Tennessee, Alabama in good form for rematch

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin reacts in the closing seconds of an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi State at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee won 69-53. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin reacts in the closing seconds of an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi State at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee won 69-53. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

All it took was nine wins in 10 games and a 60-foot prayer to set up today’s meeting between Tennessee and Alabama in the SEC tournament quarterfinals.

Much has happened since the Vols and Tide last met.

It was Jan. 26 when the two squared off in Knoxville. UT avenged a loss to Bama three weeks earlier with a 54-53 victory. The Vols then lost two of their next three, but found traction to capture nine of the next 10, including Thursday’s 69-53 win over Mississippi State in the SEC tournament.

Alabama found some footing as well.

Coach Anthony Grant’s team won eight of 12 since the loss at Thompson-Boling Arena. The stretch was enough to slide the Tide into a three-way tie with Kentucky and Ole Miss for second place in the SEC. Tiebreakers landed them as tournament’s No. 4 seed.

The last Bama win came in style. Scrambling up-court with the clock about to expire on a 58-58 tie with Georgia, junior guard Trevor Releford heaved a 60-foot shot from midcourt.

Net.

The 61-58 victory allowed Alabama to avoid a three-game losing streak to close the season after losses to Florida and at Ole Miss. Releford’s toss also landed the Tide a double-bye in the SEC tournament.

“They had one of the best four-guard lineups in the country with their guards,” UT coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Trevor is one of the best point guards in America. He’s is a big time scoring guard. They have the parts to be successful.”

Releford averaged 20.4 points over the last six games, shooting 56.8 percent from the field. Alabama’s other guards — Trevor Lacy, Rodney Cooper and Levi Randolph — combine to average exactly 30.0 points.

Those guards are the focal point of a pressing, trapping defense that has given the Vols fits.

“You can’t get into an up-and-down game with them,” UT senior guard Skylar McBee said. “We’ll have to slow it down and run our offense, get good looks.”

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

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Comments » 54

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

This game will be a b##ch. It's well-known UT struggles against scoring guards....kind of how teams struggle with McRae.

McBee is right, UT has to get good looks, especially to Stokes. Hall has to give good minutes, too.

The wildcards will be Cheivous (sp) and Goldern: Trae has to take care of the ball and get to the line. Cheivous has to keep making the hustle/hard-nosed plays.

Big, big game for the Vols.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to emailnodata:

This game will be a b##ch. It's well-known UT struggles against scoring guards....kind of how teams struggle with McRae.

McBee is right, UT has to get good looks, especially to Stokes. Hall has to give good minutes, too.

The wildcards will be Cheivous (sp) and Goldern: Trae has to take care of the ball and get to the line. Cheivous has to keep making the hustle/hard-nosed plays.

Big, big game for the Vols.

"Golden"

sorry all...eyes are beat to hell.

VOLKING writes:

Alright folks, here's what I would tell the players. "Win today and leave no doubt whatsoever! Don't take any plays off and play like it's the most important game of your life. Win and you're in. Lose and I guarantee you the selection committee will leave you out. You can rest during the off-season." GO BIG ORANGE!!!

GreeneVol writes:

This looks like a great match-up. I think we'll get out of the gates better than Bama due to their longer layoff but their legs should keep them in it. But we didn't have to struggle too hard against MSU...who knows...Go Vols.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

I honestly believe UT may have to make the Finals to get a big....at the least, the semis.

I just think if the selection committee gets a chance for a weaker St. Mary's over a moderate Tenn (or Bama), they will go with St. Mary's to get that "sleeper" excitement.

So, the guys did their first step with MSU. Bama...looks to be a fight. For either team, in my estimation, works not done.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

BTW...
this is why I want to see the system change:
seed the top 48, then let everyone else play in to the final 16 spots. takes about a week.

Yeah, maybe have to do away with Conf Tourneys, but they usually suck anyway.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to emailnodata:

BTW...
this is why I want to see the system change:
seed the top 48, then let everyone else play in to the final 16 spots. takes about a week.

Yeah, maybe have to do away with Conf Tourneys, but they usually suck anyway.

So then the entire regular season boils down to fighting for those top 48 seeds?
No conference tournaments?
That means (effectively) no conferences at all if there are no tournaments and it all boils down to the top 48.

That idea is (imnasho) STUPIDITY run AMOK.

Orange_Beach writes:

Who cares, we'll see UT in October.

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

What time and day and place is the game.. this article doesn't say nor what channel it's on..

I'm not caring to watch it now.. have to look all this up somewhere else.

plainspeaker1 writes:

in response to Henley-Street-Bridge:

What time and day and place is the game.. this article doesn't say nor what channel it's on..

I'm not caring to watch it now.. have to look all this up somewhere else.

Friday(today) at 3:00 on ESPNU

SummittsCourt writes:

A win here and a baseball sweep of the bamers sure would make for a great weekend!

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

A win here and a baseball sweep of the bamers sure would make for a great weekend!

2nd.

bigdisbig writes:

I am writing this in hopes I am wrong but I don't see the Vols winning this game. Bama will be fresh and ready whereas the Vols are tired and after all the screwey passes and turnovers yesterday the Vols just are not ready for this game. The winner will go dancing and the loser to the NIT.

GreeneVol writes:

Nice intensity in the photo of Coach 'Zo. They won't give in without a fight.

jt45 writes:

in response to plainspeaker1:

Friday(today) at 3:00 on ESPNU

I think its 3.30 tipoff.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

I am writing this in hopes I am wrong but I don't see the Vols winning this game. Bama will be fresh and ready whereas the Vols are tired and after all the screwey passes and turnovers yesterday the Vols just are not ready for this game. The winner will go dancing and the loser to the NIT.

Got the feeling yesterday that the players were trying to expel the least amount of energy knowing MSU couldn't hang..Will have to play lights out on defense and big 3 must shoot well..Sometimes that long bye can hurt a 4 seed with ice cold shooting

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

I am writing this in hopes I am wrong but I don't see the Vols winning this game. Bama will be fresh and ready whereas the Vols are tired and after all the screwey passes and turnovers yesterday the Vols just are not ready for this game. The winner will go dancing and the loser to the NIT.

Ohhh stop this tired stuff after just 1 game---few years back Ga won the tourney played on sunday after playing 2 games on saturday cause of the tornado that shut down down play on friday

Tucker31 writes:

From Lunardi. HUGE GAME!!! Go Vols!!

Tennessee [20-11 (11-7), RPI: 55, SOS: 34] Tennessee's first goal at this week's SEC tournament -- avoid the bad-loss landmine that is Mississippi State -- is officially in the books. That win doesn't put UT in the tournament (this should be obvious, but someone in our chat asked about it Thursday, so maybe it's worth clarifying) because all wins are not created equal. But what it does do is set the Volunteers up for something close to a knockout matchup against Alabama Friday. The Vols could simultaneously solidify their bid and damage a bubble competitor's (albeit a long-shot competitor), which is like getting two birds for the price of one stone. I think that's how that saying goes. Anyway, big game, and one UT can afford to lose more than the Crimson Tide -- but only barely.

Tucker31 writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

This looks like a great match-up. I think we'll get out of the gates better than Bama due to their longer layoff but their legs should keep them in it. But we didn't have to struggle too hard against MSU...who knows...Go Vols.

I was concerned when State got within 10 and we had Hall, Chevious and Moore in the game. Smart move giving them so many minutes, should have a lot of energy today. Biggest game of the Cuanzo era by far. Here's a stat: Our staff of Martin, Harris, and Williams had more career points (when they played in college) than any other coaching staff in the country. Pretty cool it's over 5000.

BeRealistic writes:

What's the big deal about going to NCAA tourney? We will play a top team 1st game & get beat bad. Good for recruiting? Maybe

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to MooseandSquirrelVol:

So then the entire regular season boils down to fighting for those top 48 seeds?
No conference tournaments?
That means (effectively) no conferences at all if there are no tournaments and it all boils down to the top 48.

That idea is (imnasho) STUPIDITY run AMOK.

"That mean's no conference at all"
Gee, bubba, there's this thing called "regular season". Most of us have heard of it.

Secondly, there are 16 slot to be fought for. This, you idiot is WHAT HAPPENS NOW BUT IS DONE BY A SELECTION COMMITTEE....not played out on the floor.

In rough terms, cause you'd have to adjust, these are the genes to be played...
150, 75, 37, 16;
that's 4 days of games, easily done over a week's time. Best of all, it's NOT conference based, so a team such as UT or Bama can compete with teams from other conferences.

Sure beats the hell out of trying to look good to a computer and a selection committee.

Tucker31 writes:

in response to BeRealistic:

What's the big deal about going to NCAA tourney? We will play a top team 1st game & get beat bad. Good for recruiting? Maybe

I would enjoy TN winning the SEC Tournament probably more than just a "good showing" in the NCAA's. But... this TN team is very dangerous and IMHO can hang with anyone in the country. Teams that are peaking this time of year are the ones that do well in the tournament. Not to mention the old saying: "Guards win Tournamnets" , and we have the best front-court in the SEC, possibly the nation. A run in the tournament would also help recruiting immensely. None of the big prospects are lured to town fora chance to play in the NIT. It's go BIG or go HOME.
Go VOLS!!

KevDVol writes:

in response to emailnodata:

"Golden"

sorry all...eyes are beat to hell.

I actually thought you had made up a clever countryfied nickname for when he is not playing quite up to par. Hopefully, there will be little need to yell "gol-dern!" and he is all Golden today.

agentorange writes:

Does KNS have editors any more? These articles blather on and convey no real effing info. How about putting the game time and channel in every article that appears BEFORE the game? Should be in the first sentence.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

BTW....
I think the seed 48, play-in 16 will happen.

The 'why'??
That is roughly 275 games high-emotion basketball for the networks to share...and when it comes down to it, the networks now drive college sports.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to agentorange:

Does KNS have editors any more? These articles blather on and convey no real effing info. How about putting the game time and channel in every article that appears BEFORE the game? Should be in the first sentence.

3/15 3:30 PM EDT Tennessee vs. Alabama (Quarterfinal #2): SEC Men's Basketball Tournament
ESPNU

ESPN3

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to emailnodata:

3/15 3:30 PM EDT Tennessee vs. Alabama (Quarterfinal #2): SEC Men's Basketball Tournament
ESPNU

ESPN3

ESPdarnU if we're gonna let you see the game channel. ESPdarN3 possible but not likely for me. They did show the last game and I was happy about that. Charter though will stop it if they can seemingly. GREED!! They don't care about the poor fans with no money. GREED#&^$%# I say...at least i will say it if they blackout the game.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

ESPdarnU if we're gonna let you see the game channel. ESPdarN3 possible but not likely for me. They did show the last game and I was happy about that. Charter though will stop it if they can seemingly. GREED!! They don't care about the poor fans with no money. GREED#&^$%# I say...at least i will say it if they blackout the game.

Yeah will I go back far enough to remember the only Volball on TV was 2 or 3 games a year in black and white, and then the Ray Mears show.

Thank goodness John Ward was a great game announcer.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to agentorange:

Does KNS have editors any more? These articles blather on and convey no real effing info. How about putting the game time and channel in every article that appears BEFORE the game? Should be in the first sentence.

Almost NO daily publications have the kind of editors you are thinking of. These pieces go directly from the writer's keyboard to the website. There may be SOME traditional copy editing for articles that will actually be in the next day's paper, but you see the most elementary mistakes in grammar, word usage, and composition in all KINDS of publications these days. Gotta cut those expenses, dontcha know! What percentage of the reading public knows or cares about that stuff anyway(;-/)?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Yeah will I go back far enough to remember the only Volball on TV was 2 or 3 games a year in black and white, and then the Ray Mears show.

Thank goodness John Ward was a great game announcer.

No question John was the lifeline to Vol football and basketball for lots of us. I remember many nights listening over a staticky transistor radio while I was in Army camps or living in a farm house during my musician days. As the Kenny Chesney song says of John, "His voice was our eyes". Look it up on YouTube if you haven't heard it. It will bring a tear to the eye of any true Vol fan.

BoroVol86 writes:

in response to BeRealistic:

What's the big deal about going to NCAA tourney? We will play a top team 1st game & get beat bad. Good for recruiting? Maybe

You're dumb

Pompey writes:

....time to end this nonsense...Tennessee is the better team...get it done and move on to the big dance....!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

time for the men's game to go to the 30-second shot clock.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

You know McBee will miss when his wrist flicks back too hard.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

tenn's 3-pt shooting (or lack of) is hurting bigtime.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

McRae's gotta get going in this game.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

I dunno....
UT's D has been awful, shooting is bad....

but only 4 down.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

can't believe UT did not go over the top on that last play.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to emailnodata:

tenn's 3-pt shooting (or lack of) is hurting bigtime.

email,

True. Plus, the 3 point defense is horrible. What's with Stokes out on the perimeter trying to hang with Releford? And Stokes being tired?????
Why?

Bama quicker hands on defense looks like will be deciding factor. Vols have been in love with the 3 and only 2 have fallen.

It's just halftime, but so far.........several blown layups. If not for a couple of tipped in baskets, Tennessee would be down by maybe 8 or 10.

McRae so far is being shoved around and at this point, he hasn't been able to deal with it.

We'll see how they want to handle the pressure,
and find a way to convert around the basket ....
in the 2nd half.

Don't let us down Vols.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

fellas, about 9 minutes left.

UT's been outsmarted, and the perimeter game has let them down.

Think this one's done, and NIT bound.

jt45 writes:

Pathetic, slow down half court offense, way to give away a shot at the big dance.

vol98champ writes:

Same old story for so many years. Alabama has quicker players, more athletic, and today more intensity. They frustrate us and we miss shot after shot. How many times has this happened in the last 30 something years?

KENVOL writes:

Man Tenn. sure does like to watch people blow past them, throw up 3 pointers and stand around. They don't deserve to even go to the NIT.

8inarow writes:

5, 4, 3, 2, 1....now Cuonzo, who was the master yesterday, will be the goat today.

vol98champ writes:

Our boys and girls both need a real dose of toughness. It wouldn't hurt if Conzo would recruit someone who can shoot.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

Another typcial SEC tourney finish for us.

AlpharettaVol writes:

Looked like the Vols gave up in the last 3 minutes. Worst free throw shooting I've ever seen. How many 2-foot shots did we miss? While Stokes is an outstanding rebounder because of his sheer size, he just can't jump for a guy his size.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 8inarow:

5, 4, 3, 2, 1....now Cuonzo, who was the master yesterday, will be the goat today.

You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing Eddie Munster won't have to go 0&4 against Cuonzo until next season.

8inarow writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing Eddie Munster won't have to go 0&4 against Cuonzo until next season.

And the Vols will lose at home to NIT bottom dweller S. Carolina State.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to 8inarow:

And the Vols will lose at home to NIT bottom dweller S. Carolina State.

...and the Gators will fall to "Jerry Falwell" U.

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