Tennessee got run out of Rupp Arena on Saturday night, taking their first loss in SEC play. It was total domination by the Wildcats, who pretty simply outworked the Vols.
Tennessee’s red hot offense hit the skids as Kentucky suffocated anything that entered the paint. To make matters worse, Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bowden and Admiral Schofield couldn’t buy a jumper. The three combined to go 1-17 from long range.
It was one of those nights for Tennessee, now it’s time to see how the Vols respond. It was their first lost since Black Friday, so this is uncharted territory for Rick Barnes’ squad this year. They’ll have to get up off of the mat quickly, considering how the rest of their SEC schedule shapes up.
Looking ahead, another big road game looms on this week’s schedule. After taking a loss on Saturday, Tennessee suddenly needs to come away with a win at LSU to stay on top of the SEC regular season standings. But first, Tennessee must take care of an in-state rival once again.
Tennessee will return home to face Vanderbilt on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. eastern. The Commodores are still winless in the SEC, sitting at 0-12. Oddly enough, their best shot at an SEC win came against the Vols in Nashville. Vanderbilt let that one slip away late, however. The ‘Dores seemingly always give Tennessee everything they’ve got in Memorial, but there’s no reason the Vols shouldn’t easily handle business in Knoxville.
Vanderbilt hasn’t been getting blown out in recent weeks, losing games somewhere around the ten point margin over their last five. There’s still some talent on this roster with Saben Lee and Simisola Shittu, but the Commodores never recovered from the loss of Darius Garland just five games into the season.
Here’s the next test for Tennessee. LSU, fresh off a win at Kentucky, is now tied for the lead in the SEC standings. The Tigers are legit, only losing one game in conference play to this point. Will Wade has done an outstanding job of adding talent in a short amount of time, bringing in Tremont Waters, Naz Reid and Ja’vonte Smart. That talent has LSU sitting at 21-4 this season.
LSU survived at Georgia on Saturday in a classic letdown spot following a big win. The Tigers battle back to erase a deficit and find yet another win on the road. They’ll get home games against Florida and Tennessee this week.
Tennessee and LSU will square off in Baton Rouge at noon eastern on Saturday.