Tennessee didn’t exactly bounce back in style on Tuesday night against South Carolina. After a blowout loss to Alabama, catching a South Carolina group that had dropped five games in a row seemed like a nice bounce-back spot. However, the Vols had to fight for everything down the stretch, barely coming out alive with a win.
Tennessee will obviously take the win, but you won’t win a lot of games in March with efforts like we’ve seen over the past two games from this group. The good news here is that they still have time to figure it out. Next up will be the Georgia Bulldogs, who the Vols will face twice in the next few weeks.
“They’re long. They’re very disciplined in what they like to do offensively and defensively,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said of Georgia. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Mark Fox and what he does and how he runs his program. Our guys understand how tough of a game it’s going to be.”
The Bulldogs are probably as close to a one man show as you’ll find in the SEC. Senior forward Yante Maten is one of the best players in the league and is the only player averaging double figures for Georgia. Maten is scoring over 19 points per game and pulling down nearly nine rebounds per contest.
“Inside and out — he made the two tough threes against Florida,” Barnes said. “They play through him a lot and he’s been consistent. He came through in the (2017) SEC Tournament. He made a couple of big baskets against us.”
Maten is shooting 33 percent from the three point line this season. Grant Williams and Kyle Alexander will have to turn in one of their better performances on the defensive end on Saturday. If Maten were to get into some foul trouble, Georgia has two 6-8 options behind him in Derek Ogbeide and Rayshaun Hammonds.
A couple of 6-4 guards are the secondary scoring options for Georgia. Both William Jackson II and Juwan Parker are averaging 8.8 points per game. Jackson is the volume shooter, ranking second on the team in field goal attempts and first on the team in three point attempts.
Tip-off: Saturday, 5 PM eastern
Location: Athens, Georgia
TV: SEC Network
Radio: Vol Network
Streaming: Watch ESPN