UT must stop Brewer

Tennessee lost to Arkansas 70-68 two weeks ago in Fayetteville, and you can sum up the reason in two words -- Ronnie Brewer.

The 6-7 guard hit 8 of 13 floor shots (including 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc). He scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. He dished out 6 assists and recorded 2 steals. In short, he almost single-handedly beat the Vols.

So, Vol coach Buzz Peterson had a ready answer when asked what Tennessee must do in Thursday night's SEC Tournament game with Arkansas that it didn't do in the earlier meeting.

''We need to control Brewer, do a better job on him,'' the Vol coach said.

Peterson called the Razorback star ''one of my favorite players in the country. I voted him a candidate for national defensive player of the year. I love how he gets in the passing lanes, how he anticipates getting the steal, how he rebounds. He does so many good things.''

In addition to controlling Brewer, Tennessee must do a better job of controlling the backboards than it did in the regular-season meeting with Arkansas. The Hogs outrebounded Tennessee 38-32 and peeled off a whopping 15 offensive rebounds. But that was nothing new for the athletically gifted Razorbacks.

''This is a team that had 21 offensive rebounds against Kentucky and 17 on Alabama,'' Peterson said. ''They'll send a lot of people to the boards. They CRASH the boards.''

Chris Lofton burned the Hogs for 30 points in the earlier meeting, so it's a safe bet they'll be focusing a lot of attention on the Vol freshman in the rematch. That means Tennessee's post players need to assert themselves more than usual.

''We've got to do a tremendous job of going inside-out offensively,'' Peterson said. ''We've got to let our big guys touch the ball and we've got to get some dribble penetration.''

The Vols have done most of their scoring from the perimeter this season for two reasons: One, their inside game is a no-show at times. Two, they do not have guards adept at driving to the basket. As a result, the Vols don't get as many free throw opportunities as teams who are less perimeter-oriented.

''Something that's very important in tournament play is free throws,'' Peterson said. ''We've got to get to the free-throw line and make our free throws. You need every one you can get when you get into a tournament setting.''


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