Vols 'press on' vs. Vandy

Given the way Tennessee's basketball team wilted against Florida's fullcourt pressure last Saturday, it's a safe bet the Vols will see more of the same in tonight's game with visiting Vanderbilt.

The Commodores aren't as athletic as the Gators but they've got a quality point guard (Mario Moore) and enough height at the other starting spots to force Tennessee to throw the ball over them in fullcourt press situations.

Tennessee's performance against Florida was reminiscent of the Kevin O'Neill years. Without a true point guard (Tony Harris had not yet arrived on campus), the Vols were helpless against fullcourt pressure. Athletic opponents exploited this by opening in a press, jumping out to an early lead and coasting to victory.

Although the 2003-04 Vols have a true point guard in C.J. Watson, his teammates let him down at Florida. That's why he committed six turnovers last Saturday. Frustrated, he commented after the game that he got no help from his mates, who routinely headed into frontcourt and left Watson to fend for himself against the Gator press.

Vol head man Buzz Peterson was less than pleased by Watson's post-game comments but says they do not suggest there is any dissension among the players.

''I don't want anybody pointing fingers,'' Peterson said. ''C.J.'s a competitor. He's upset. I've talked to C.J., and he didn't mean anything by it. I just don't like to hear that.... C.J.'s a team player.''

Unless the other Vols become team players and give him some help, though, Tennessee's problems against fullcourt pressure will continue.

C.J Watson Player Profile


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