Now, back to Tennessee for a second. I’ve heard quite a bit about how this team is so experienced and that’s the advantage that they’ll have over Kentucky. I disagree. This group has no idea what it’s like to be the target. They were 16-16 two years ago. They were a good story last year. Now, this year, they finally have the target on their back and this is their first road challenge and true challenge since then.
Tennessee beat Gonzaga on Dec. 9. Since then they’ve played absolutely no one. Their best win is at Florida (a team who is on the bubble) or home to Alabama.
So that record is a bit inflated right now. As for what to expect on the court, both teams are going to have a bit of a mismatch. For Kentucky, it thrives on crashing the offensive glass. PJ Washington/Reid Travis try to kill you there and Kentucky will send a guy like Keldon Johnson to the glass. Tennessee is actually a bad defensive rebounding team, ranking 259th in the country. There can be free buckets for Kentucky if they take advantage there. As for Tennessee it’s going to be can Admiral Schofield take advantage with Keldon Johnson on him. PJ Washington matches up pretty well against Grant Williams. Reid Travis doesn’t have to leave the paint with Kyle Alexander. Schofield is a monster and has the size to beat Keldon Johnson. That’s the matchup that’s going to determine this game. I am curious to see how much Tennessee goes small because again, Kentucky can match up well. This time you slide Washington on Schofield, which is a better matchup for Kentucky. Travis can still stay in the paint since Grant Williams isn’t a great shooter. Then you have 3 guards vs 3 guards.
The key here is the spot. Kentucky is coming off a home loss on a controversial call and a blown lead. Tennessee has escaped with some victories during this run. The song Rocky Top fucking stinks.
Easiest call in the world. Tennessee hasn’t been tested. They aren’t some experienced team. They aren’t this unbelievable team. They were a team that was due for a loss playing a team that is as good if not better than them. A team that absolutely beat their ass from the get go.
Put it this way. People talk about Grant Williams as SEC Player of the Year. The real SEC Player of the Year was PJ Washington. He was the best player on the court today. He picked up the first foul within a minute of the game and that’s typically when he struggles. He tends to get hesitant after an early foul. He did not. Instead he dominated.
Keldon Johnson really pushed the game open. He hit three threes in the first half to really get the crowd into it. He needed that game. The defense was unbelievable. The game was Kentucky’s from pretty early on.
Fuck Rocky Top. Fraud ass No. 1 team. The song still stinks.