Wave of Emotion

Arkansas (14-15, 7-7) tries to break a three-game losing skid when it travels to face No. 16 Tennessee (21-7, 9-5), fresh off an upset of Kentucky.

One team is at home on senior night, coming off a win over one of the nation's top-ranked teams in Kentucky, had already beaten another that was No. 1 at one time and has shown it belongs with the elite of college basketball.

The other team is riding a three-game losing streak, lost to the SEC's worst team last week and has to walk in as the huge underdog.

Seems like a recipe for a possible blowout when No. 16 Tennessee (21-7, 9-5) hosts Arkansas (14-15, 7-7) Wednesday night at 6, but Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl isn't buying that because of the letdown factor.

"There is always emotionally a big worry of a letdown and that is just human nature," Pearl said. "You do everything you can to combat it, but it still exists. You can just not help feeling good about what you've have accomplished because what you've accomplished is so difficult and something that is going to stay with through the rest of time, but it is over now for right now.

"We have got to focus on becoming a better basketball team," Pearl added. "It is hard to do. I have experienced it myself. There is obviously something to it. We'll look at it, we'll address it, we'll face it…I hoping there is enough senior leadership on this team to understand that our next two games are against the top two teams in the SEC West (Mississippi State and Arkansas)."

Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey knows his team faces a big challenge when they enter Thompson-Boling Arena.

"Tennessee is outstanding," Pelphrey said. "They are a very long, athletic basketball team. They have good experience, outside, inside."

Tennessee senior J.P. Prince says he's team will not take Arkansas lightly.

"They're just a good, hard, tough team, and they've matched up well against us," Prince told the Chattanooga Free Press. "They like to play a fast-paced style, too, so it's usually a fun, exciting, close game. You can't just show up and beat those guys. They make you earn it." The Vols havea trio of seniors – four-year guy Wayne Chism, three year letterman Prince and two-year juco transfer Bobby Mayes.

Tennessee would have had another senior in Tyler Smith, but he was dismissed from the team earlier this season.

Chism - who has been on teams that have won more SEC regular season games than any other league team during the last four years - is actually the only player left from a star-studded 2007 class.

Duke Crews, Ramar Smith, Josh Tabb and Marques Johnson all left the program because of legal troubles or lack of playing time.

"We have got a very difficult road game at Tennessee, one of the better teams in our league," Pelphrey said. "It certainly is a great environment and it won't be much fun there playing on senior night because they have got some great senior leadership and those young men have accomplished a lot during their time."

Pearl talked about his respect for Arkansas players Marshawn Powell, Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke and how he admires Michael Washington for playing through injuries.

"(Arkansas) is a dangerous team and, obviously, in a dangerous place on the schedule," Pearl said. "They're one of the better offensive teams in our league."

"…Powell looks like one of the top freshmen in the conference, one of the top players in the conference," Pearl added. "And of course, the game plan when you play Arkansas has to deal with Courtney Fortson and the way he can break you down and Rotnei Clarke and his ability to shoot the ball."

Tennessee has been led offensively this season by Chism and sophomore Scotty Hopson.

"I think both guys have improved and offensively they are guys that we definitely have looked to," Pearl said. "I think Bobby Mayes and J.P. Prince have taken over more of the playmaking responsibilities. I just think your whole team has to absorb the loss of a great player like Tyler."

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