Just four regular season games remain on Tennessee’s regular season schedule — and they’re not easy. A road trip to Arkansas is up next (Wednesday 8:30 p.m ET, SEC Network), with the Razorbacks looking for some revenge. Tennessee ran the Hogs out of the gym a few weeks ago, blowing out Arkansas in a game that Isaiah Joe missed due to injury.
However, after 21 days, Joe returned to the lineup this weekend.
Isaiah Joe Returns
Joe added 21 points in his return, powering Arkansas to a win over Missouri. The 6-5 sophomore guard makes the Razorbacks that much more dangerous, adding another shooting and scoring threat to an already talented roster.
“It spreads the floor because he is going to shoot it deep and he has great range,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said of Joe. “They have given him the ultimate green light to get shots, and they work to get him shots. They will be a different team there then they were here.”
Joe is averaging 16 points per game, shooting 34 percent from three point range.
Don’t forget about Mason Jones
The last Tennessee-Arkansas game turned out to be an outlier for Jones, who scored just nine points. Jones remains the leading scorer for the Razorbacks, putting up a 38 points game just days removed from his pedestrian outing against the Volunteers.
Tennessee stuck freshman guard Davonte Gaines on Jones in the last game to much success. However, with Joe in the lineup now, Tennessee won’t be able to key in quite as hard on Jones.
“We are going to have to defend them at all three levels when you think about it,” Barnes said. “We are going to have to be locked in on transition defense. We are going to have to be locked into personnel and have to rebound. If we don’t take care of the ball, we are going to have those same issues.”
Tennessee must clean up turnovers
In three straight games, Tennessee has completely fallen apart in the closing minutes. They blew games against South Carolina and Auburn while nearly handing Vanderbilt a win last Tuesday. These late game mistakes and turnovers have become the norm lately — bad news when you consider what’s coming over the next 12 days.
“You have to take care of the ball during those parts of the game,” Barnes said following the Auburn loss. “We are not just going to give them the ball. You can’t. You have to take care of the ball.”
Tennessee racked up 24 turnovers at Auburn on Saturday, causing them to blow a 17 point lead. The Vols went on a six minute scoring drought, allowing Auburn to take the lead in the middle of the second half.
The Vols must kick that trend to the curb if they want a road win tonight.
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