nine games Chievous is 4-of-4 shooting the past two road wins.

Follow Mike Strange at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 35

SevenT writes:

This game is Tennessee's super bowl. Quite frankly I don't expect Tennessee Dols to put up much of a fight.

Kentucky 71 Tennssee 58

volspaws writes:

in response to SevenT:

This game is Tennessee's super bowl. Quite frankly I don't expect Tennessee Dols to put up much of a fight.

Kentucky 71 Tennssee 58

Thanks for weighing in, Einstein

yaz5100 writes:

in response to SevenT:

This game is Tennessee's super bowl. Quite frankly I don't expect Tennessee Dols to put up much of a fight.

Kentucky 71 Tennssee 58

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TheEffect writes:

Should be a good game. Without Nerlens Noel, I think it will be a challenge for Kentucky to match up with an improved Stokes. I think the key will be guard play though. Can't wait!

TheEffect writes:

in response to yaz5100:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uh....college football doesn't play a Super Bowl either. Period.

jt45 writes:

The Vols should win this one if golden plays well. UK barely got by Vandy with a shot that should not have counted. If stokes plays like he has the last 5 or 6 games it wont even be close. Stopping them from shooting open 3s will be crucial.

brod writes:

hope hall can take care of the ball. he's been struggling lately.

voloffaith writes:

kats by 5.....guard play will be the key in being aggressive, but better passing,shot selection, and getting ball inside to sir Stokes to be on the upside of the score.

lomas98 writes:

in response to TheEffect:

Should be a good game. Without Nerlens Noel, I think it will be a challenge for Kentucky to match up with an improved Stokes. I think the key will be guard play though. Can't wait!

Possibly, but stokes has struggled against tall shot blockers and ky has another one. These ky kids will all step up their game and probably rally around Noel. He is a good kid and likable player. Hustling to block a shot down 12 points on the road is playing the game hard, and unfortunately for him he got hurt. Ky has numerous other nba players who will still be tough to handle. McRae had a great game against them last time. Wiltjer seems to be player that has hurt us the last couple of games so let's stop him. Should be a good game and atmosphere.....hopefully we can stay under 12 turnovers.

By the way, does anyone else think McDonald's all Americans are named that based on where they have committed? Hard to believe ky has 5 named to that team. Seems perception is if calipari thinks you are good enough for his team that you have to named to that all star team.

underthehill writes:

been watching the Vols a long time..don't have any idea what to expect.. I think they will have to limit the turnovers and have an outstanding defensive game to have a chance to win..

tulelakevol writes:

This game puts more pressure on the kittens than the Vols. Most want to see how they are without one and done Christmas carol.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Was Noel from New Orleans??

ktownorange32 writes:

BBB

Theo writes:

We should have gone after the Anosike kid. Mother Anosike obviously grows disciplined, relentless basketball players. I remember Nicki wasn't sold on UT but Mother Anosike met Pat, decided she and Pat were a lot alike and told Nicki she was coming to UT. Couple of NCs later there you are.

tulelakevol writes:

should'a, could'a, would'a, the story of UT athletics the last several years.

CactusJack writes:

Close game, will see how UK freshman respond to losing Noel. Cauley-Stein nowhere near the shot blocker Noel was. He has a way to go. Wiltjer is the key for UK, if he has a good day, Cats should win, Stokes should have a big game, with no Noel there. Better get UK this year, they will be better next year and the year after, less one and dones, more stayig..UTs National Championship and if they win, 5 year contract extension for Coach Martin!!! (Who by the way is a good coach).

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to brod:

hope hall can take care of the ball. he's been struggling lately.

Got that right!!Hall has done little on offense except set records on traveling calls..Pretty lazy on defense..Yemi is the better option

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Big game from McRae kept us in last game.. Defensively we just don't match up well with Cats..A Yemi and Stokes combo is the better option..Stokes played 15 minutes and fouled out. Same for Yemi..The score was tied with 6 minutes left and thats when Yemi fouled out..Vols unraveled after that and lost..Noel being out is a minor issue..Stein scores just as many points..Poythress or whatever his name is maybe the most athletic guy on the floor and he is the one that might kill us..Cats have lost their share of games but they have scorers all over the place.Hard to predict how Stokes will do against Stein..Only chance at a win is if Golden and McRae shoot 50 plus percent and we find a way to stop Wiltjer

NYvolFan writes:

I felt pretty good about this one "before" Noel got hurt. GBO!

UKblue02 writes:

Cauley stein is not a shot blocker at all, and subject to silly fouls, if he gets in early foul trouble then Stokes can have a good day, i think our guard play is a smidge better than the vols, Wiltjer is the x factor for us....should be an interesting game

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to CactusJack:

Close game, will see how UK freshman respond to losing Noel. Cauley-Stein nowhere near the shot blocker Noel was. He has a way to go. Wiltjer is the key for UK, if he has a good day, Cats should win, Stokes should have a big game, with no Noel there. Better get UK this year, they will be better next year and the year after, less one and dones, more stayig..UTs National Championship and if they win, 5 year contract extension for Coach Martin!!! (Who by the way is a good coach).

Kentucky will never have kids stay under Cal. Since he likes Freshman starters, kids know if you stay, you will ride the pine every year until you graduate. Nobody makes it to the NBA from UK except as a one and done. Those who don't pan out as one and dones will transfer rather than stay.

Don't believe me? Ask Stacey Poole Jr. A legacy from UF, where his dad was a legend, he was close to signing with UF when he was swayed by Cal's promises of one and done glory. Well, he turned out to not be good enough for the NBA right away. Did he stay at UK? Nope, he transferred. Just like every other kid who doesn't become a one-and-done will do. As long as Cal is there, UK is going to be 5 stud freshmen and 8 walk-ons on scholarship.

murrayvol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Was Noel from New Orleans??

He should be but he's from Everett, Mass. Son of Haitian immigrants. Talk about hitting the lottery.

Good news for the Cats is he'll be back next year. Bad news is so will most of the other guys Calipari was hoping to move on to clear space for another #1 class.

murrayvol writes:

in response to UKblue02:

Cauley stein is not a shot blocker at all, and subject to silly fouls, if he gets in early foul trouble then Stokes can have a good day, i think our guard play is a smidge better than the vols, Wiltjer is the x factor for us....should be an interesting game

He can block a shot if the guy doesn't jump. Yes, it should be an interesting game.

How does a 10 seed sound for the Cats?

UKblue02 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

He can block a shot if the guy doesn't jump. Yes, it should be an interesting game.

How does a 10 seed sound for the Cats?

At this point and time, a 10 sounds pretty good, i'd take it... LOL

johnlg00 writes:

in response to lomas98:

Possibly, but stokes has struggled against tall shot blockers and ky has another one. These ky kids will all step up their game and probably rally around Noel. He is a good kid and likable player. Hustling to block a shot down 12 points on the road is playing the game hard, and unfortunately for him he got hurt. Ky has numerous other nba players who will still be tough to handle. McRae had a great game against them last time. Wiltjer seems to be player that has hurt us the last couple of games so let's stop him. Should be a good game and atmosphere.....hopefully we can stay under 12 turnovers.

By the way, does anyone else think McDonald's all Americans are named that based on where they have committed? Hard to believe ky has 5 named to that team. Seems perception is if calipari thinks you are good enough for his team that you have to named to that all star team.

Interesting points, but I think it is a whole different ball game with Noel out. Cauley-Stein is tall but nowhere near the shot-blocker Noel was. Most of Noel's blocks came in help defense rather than on his main man, as is often the case. Cauley-Stein can't play off Stokes at all to help out on others and I think if Stokes takes it at him all day, he will get in foul trouble.

I certainly agree that UK has plenty of other guys who can step up. I think the key to this game is Poythress. UT has nobody who can match up with him. Together with Wiltjer and Cauley-Stein, Poythress makes for a powerful front line without a doubt. The key for the Vols will be keeping Stokes and Hall out of early foul trouble while pounding it inside against the Cats. If Poythress doesn't go off and Cauley-Stein gets in foul trouble, the Vols could have a virtual standoff in the paint.

The key then becomes which team can do the best job on the other team's guards. Golden and Richardson will have to play the game of their lives on both offense and defense. The Vols also have to hope that at least one of the subs--Reese, Moore, Makanjuola, or Cheivous--will have a solid game. This game is winnable for the Vols, but only if they are at their best.

As for your last paragraph, there is a certain chicken-and-egg aspect to that situation. No doubt the attention a guy receives from the top-rank college programs helps boost his player rating. We see that all the time in football. A kid enters his senior year as a four-star, but if Alabama makes a run at him he is soon a five-star. Perhaps even moreso if a kid is a three-star but Bama is after him; he is then destined to get at least one more star.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Theo:

We should have gone after the Anosike kid. Mother Anosike obviously grows disciplined, relentless basketball players. I remember Nicki wasn't sold on UT but Mother Anosike met Pat, decided she and Pat were a lot alike and told Nicki she was coming to UT. Couple of NCs later there you are.

I kinda wondered about that myself. I don't remember Pearl going after him, thought of course he couldn't comment on him if he was after him. I surely don't remember him visiting. Of course, since he wound up at Siena, he may not have been highly regarded in HS. Hope I get to see him in the NCAA to see what, well, everybody might have missed.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Kentucky will never have kids stay under Cal. Since he likes Freshman starters, kids know if you stay, you will ride the pine every year until you graduate. Nobody makes it to the NBA from UK except as a one and done. Those who don't pan out as one and dones will transfer rather than stay.

Don't believe me? Ask Stacey Poole Jr. A legacy from UF, where his dad was a legend, he was close to signing with UF when he was swayed by Cal's promises of one and done glory. Well, he turned out to not be good enough for the NBA right away. Did he stay at UK? Nope, he transferred. Just like every other kid who doesn't become a one-and-done will do. As long as Cal is there, UK is going to be 5 stud freshmen and 8 walk-ons on scholarship.

Well, no doubt that happens to some kids at UK, but Jones, Patterson, Lamb, and several others have gone to the NBA after two, three, and four years at UK under Calapari. If the incoming class is as good as some say, no doubt some starters might lose their spots, but that only means that UK will have a much better bench than they have this year, with experienced, NBA-quality players coming off of it. Almost anybody would be better off staying at UK even if they don't start, but lots of those highly-rated kids aren't realistic about such things. In fact, many of them aren't really all that interested in college ball at all. About all the rest of the SEC can hope is that some of those guys won't like the pine time enough to stick it out and some of the new guys turn out not to be "all that".

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UKblue02:

At this point and time, a 10 sounds pretty good, i'd take it... LOL

So would we! The SEC hasn't exactly covered itself with glory this season. However, I do expect there will be five or six SEC teams in the NCAAs next year. Florida and Ole Miss might drop off a little bit, but most of the rest of the league members were fielding young teams and/or had new coaches. The league should be MUCH better next year, and I hope the Vols will be one of the reasons why.

SevenT writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Kentucky will never have kids stay under Cal. Since he likes Freshman starters, kids know if you stay, you will ride the pine every year until you graduate. Nobody makes it to the NBA from UK except as a one and done. Those who don't pan out as one and dones will transfer rather than stay.

Don't believe me? Ask Stacey Poole Jr. A legacy from UF, where his dad was a legend, he was close to signing with UF when he was swayed by Cal's promises of one and done glory. Well, he turned out to not be good enough for the NBA right away. Did he stay at UK? Nope, he transferred. Just like every other kid who doesn't become a one-and-done will do. As long as Cal is there, UK is going to be 5 stud freshmen and 8 walk-ons on scholarship.

Does the name Tobias Harris ring a bell?

bobe4544 writes:

in response to CactusJack:

Close game, will see how UK freshman respond to losing Noel. Cauley-Stein nowhere near the shot blocker Noel was. He has a way to go. Wiltjer is the key for UK, if he has a good day, Cats should win, Stokes should have a big game, with no Noel there. Better get UK this year, they will be better next year and the year after, less one and dones, more stayig..UTs National Championship and if they win, 5 year contract extension for Coach Martin!!! (Who by the way is a good coach).

Tell me Martin is a good coach in two years.

UKblue02 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

So would we! The SEC hasn't exactly covered itself with glory this season. However, I do expect there will be five or six SEC teams in the NCAAs next year. Florida and Ole Miss might drop off a little bit, but most of the rest of the league members were fielding young teams and/or had new coaches. The league should be MUCH better next year, and I hope the Vols will be one of the reasons why.

Agreed, i think some of the other conferences might not be as strong either, makng room for more sec teams.

jamgod writes:

in response to SevenT:

This game is Tennessee's super bowl. Quite frankly I don't expect Tennessee Dols to put up much of a fight.

Kentucky 71 Tennssee 58

Tenn almost beat them at their place with Nerlens(sp?) so what makes you think they can't win at home genious? Really get sick of monkeys like you posting stupid garbage with no intelligent way to back up what DA's like yourself are saying....

voloffaith writes:

in response to jamgod:

Tenn almost beat them at their place with Nerlens(sp?) so what makes you think they can't win at home genious? Really get sick of monkeys like you posting stupid garbage with no intelligent way to back up what DA's like yourself are saying....

Genius = "genious" call him out , but spel it ryt

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

I'm in the camp that doesn't know what's going to happen tomorrow. After two consecutive road wins, Maybe they're on their way back. And they lost a close one in Lexington. Should be a good game; just like to see our fans keep the blue out of TBA

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to murrayvol:

He should be but he's from Everett, Mass. Son of Haitian immigrants. Talk about hitting the lottery.

Good news for the Cats is he'll be back next year. Bad news is so will most of the other guys Calipari was hoping to move on to clear space for another #1 class.

Yeah I know..Just being sarcastic, imagine that.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features