Tennessee basketball and Memphis square off on Saturday afternoon, and the Vols are looking to win back-to-back against the Tigers.
Alright, I’m going to be upfront with you. This won’t be an easy game for either team, but in my opinion, Tennessee is coming into this game as the underdog.
When you compare raw talent from both sides and recent performances, Memphis edges out the Vols even though Tennessee is favored by seven points.
I say this because Tennessee has not been able to stay strong on the glass, causing them to get outrebounded and against a fairly talented team that could result in a loss. Against Memphis, it will almost guarantee a loss.
The Vols also like to shoot themselves out of a game, which could be an issue on Saturday if they try to hurl up a ton of shots from behind the arc.
It’s not all bad things for the Vols, though. I have three things to expect in Saturday’s game against the Tigers, and they could help lift the Vols to victory.
The first thing that I would almost guarantee you’ll see in this game is both teams play with some emotion, some flair.
Last year, Memphis played with a lot of emotion, and it hurt them more than it helped. I think that this team will bring that same attitude, or at least a similar one, to Knoxville, and it could hurt them again.
The second thing to expect is for Tennessee to slow the game down. Memphis likes to play fast, but Tennessee does not. This helped Tennessee more than it hurt last year, and I expect the Vols to go into Saturday’s game with the goal to slow down Memphis’ game.
Through their first eight games of the season, the Vols average 71 points per game, while Memphis average 82. That could very well be our final score, 82-71 for either team, but if the Vols want to win on Saturday, they’re going to have to keep the Tigers under the 80-point mark.
The final thing to expect in this game is for Thompson-Boling Arena to be rocking. It might actually be literally rocking by the time tip-off comes around.
The crowd is going to be electric for Tennessee’s first “real” home game this season, and the crowd is going to play a key role in this game.
The last game I went to was the Florida game last year when we checkered TBA, and that was the most fun basketball game I have ever been to.
The crowd was pumped the whole game; they stayed loud and didn’t give Florida a shot to come back. A lot of it was Tennessee’s amazing team last year, but the basketball program didn’t run with the “Feed The Floor” promotion for nothing.
When they’re loud, the TBA crowd can feed the floor and give the Vols the extra push they may need past their opponent. It’s one of the reasons Tennessee has the longest home win streak in the country.
If you’re going to the game on Saturday, be loud. If you’re not going to the game on Saturday, still be loud, so you don’t have to listen to Dick Vitale drool over Memphis.