BamaMag.com: Tennessee at Alabama

Alabama Men's basketball team (12-8, 1-4) plays host to No.7 Tennessee Volunteers (17-2, 4-1) on Tuesday (1/29/08) at 8pm CST. In a game that will televise by ESPN, the Tide is coming off its first conference win against arch-rival Auburn (97-77).

The Volunteers are yet another in a long line of three guard line-ups that Bama has faced this season. In a win in their last game over Georgia (85-69), the Tennessee starters were Chris Lofton (6-2, senior guard), JaJuan Smith (6-2, senior guard), Ramar Smith (6-2, sophomore guard), Wayne Chism (6-9, sophomore forward), and Tyler Smith (6-7, sophomore forward).

The Volunteers have a deep bench with 12 players averaging double-digits in minutes.

Offensively, Tennessee is averaging 84.5 points per game while being lead in scoring by Lofton (14.5), JaJuan Smith (13.9) and Tyler Smith (13.1).

The Volunteers' shooting percentages are 46.6 percent from the floor, 35.4 (178-503) percent from the three point line, and 64.4 percent from the foul line.

Tennessee distributes the ball at the rate of 19.9 assists and 12.5 turnovers per game. The Volunteers are the leaders in points scored and assist per game in the SEC. Their offense mostly consists of easy baskets in transition off of turnovers and kick outs for three point shots.

On defense, the Volunteers allow 68.5 points per game by the opposition while holding them to 42.2 percent from the field and 28.2 percent from the arc.

Tennessee uses its frantic style of defense to average 10.9 steals and 3.4 blocks per game while forcing their opponents into 20.4 turnovers per game. The Volunteers have a negative rebounding margin at -1.5 per game as they average 36.9 to the opposition's 38.4 rebounds per game.

Look for Tennessee to use their man-to-man defense for most of the game with the key match-up being Chism on Richard Hendrix. The Volunteers will also press with every opportunity to get some easy baskets.

Tennessee leads the SEC in steals per game and opponents three point shooting percentage.

For Bama, this is an opportunity to get a quality win as the Volunteers have the No.1 RPI rating in all of college basketball. The Tide will use their man-to-man defense in order to keep up with the multiple three point shooters Tennessee could have on the floor at any given time.

Key match-ups are Mykal Riley, Alonzo Gee, or Demetrius Jemison on Tyler Smith and Lofton.

Offensively, look for Bama to use the same game plan that was successful against Auburn with Hendrix getting the touches early and often. The Volunteers have the numbers to foul in order to avoid giving up any easy baskets.

If Hendrix and company are effective, it should open things up for three point shots. The Tide should take a workman-like approach to this game as to be physical and intense with rebounding and loose balls. Tennessee needs no easy baskets or multiple looks in their trips to the offensive end.

Bama should find success by controlling the tempo and avoiding the Volunteers' frantic pace.

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