Tennessee basketball officially kicked off its season with a win earlier in the week over Colorado.
Opening the season up with a power conference victory is very attractive on the resumè at March Madness time. Now it’s time for another power opponent this weekend.
Tennessee (1-0) will host the Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1) on Saturday for a 12:30 tip in Thompson-Boling Arena. This will be a revenge game for Tennessee, considering they lost last season 78-66 in Cincy.
VIEW OF THE VOLS
We got small taste of what the rest of season is going to look like for the Vols. Tuesday, only two Tennessee players finished in double-digits: Santiago Vescovi and John Fulkerson, both with 11 points. We also know that this team is elite when it comes to the defensive side of the ball.
Before Colorado played Tennessee they were averaging close to 80 PPG and they walked out of TBA with 47 points.
Another encouraging stat was that Tennessee shot 36.8 percent from 3-point line, a vast improvement from last season. Also, freshman Jaden Springer hit two of those 3’s and that’s very promising because Springer was not known for his shooting coming out of high school.
If you’re looking for things that Tennessee could improve on, here are two big things. For starters, we need to see better lineups on the floor from Rick Barnes. Considering it was the first game, he gets a pass. But this game, better lineups are a must with Cincinnati being a tougher opponent.
Lastly, Yves Pons has to be more involved in the game plan. Even though he record 11 rebounds Tuesday, he also went 1-of-9 from the field.
This Tennessee team is super athletic and pushing the ball more would benefit Pons in the open court.
VEIW OF THE BEARCATS
Cincinnati is a big, physical team. Their main big man, Chris Vogt, is 7-1 and clogs the middle of the lane up. Vogt will effect every shot that comes in the paint.
The leading scorer of the Bearcats is the senior point guard Keith Williams who averages 17.3 PPG. Williams really started taking off at the end of last season and is the leader of this Bearcat team.
Cincinnati is a very deep team which makes them a good matchup for Tennessee Cincinnati’s record is 2-1 with their one loss being to in-town rival Xavier, but the rest of their wins are not very impressive (Furman and Lipscomb).
Without a doubt, Cincinnati’s style doesn’t change. They don’t shoot 100 3’s a game. They play a slow-paced game and they’ll want to control clock. Cincinnati will try to keep the game in the low 60’s and that could be the key for them to possibly win the game.
No. 12 Tennessee vs. Cincinnati
When: Sat, Dec. 12th, at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena
TV: SEC Network Alternative
Line: Tennessee -8.5
After seeing that Tennessee is capable of playing multiple styles of basketball and the incredible depth, Tennessee should be able to control the game.
With Cincinnati’s lack of scoring and offensive ball movement, Tennessee should be able to light this Bearcat team up, especially from deep because the opportunities will be there.
Tennessee 79, Cincinnati 66