Friday, November 11, 2011

UNCG (0-0) @ Tennessee (0-0)

When: Friday, November 11 7 pm
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)
TV: FoxSportsNet*/ESPN3
* The game will be shown on a tape delayed basis in the triad & triangle for TWC subscribers.

Tennessee Athletics
Tennessee Forum (Scout)
Rocky Top Talk (Blog)

Preseason Preview

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, Trevis Simpson paced the Spartans with 18 points as UNCG crushed neighbor Greensboro College 91-48 in an exhibition contest. Simpson lead 4 Spartans in double figures as UNCG led by a comfortable 53-23 halftime margin.
- Almost every preseason prediction possible has placed the Spartans in the 4th spot in the North division behind Chattanooga, App State & Western Carolina.
- UNCG returns 4 of 5 starters from last year's squad.
- 2009-2010 leading scorer Brandon Evans is the only significant loss from last year's team.
- Evans averaged 11.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
- UNCG finished last season with a record of 7-24.
- Trevis Simpson is the leading returning scorer with 11.8 points per game. Aaron Bracket led in rebounds (6.0) and Kyle Randall led in assists (3.4).
- Last season, UNCG shot 42.9% from the field, 35.6% from behind the arc and 69.0% from the free throw line.

Volunteer Notes:
- Last time out Tennessee hung on to beat the #2 ranked team in DII, Lincoln Memorial University, 76-67. The game was an exhibition contest. The Volunteers led comfortably until a late run by LMU cut their lead down to 4 with less than 8 minutes remaining. Tennessee was lead by Trae Golden with 22 points and 8 assists.
- Last season Tennessee finished 19-15 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
- Amid an NCAA investigation, former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl was replaced by Cuonzo Martin. Martin coached the last 3 seasons at Missouri State.
-The Volunteers have a lot of fire power to replace from last season's squad. Last year's top 2 scorers left early for the NBA. Scotty Hopson (17.3 pts, 3.3 rebs) and Tobias Harris (15.3 pts, 7.3 rebs) both left school early.
- The only major contributor to return is Cameron Tatum. He is the leading returning scorer (8.8), rebounder (3.1). He is also the leading returner in assists (2.3).
- Last season, The Vols shot 43.1% from the field, 30.0% from behind the arc and 68.4% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
UNCG beat up on Greensboro College in the exhibition game, but didn't shoot well from behind the arc. 3-15 will not cut it against a team from the SEC playing in its home opener. Part of the problem was that sharp shooting freshman Nick Paulos was injured. It's not certain whether Paulos will be available in Knoxville. If he isn't, others will have to step up and make shots.

The Vols are playing with a bunch of new pieces and a new coaching staff. They could be vulnerable for an upset as ever right now. But the Spartans will have to play well. A road win over a power conference team could be a major boost for a program looking to rebound from several lean seasons. I hope they can get it done.

Go Spartans !!!