It could be bubble or burst for Vols against Missouri

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin signals to his players during the second half against Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Tennessee won 88-58 over Kentucky. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin signals to his players during the second half against Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Tennessee won 88-58 over Kentucky. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin on Jarnell Stokes' voluntary late-night free throw session

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Fate in hands, fans in stands, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team will take the floor for a regular-season finale worthy of an impending packed house.

The Missouri Tigers, a talented bunch jostling for a double-bye in the SEC tournament and seeding lines in the NCAA tournament, is coming to Thompson-Boling Arena today (TV: ESPN, 4 p.m.). The Vols, sitting inside a delicate NCAA bubble and scanning SEC scenarios that could land them between third and seventh place in the standings, are anticipating a crowd exceeding the arena’s 21,678 seats.

“If (tip-off) is 4, let’s be there at 3,” UT coach Cuonzo Martin said Thursday. “Not only for the seniors, but to get that energy going early.”

On Senior Day for four UT players, the Vols (18-11, 10-7 SEC) will look to jump on a Missouri team that’s 2-7 in true road games. The Tigers (22-8, 11-6) boast talent all over the floor, with six players averaging double figures, but their road woes are well documented.

In its last outing, Missouri thumped Arkansas, 93-63, to assure an opportunity to finish as high as second in the SEC. Senior forward Laurence Bowers, the Tigers’ leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, led the charge against the Razorbacks with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore guard Jabari Brown, Mizzou’s leading scorer in SEC games with 15.1 per game, added 23.

The Vols rebounded from a loss at Georgia last Saturday to beat Auburn 82-75 on Wednesday. That win kept the UT as the final team in most mock NCAA tournament brackets, but the frailty of that position could be bolstered today.

Spurred by strong rebounding and crafty point guard Phil Pressey, the Tigers like to rebound, run and shoot. Coach Frank Haith’s team ranks sixth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage at 39.9 percent and eighth nationally in offensive efficiency.

Though the Vols don’t shy away from transition play, this isn’t the game to encourage it.

“(Missouri is) not a team you want to get into that kind of battle with,” said UT junior guard Jordan McRae. “It’s going to come down to getting (defensive) stops.”

Point guard Trae Golden likely is to draw the assignment of defending Pressey.

“He’s a pass-first guy, really quick in transition,” Golden said. “We have to keep him out of the lane and be sure we corral him.”

The Vols have relied heavily on a four-guard offensive in winning seven of their last eight. Missouri will test that scheme. Haith plays two traditional big men, Bowers and 6-9 center Alex Oriakhi, who combined to average 14.9 rebounds per game.

Golden suggested it might be Tennessee’s advantage, saying, “Instead of us changing our gameplan, they need to change their gameplan,” and it will be clear early if he’s right.

Before any of the action, Senior Day festivities will unfold for UT’s Skylar McBee, Kenny Hall, Dwight Miller and Rob Murphy.

McBee, a native of nearby Rutledge, enters the game with 590 career points scored in 127 career games. He is tied for the fourth-most games played in program history.

Hall has started 41 of 112 career games, averaging 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in his four-year career.

Miller, a transfer from Pittsburgh, averaged 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 23 games last season, but has missed all of this season with a knee injury.

Murphy, a graduate of Brentwood Academy who transferred to UT from Lipscomb University, has appeared in five games as a walk-on.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.

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Comments » 25

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Not crazy about this headline. It could also be a very special day...in many respects.

We're at home. It's Senior Day. We have motive. We have opportunity. It will be what we make of it...and I believe in both the coaches and the team.

Go Big Orange!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Me too. There have already been some "bubble bursts" this year. Some were pretty darn good teams at least. Georgetown burst my "bubble" so to speak.

This is just one more game. It could be the last I suppose for a few men but we have hope.

I'd say "it's not over till it's over"..."it's not over till the thin challenged lady sings"..."there's light at the end of the tunnel"..."one more time"..."one more river to cross"..."it's ain't over till it's over"(better version of previous quote)..."can't touch this"(hmm does that fit?)

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

Give you all for UT today! Go Vols and many thanks to the Seniors who will play their last game at TBA today!!

tomkats3242 writes:

Thank goodness we can watch the lady vols play at 4. Glad to say goodbye to the senior boys. Looking forward to the next season, maybe we can find some players.

SummittsCourt writes:

Go get what's yours Vols!

1vavolfan writes:

Should be a strong crowd. I got mine on Stubhub but noticed they were selling about twice as high as the Kentucky game. These are the 2 best rebounding teams in the SEC, hopefully the 4 guard lineup works but it wouldn't surprise me to see Kenny and Jarnell at the same time. Stokes staying out of foul trouble will be key.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Things well certainly have to change on the defensive end..Putting up 83 points is the norm for Mizzo and something we rarely do..I really don't see how a 4 guard line up will work against Bower who has 2 twenty point games going..Does this mean a freshman Moore will draw Bower or Richardson?? Hall is not a great defender but if you give up 3 inches to Bower he will kill us..Not to mention Mizzo has 2 great guards that we just can't keep giving up undefended drives in the lane which have killed us the last 3 games..With 2 good post players and 2 seasoned guards Mizzo scares the h&ll out of me with potential bad mismatches!!! Hopefully Mizzo's poor road shooting continues but with Bower coming off a seventy five percent shot game and Brown pouring in points we will have to shoot almost sixty percent to get the win

UKblue02 writes:

Well Vols if you lose today maybe we can split bus fare to the NIT.... :(

hikerdude writes:

I hope Cuonzo has a plan for containing #1. He is quick as lightning, and we don't any one who can stop him by himself.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to hikerdude:

I hope Cuonzo has a plan for containing #1. He is quick as lightning, and we don't any one who can stop him by himself.

Yeah, I keep thinking about how UT allowed the Auburn guard to constantly dribble penetrate and basically go to the rim anytime he wanted to. They slowed it down when they had to, but that guy is a shell of what this PG at Mizzou has become.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

If everyone brings their A game can we can win.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

3 & 0 against Eddie Munster..

underthehill writes:

in response to UKblue02:

Well Vols if you lose today maybe we can split bus fare to the NIT.... :(

Do you think Cal will accept an NIT bid if UK don't make the big show..I doubt it..as for the Vols..I do think they will make it if they beat Mizzu today..if not..I don't think they go unless they win the SEC tourn..

meemaw writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Thank goodness we can watch the lady vols play at 4. Glad to say goodbye to the senior boys. Looking forward to the next season, maybe we can find some players.

What an absolutely hurtful post to four young men who gave their all for Tennessee. You should be ashamed of yourself!!

UKblue02 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Do you think Cal will accept an NIT bid if UK don't make the big show..I doubt it..as for the Vols..I do think they will make it if they beat Mizzu today..if not..I don't think they go unless they win the SEC tourn..

I have no idea what Cal is thinking, personally if we do go to the NIT i think we will be one and done...I think you are right about the Vols situation..

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

Quotes from the article:

"Fate in hands, fans in stands, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team will take the floor for a regular-season finale worthy of an impending packed house.

The Missouri Tigers, a talented bunch jostling for a double-bye in the SEC tournament and seeding lines in the NCAA tournament, is coming to Thompson-Boling Arena today (TV: ESPN, 4 p.m.). The Vols, sitting inside a delicate NCAA bubble and scanning SEC scenarios that could land them between third and seventh place in the standings, are anticipating a crowd exceeding the arena’s 21,678 seats."
========================================================
"Fate in hands?" FATE? Be serious, please. Pens are in hands. Pistols are in hands. Footballs or basketballs are in hands.

Fate is the province, and thus in the hands, of The Almighty, if one believes in the concept of fate. Depending on one's theology, it is either cobbled together by one's thoughts and
actions, or predetermined by forces greater than the individual.

Perhaps the predetermined concept is what some predestinationists have in common with astrologers.

Perhaps the "cobbled together" is what some evangelicals from non-Protestant, Christianity may have in common with Muslims.

None of that is relevant to this basketball article, except that readers may be wondering about the grammar and sentence structure of it:

"...Tigers...is coming..." Pairing a plural subject and a singular verb, is unusual. That grammatical construct is an automatic "F" in both English 101 and Newswriting 101, in accredited universities.

"Impending" as a modifier of the noun "house," in "packed house," implies the entire 21,678 are outside, waiting to get in.

Where did Quinn go to college? Certainly he did not attend UT, where English is the official language.

Perhaps his alma mater is "Bama," or Vanderbilt.

Maybe he is from the Missouri Ozarks.

Wherever he originated, residents may need a course in "Engish-As-A-Seond-Language."

The News-Sentinel has had some very good sports journalists over the years.

Now comes one, who does not proof-read his own copy, and somehow skirts copy editors.

Perhaps budget cuts expunged copy editors. Maybe they were redacted. Maybe they were rubbed out.

Snapshot writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess you watched the cats roll the lizards today. lol

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

This is such a weird day....
Both the LV's and Vols have big games.

They are almost mirror games of one another, in terms of being tight games and the timing.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

We're online with ESPdarN!! Thank you ESPN. It's much better online than in a noisy room. Got my headset on and enjoying halftime as we start all over in the second. 30-30. I always listen to bert and the other guy at half. Don't know why.

Snapshot writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Great day, wasn't it? Vols win and the gaters lose, beautiful day!

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You don't mean to tell?

Basketvol writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wrong again. You should be worried about your own team. How'd they do today?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Thank goodness we can watch the lady vols play at 4. Glad to say goodbye to the senior boys. Looking forward to the next season, maybe we can find some players.

Sometimes you read posts on this board and just have to say, "Wow! Where did THAT come from?"

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good-bye, 9! DA. We should be so lucky!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

Quotes from the article:

"Fate in hands, fans in stands, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team will take the floor for a regular-season finale worthy of an impending packed house.

The Missouri Tigers, a talented bunch jostling for a double-bye in the SEC tournament and seeding lines in the NCAA tournament, is coming to Thompson-Boling Arena today (TV: ESPN, 4 p.m.). The Vols, sitting inside a delicate NCAA bubble and scanning SEC scenarios that could land them between third and seventh place in the standings, are anticipating a crowd exceeding the arena’s 21,678 seats."
========================================================
"Fate in hands?" FATE? Be serious, please. Pens are in hands. Pistols are in hands. Footballs or basketballs are in hands.

Fate is the province, and thus in the hands, of The Almighty, if one believes in the concept of fate. Depending on one's theology, it is either cobbled together by one's thoughts and
actions, or predetermined by forces greater than the individual.

Perhaps the predetermined concept is what some predestinationists have in common with astrologers.

Perhaps the "cobbled together" is what some evangelicals from non-Protestant, Christianity may have in common with Muslims.

None of that is relevant to this basketball article, except that readers may be wondering about the grammar and sentence structure of it:

"...Tigers...is coming..." Pairing a plural subject and a singular verb, is unusual. That grammatical construct is an automatic "F" in both English 101 and Newswriting 101, in accredited universities.

"Impending" as a modifier of the noun "house," in "packed house," implies the entire 21,678 are outside, waiting to get in.

Where did Quinn go to college? Certainly he did not attend UT, where English is the official language.

Perhaps his alma mater is "Bama," or Vanderbilt.

Maybe he is from the Missouri Ozarks.

Wherever he originated, residents may need a course in "Engish-As-A-Seond-Language."

The News-Sentinel has had some very good sports journalists over the years.

Now comes one, who does not proof-read his own copy, and somehow skirts copy editors.

Perhaps budget cuts expunged copy editors. Maybe they were redacted. Maybe they were rubbed out.

This post, which itself has too many errors and false assumptions to count, much less correct, puts all your other voluminous rants in a new light. You are just a plain and simple NUT!

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