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Y'all can go to Hades, we're going to Texas

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A handful of Tennessee Volunteers are once again headed south to the Alamo, this time to avenge an earlier loss to an adversary to the north. It's No. 25 or Not-Ranked versus No. 1, a Five Seed against a One Seed, an overmatched underdog attempting to alpha-roll the Top Dog. The cast of characters:

PROBABLE STARTERS
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Pos
No.
Name
Ht
Wt
Yr
PPG
RPG
APG
F 23 Dane Bradshaw 6-4 205 Sr.
5.6
4.1
4.7
F 4 Wayne Chism 6-9 245 Fr.
9.1
5.4
0.9
G 5 Chris Lofton 6-2 200 Jr.
20.7
3.0
1.8
G 2 JaJuan Smith 6-2 196 Jr.
15.3
4.4
1.3
G 12 Ramar Smith 6-2 185 Fr.
10.6
3.4
3.1
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Pos
No.
Name
Ht
Wt
Yr
PPG
RPG
APG
F 3 Ivan Harris 6-7 220 Sr.
7.7
3.2
0.8
C 20 Greg Oden 7-0 280 Fr.
15.6
9.8
0.7
G 1 Mike Conley Jr. 6-1 180 Fr.
10.6
3.3
6.2
G 14 Jamar Butler 6-2 205 Jr.
8.7
2.1
3.7
G 31 Daequan Cook 6-5 210 Fr.
12.2
3.5
1.3

So we have 7'0" versus 6'9", 6'7" versus 6'4", and 6'5", 6'2", 6'1" versus three 6'2"s. Oden, who is a "freshman" but looks like a veteran (yeah, a World War II veteran! bada-bing!), gets all of the headlines for OSU, and although he averages almost a double double, his average point total of 15.6 is significantly lower than you'd think considering all of his hype. It's nowhere near Lofton's 20.7 average. JaJuan Smith also beats OSU's next leading average scorer by three points. Look at Mike Conley's assists per game, though. 6.2 is pretty solid.

They (you know, those guys) keep saying that Oden is a different player than he was when we saw him back on January 13. Yeah, well, so is Wayne Chism, and although Chism gives up three inches and 35 pounds, he may surprise some people. I actually expect Chism to play Oden straight up because doubling off of Ivan Harris leaves Harris open to rebound, and doubling off of one of the guards leaves good shooters open for good shots. Whatever the case, whoever is guarding Conley must stay with him, as his field goal percentage is even better than Lofton's (52.1% to 47.8%). Conley appears to be more of a driver than a set and shoot kind of guy, though, because his percentage on three-pointers is only 31.1%. Daequan Cook, on the other hand, has a better three-point percentage (42.7%) than does Lofton (41.7%), and Jamar Butler (39.3%) is not far behind. As a team, they average about seven three-point shots per game. Bottom line, we'll need solid team defense with a minimum of true double teams to hold the Buckeyes in check.

Ohio State's record (32-3 overall and 15-1 in the Big "this-one-goes-to-eleven" Conference) is downright frightening. Is there any comfort to be found in their schedule?

Date
Opponent
Result/ Score
11/10 VMI 107-69
11/11 Loylola-Chi 87-75
11/12 Kent St 81-59
11/17 E Kentucky 74-45
11/20 USF 82-60
11/24 YSU 91-57
11/29 at #6 UNC 98-89
12/02 Valparaiso 78-58
12/09 Clev St 78-57
12/16 at Cincy 72-50
12/19 Iowa St 75-56
12/23 at #4 Florida 86-60
12/30 Coppin St 91-54
01/02 Indiana 74-67
01/06 at Illinois 62-44
01/09 at #4 Wisconsin 72-69
01/13 #20 Tennessee 68-66
01/17 N'western 73-41
01/20 Iowa 82-63
01/24 at N'western 59-50
01/27 Mich St 66-64
01/31 at Purdue 78-60
02/03 at Mich St 63-54
02/06 Michigan 76-63
02/10 Purdue 63-56
02/14 at Penn State 64-62
02/18 at Minnesota 85-67
02/21 Penn State 68-60
02/25 #2 Wisconsin 49-48
03/03 at Michigan 65-61
03/09 Michigan 72-62
03/10 Purdue 63-52
03/11 #4 Wisconsin 66-49
03/15 vs C Conn 78-57
03/17 vs Xavier 78-71

Uh, not really. Their three losses came against Florida, North Carolina, and Wisky, and they went on to beat Wisconsin twice after that. They also beat Michigan State twice and Purdue thrice. Shoot, they have won their last 19 games.

So much of the chatter on Rocky Top this week is focusing on the fact that Tennessee could have beaten the Buckeyes on their own floor back in January if Tennessee had not missed some key free throws late in the game. True. True, too, that Tennessee may have grown, matured, and improved as much as OSU has over the last two months. And true again that Ohio State was nearly sent packing by Xavier this past weekend while Tennessee was blowing away a lower seed and beating a higher seed.

Still, teams with a solid inside presence and a height advantage have given the Vols fits this year. Teams have learned over the course of the season that even though Lofton is one of the best contested shooters in the country, doubling him will effectively shut him down and make it extremely difficult for him to even get a pass off to the open guy. And history tells us that Tennessee doesn't shoot very well when the name of the venue ends with the word "dome."

So, yeah, remember the Alamo. Just don't forget how it ended.