The sixth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers return home tonight to face the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Thompson-Boling Arena. Eastern Kentucky sits at 3-3 on the year, picking up wins over Midway, Chattanooga and Kennesaw State.
Tennessee is coming off of a tough game against Kansas, one that they controlled late until Grant Williams fouled out. The Vols didn’t have enough in the overtime period without Williams on the floor, missing out on an opportunity to make an early statement on a national stage.
They’ve got a couple of lighter matchups on the slate this week as they look ahead to their next big one against No. 1 Gonzaga on December 9th.
Eastern Kentucky has already faced a ranked team this season. Kansas State throttled the Colonels at the Paradise Jam, winning by nearly 30 points.
The Colonels are led by 6-9 senior forward Nick Mayo, who is the only player averaging double-figures currently on the team. He also leads the team in rebounds and is shooting 40 percent from three point range.
Lachlan Anderson is his running mate in the front court for the Colonels, standing in at 6-8. Anderson and Mayo will likely have their hands full tonight with star Tennessee forward Grant Williams.
For Tennessee, Rick Barnes floated the idea of a potential lineup change yesterday. Yves Pons was the player of focus here. Barnes has gotten virtually nothing on the offensive end from Jordan Bowden this season and Pons is clearly a guy with a little more upside.
“Just the fact that he’s doing a lot of things that might not show up on the scouting report,” Barnes said on Tuesday of Pons. “He’s a guy that defends, the way he goes to the basket, making things happen.”
If you’re going to experiment a little with a lineup change, now is definitely the time to try it. The Vols have this one and a game on Sunday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Why not see what this lineup could do ahead of Gonzaga and Memphis?
That’s something to watch for tonight.
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Tip-off time: 6:30 eastern (November 28th)
TV Channel: SEC Network
Radio: Vol Network
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Odds: Tennessee -27.5