Tennessee fell to Florida State on Friday night in Destin, unable to come back from one of the sloppiest starts you’ll ever see from a Rick Barnes team. The Seminoles built a 14-2 lead in the opening minutes as the Volunteers threw away turnover after turnover in the opening minutes.
They really never recovered, either.
Lamonte Turner turned in an ugly, but gutsy performance, keeping Tennessee alive down the stretch when they probably shouldn’t have been. Jordan Bowden’s offensive game was completely missing, however — something that’s going to be tough for this Tennessee team to overcome on any given night this year.
After Tennessee’s matchup, VCU lost a close one to Purdue, meaning the Vols will meet the Rams this afternoon in the third place game. VCU is 6-1 on the year and ranked 20th in the country.
Before last night, VCU had passed their only test of the season to that point, beating LSU 84-82.
VCU isn’t afraid to let the three-ball fly, taking 162 shots from long range so far this season. Tennessee, for reference, has just 113 attempts.
The Rams are led by guard Marcus Evans. The 6-2 senior guard averages nearly 14 points per game, but had a rough outing last night against the Boilermakers. Evans shot just 11 percent from the field, scoring just six points all night.
Marcus Santos-Silva is the other primary scoring option for VCU. The 6-7, 250 pound junior poured in 19 points last night on 8-10 shooting. He trails Evans slightly in the scoring column for the year, but he will be a load for Tennessee to handle in the post. Expect some meetings at the rim between he and Yves Pons this afternoon.
For Tennessee, they had about as bad of a night as you can script against Florida State — and lost by three points. That’s a good sign. We shouldn’t ignore the job that this defense did to keep the Vols in the game. You’re probably not going to get that bad of a shooting effort from Bowden or Turner very often, much less together.
The Volunteers have a chance for a quick turnaround today, but they’ll have to beat a really good VCU team to get that losing taste out of their mouth.
Location: Destin, Florida
Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV Channel: None (Streaming)
Radio: Vol Network
Odds: Tennessee -1