Preview: Tennessee at Ole Miss
Seventh-ranked Tennessee looks to keep pace in its quest for the SEC regular-season title, after losing twice in the last three games, when they pay a visit to dangerous Ole Miss on Wednesday night. The Volunteers were routed at No. 4 Kentucky and lost in overtime at No. 14 LSU on consecutive Saturdays to fall into a tie with those two for first place in the league to start the week.
Tennessee had a two-point lead in the final seconds of overtime at LSU before giving up a rebound basket and fouling with less than one second remaining after missing a 3-pointer to lose 82-80 on Saturday. “When we don’t execute the way I think we need to, you learn from it, and we need to look at the things that we need to do to continue to get better,” Volunteers coach Rick Barnes told reporters. “We know we are going to be in games like this the rest of the way. … We have got to make sure we know how to handle situations, and we have to do a better job obviously.” The Rebels have won five of their last six games but don’t own a win over a team currently ranked this season, so beating Tennessee would help impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee. “They’ve got great character, depth and physicality that you’ll have to match,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis told reporters of the Volunteers. “Our guards are going to have to be terrific in the game. I know this, this place will be rocking on (Wednesday).”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT TENNESSEE (24-3, 12-2, SEC): Barnes would like to see a few changes on offense, telling reporters: “Our guards do need to get fouled more. The only way they are going to do that is being more aggressive attacking the basket as opposed to settling for jump shots.” Junior forward Grant Williams tops the team in scoring (19.0) and rebounding (7.6) while senior guard Admiral Schofield adds 16.9 points per game after scoring 27 at LSU. Junior point guard Jordan Bone runs the show, averaging a team-high 6.3 assists, and is 17-of-30 from the field over the last three contests.
ABOUT OLE MISS (19-8, 9-5): Junior guard Breein Tyree leads the team in scoring (18.4) on 48 percent shooting from the field and is averaging 21.1 over the past nine games. Senior guard Terence Davis does a little bit of everything, scoring 15.6 per contest while leading the team in rebounds (5.9) and assists (3.4). Sophomore guard Devontae Shuler is averaging 12.8 points the last four games after scoring 16 on Saturday in a win over Georgia to push his season mark to 9.8 with a team-high 1.8 steals.
1. Davis needs two made 3-pointers to pass Jason Harrison (163) for seventh on the Rebels’ all-time list.
2. Tennessee junior Gs Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner are a combined 12-of-51 from the field the last three games.
3. Ole Miss senior F Bruce Stevens managed nine points combined the last two games after matching his season high with 17 versus Missouri.