The 8-2 Volunteers came out predictably sluggish in a North Carolina hangover game against Furman, never really waking up. They found a way to get it done in the end, but they’ll have to be better on Saturday on the road.
After an absolutely brutal start to the season, Wake Forest has found their footing over the past few weeks, winning six straight games. The Demon Deacons dropped games against Drake, Liberty, Georgia Southern and Houston, starting the season 1-4. They’ve improved to 7-4 since.
Wake is lead by a couple of guards in Bryant Crawford and Keyshawn Woods. Each of them average over 15 points per contest. Crawford is the guy that makes this team go, leading Wake in assists over the past two seasons.
They’ve got a big presence down low in the form of Doral Moore, who checks in at 7-1, 280 pounds. Needless to say, that’s going to present a big challenge for Grant Williams and Kyle Alexander. Moore averages 11 points to go along with eight boards per game.
Watch out for Brandon Childress, who is shooting 46 percent from three point range this season. Mitchell Wilbekin — the brother of former Florida star Scottie — is a key cog in Wake’s attack, starting over 60 games in his career to this point.
The Demon Deacons rank 63rd in KenPom’s rankings, while Tennessee has fallen to 28th after their struggles over the past couple of games. Similarly, Wake ranks 70th in ESPN’s basketball power index while Tennessee ranks 33rd.
This will be the last game of Tennessee’s true non-conference schedule before SEC play begins. They will get Iowa State on January 27th, but outside of that it’s all league play from here. The Vols will travel to Arkansas on December 30th to kick things off with another tough road test.
If the Vols can get another road win this weekend, they’ll be in great shape as SEC play begins.
Tip-off: 12:30 PM Eastern
Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina
Radio: Vol Network
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Odds: None posted yet