EDIT: Mumblemumble yeah, yeah, I was so thrilled about this game I forgot the links. Here you go.
GameTracker: You're not going to like it, though.
So just to get this out there, the last losing streak the Lady Vols had was two years ago, with back-to-back games against Baylor and Stanford. We'll assume that ends tonight. No disrespect to St. Francis, but they're winless, with the closest game an 80-88 loss to Buffalo. There's not really much to say about the matchup: it's a team with All-Americans vs. a team, well, without All-Americans, or anything close to it. Like the early start to the season, this should be exhibition-esque, which means an easy 40+ point win and another night of a measly 9k attendance (which is mostly season ticket holders getting whatever value they can out of the ticket).
So straight to the bullet points:
- Seriously, just get the simple things right. How long has it been that the Lady Vols seem to want to do things the hard way? I remember the Stricklen/Caine/et al. Baby Vols looking for the athletic plays and not taking what the opponent gave them. Was that the start? I can't remember the Parker teams doing it, but I can't trust my memory there.
This team is much the same: forcing the issue when an easier alternative exists.
- Defense is more than just your girl. One of the troubling trends in Tennessee's defense is their sluggishness when it comes to providing help, rotating, setting up for rebounds, or pretty much anything that doesn't involve shadowing their assigned defender. Some of that is the growing pain of freshmen, but even the experienced players are guilty of it. That's how they end up with rebounding deficits at halftime, until the proverbial boot encourages them to pay more attention to the entire floor.
- How to correct shooting? I certainly don't have an answer here, but the team-wide shooting slump has to end somewhere. Tonight would work nicely. 35% from the floor and 53% from the line were killers against Texas. Likewise, first half numbers of 31% from the floor and 67% from the line in the first half against UT-Chatt were part of that 17 point deficit. (83% from UT-C, which was an entirely different issue, also helped, but UT-K should have been within 10 points even at that).
All in all, it feels like a team that's overthinking. I could easily be wrong on that, but whatever the cause, tonight's a great opportunity to hit the reset button and at least get the losses over with.
Because another loss tonight, and we can pretty well call it a night.
Prediction: UT by a lot. The score really doesn't matter here.
IzzyWatch: DNP. At this point, let her rest some more. Lipscomb is next, so there's time. Besides, the rest of the team has some issues to work out.