"They are well-coached and come from a system out of West Virginia that is dynamic," Pearl says. "The way they spread the floor, the way they back cut, the way they shoot 3s and run, it's a Steve Spurrier-type offense. I think they'll be a good team. They played in the NCAA tournament last year."
Eastern is 1-2 thus far, with all three games coming in the Paradise Jam Tournament. The Colonels lost 95-89 to Wisconsin in double overtime, beat Norfolk State 67-60, then lost to Georgia 76-68 in the consolation finals.
Like Tennessee, EKU is strong in the backcourt. Witt averages a team-high 17 points per game and fellow guard McLeish chips in 15.3 ppg. The best inside player is Hird, who made the Paradise Jam all-tournament team and is averaging 13.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Tennessee (2-0) counters with 6-5 Stanley Asumnu (14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds), 6-4 Dane Bradshaw (10.0 and 9.0), 6-10 Major Wingate (11.5 and 2.5), 6-2 Chris Lofton (18.0 and 5.5) and 6-2 C.J. Watson (19.5 and 2.0). Watson averages a team-best 5.0 assists per game, while Bradshaw chips in 4.5 per outing.