Why you should pay a little more attention to tonight's game than your usual early December SEC vs. Atlantic Sun matchup:
- ETSU will not be intimidated. The Bucs made the NCAA Tournament last year, have already played at Louisville (a 13 point loss) and won at Arkansas, 94-85. In that game, ETSU went a ridiculous 11 of 14 from the three point line.
- Tommy Hubbard scored 32 points in the Arkansas game, and is averaging a double-double with 18.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. The threes come from Justin Tubbs, who takes more than six per game on average and is hitting 42.2%. And preseason All-Atlantic Sun Mike Smith is now back from injury. All three of these guys are listed as guards...and you know how much we loved to defend high scoring perimeter players last year.
- ETSU beat the Charleston team that played with Tennessee for the first 33 minutes before faltering last week. The Bucs won that one 77-71, are picked to win the Atlantic Sun, and the team picked to win the Atlantic Sun last year (Belmont) played the Vols to the wire last December, losing by only two points in Knoxville, 79-77.
- It's ETSU. Small in-state schools with just enough talent to make it interesting with their big brother often do just that. The Bucs have only beaten Tennessee when Wade Houston was the head coach - which means it never really happened - but pushed Bruce to the limit in his second season in December 2006, a 93-88 Tennessee win. When ETSU circles games on their schedule, they start with this one.
Should be fun...but hopefully not so much fun that ETSU is in it in the last five minutes. The Vols will need to play well and take advantage in the post to prevent that from happening. 7:00 PM, SportSouth...as always, we'll have the live game thread here.