SEC East Division champ Tennessee takes on Arkansas
(Sports Network) – Now that the SEC Eastern Division title is already
tucked away, the 10th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers set their sights on the
outright SEC regular season title, as they play host to the Arkansas
Razorbacks in league action from Thompson-Boling Arena the afternoon. The
Volunteers invaded Gainesville and took home the divisional crown with a
thrilling 76-72 win over the Gators this week. The victory pushed UT’s record
to 20-4 overall and 11-2 in the SEC. The team is tied with LSU for the best
record in the conference heading down the stretch.
Arkansas is not a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. The
Razorbacks have won two straight games and are closing in on a 20-win season
themselves. The team’s most recent wins have come at home against Florida
(85-81 OT) last weekend, followed by Tuesday’s 65-63 win over Alabama. The
Hogs are now 7-6 in league play, good for third place in the Western
Division. Tennessee has taken an 11-10 lead in the all-time series with
five wins in the last six meetings with Arkansas. In addition, the Vols have
won six of the seven all-time meetings in Knoxville.
The Razorbacks shot a miserable .318 from the floor in the first half against
Alabama, but caught fire after the break (.586) and came from behind to post
the two-point victory. Darian Townes came off the bench to lead five players
in double figures with 15 points. Ronnie Brewer added 12 points, followed by
Jonathan Modica (11 pts), Charles Thomas (10 pts) and Eric Ferguson (10 pts).
The Razorbacks have shot the ball well this year, connecting on just over 46
percent from the floor (.462). However, the one weakness has been at the free-
throw line (.686). Overall, this team is netting 74.1 ppg, led by the scoring
talents of Brewer and Modica. The 6-7 Brewer paces the team and the SEC for
that matter in scoring at 18.5 ppg. Modica ranks sixth in the conference at
15.5 ppg and together with Brewer, has combined for 88 three-pointers. Townes
has been fantastic off the bench for the most part, adding 10.2 ppg on .517
shooting, while leading the team in rebounding (5.6 rpg).
Dane Bradshaw’s last second heroics proved to be the difference at both ends
of the court, as Tennessee stole one in Gainesville this week. Bradshaw had a
key steal and finished off with a basket to put the game in the win column for
the Vols. Bradshaw finished with 15 points in the win, only outscored by Chris
Lofton’s 16 points. Joining them in double figures were C.J. Watson (13 pts)
and Major Wingate (11 pts). The team shot a solid .500 from the floor in the
game, helping offset 19 costly turnovers.
At 83.0 ppg this year, Tennessee ranks among the nation’s best and leads the
SEC in that category. The team is shooting .470 from the floor and an
impressive .400 from behind the arc. Lofton and Watson represent one of
the best backcourts in the nation. Lofton is fourth in the conference in
scoring (17.7 ppg) and is shooting .475 from long range (96-of-202). Watson
is ninth in the league in scoring (15.1 ppg) and is delivering on 41.4
percent from behind the arc. Wingate (10.7 ppg) and Andre Patterson (10.1
ppg, team-high 6.6 rpg) provide balance with their play in the frontcourt.