* Subject to Blackout
Well, after Sunday's game against the Fightin' Griners, Tennessee gets a bit more normal of a matchup as MTSU comes to town. We'll take a look at MTSU below the fold, as well as a few things to look for out of Tennessee.
First comment: MTSU wins the All-Team First Names of the NCAA Award. It didn't exist before now, but they win by default.
Level of competition and all that, but MTSU has a player averaging a double-double, outperforming both Stricklen and Johnson in that regard. Ebony Rowe is clearly the heartbeat of the team in the interior and will likely be matched up against Johnson as Baugh takes on KeKe Stewart and Icelyn Elie (they won't always be on the court together). Ebony and Icelyn together are the clear bulk of the rebounding effort of the team, and if Baugh and Johnson don't beat them to the rebounds, they need to at least box out and rely on other Lady Vols to clean things up. Tennessee clearly outrebounded the Griners on Sunday; they need to do it again.
Otherwise, Tennessee will once again enjoy a modest height advantage in this game. MTSU does have a couple taller players on the bench, but they are currently good for only a couple minutes a game, so should not be too impactful unless MTSU tries to match height with Tennessee.
Tennessee should win, but they need to carry forward the first half focus of the Baylor game and start strong out of the gate again. First halves have been the bane of Tennessee for years now, and now is the time to cure that ill. The rebounding effort on Sunday was the best of the year: has Tennessee learned their lesson and dedicated to the boards, or was that just the glamour of the ESPN game? Prove that it's a trend, not an exception.
Perhaps most importantly, Tennessee has had two bad shooting games in a row. That is a trend, and one that needs to end immediately. Will the guards find their stroke? We will find out shortly enough.
BassWatch™: 4 minutes left in the first