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Vols Look To Get Off The Bubble, Put It All Together Against Vanderbilt

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  • So the Vols are playing with bubbles 19 days from Selection Sunday. The good news, though, is that they have a lot of company, their schedule provides them with ample opportunity to get off the bubble, Scotty Hopson is transforming into a consistent monster right before our eyes, and Tobias Harris is as stealthily solid as ever.
  • Now for the bad news. Tennessee has lost four of its past five games. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has won five in a row and eight of its last ten since blowing a 17-point lead against the Vols on January 15, and they are bigger, stronger, and tougher than Georgia, the most recent team to be stronger and tougher than Tennessee.
  • So do the Vols have any chance against Vandy? Of course. "Having a chance" has never been the issue with this team. They just have to put the pieces together and play consistently, from buzzer to buzzer and game to game. They need Hopson to continue to be the team's primary scoring threat. They need Harris to continue to be the team's stat sheet ninja. And they need -- here's where it gets tricky -- the rest of the team to find their own roles and perform. In the team's biggest wins of the season, at least four Vols have scored in double digits:

    Against Villanova, Hopson scored 18, junior guard Cameron Tatum had 17, Harris scored 15 and senior center Brian Williams added 12.

    Against Pitt, Hopson had 27, senior point guard Melvin Goins had 19 and Tatum added 12. Harris scored just seven points against the Panthers.

    Against Vanderbilt, Hopson scored 16, Harris had 15, Tatum scored 12 and sophomore guard Skylar McBee added 10.

    So who's the key to this team? Cam Tatum -- who had 17, 12, and 12 against 'Nova, Pitt, and Vandy -- and "one other guy," who needs to do well.
  • The Lady Vols clinched the SEC Regular Season with a 77-44 win over Georgia last night.
  • Art Evans' suspension from the football team last season was because -- this is a new one -- he'd fallen behind in his car payments. After starting six of seven games, he missed five, not because he broke team rules or missed practice or got arrested or something, but because he failed to keep a promise to pay for his car. Vol for Life principles in action? I think so. And they're being deployed to help Janzen Jackson, too, even if he never puts on the orange again. Whattayaknow? More good news.