Coming off a tough 73-60 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Volunteers (11-9, 3-5 SEC) are looking to bounce back against the Georgia Bulldogs (10-11, 4-4 SEC) later tonight.
The Vols are 3-1 against SEC opponents at home this season, but they're running into a Georgia team that is being carried on a hot streak by sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
"Georgia is a team that's won three in a row," head coach Cuonzo Martin said. "They are playing really well together, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is playing good basketball, some of the best basketball in the league, scoring the basketball, getting to the rim, shooting three point shot, getting out in the pass lane, getting steals, and he is playing well for those guys."
Tennessee holds a sizable rebounding margin over Georgia, and senior forward Kenny Hall says that is definitely going to be an advantage for the Vols.
"I think we're a lot more physical inside than Georgia is," Hall said. "We're a little bit bigger so I think that that will definitely be an advantage for us."
Jordan McRae started out hot against SEC opponents, averaging 20.8 points per game in the first six match-ups this season, but the previous two SEC games' defenses have changed their defense on him, which has led to him shooting 4-of-21 with a combined 13 points.
"Well I think they are being physical with him," Martin said. "They're being aggressive up front, forcing his looks, forcing him to make plays off the dribble, and rotating people to help on him. We have to get him off the ball so now he's able to just catch and shoot, come off screens and make plays as opposed to bringing the ball up because when he brings the ball up they can identify him, they know where he is at all times, as opposed to where he is running off screens, cutting through the lane, setting back screens for other guys, and he's catching and shooting then he uses his dribble."
Both Georgia and Tennessee are prone to turning over the ball so taking care of the ball could be a factor.
"That's gonna be a factor," Hall said. "We gotta do our job and make them turn the ball over as well as we gotta take care of the ball but what we got to do is just key in on our defensive assignments, rebound the ball, of course take care of the ball, score the ball, get the ball inside and shot the ball well and we're gonna be OK."
Hall was arrested earlier this week for driving with a suspended license. It is unsure whether he will be playing on tonight.
The game will tip-off at 8 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.