Little dog, big fight

There's an old saying that "It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog." Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl hopes that's true because his dog could be seriously overmatched tonight.

"Individually, we give away a great deal of size at every position on the floor," Pearl said of the Vols' 9:45 tipoff with the LSU Tigers in the SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Tennessee's head man is not averse to a little hyperbole but he isn't exaggerating this time. The towering Tigers really are substantially bigger at every position on the floor.

To wit:

LSU's center is 6-9, 290-pound junior Glen Davis, the 2006 SEC Player of the Year. He has a two-year experience advantage and a 50-pound weight advantage on 6-9, 240-pound Vol freshman Wayne Chism. Davis also doubles Chism in points per game (17.8 to 9.2) and rebounds per game (10.2 to 5.5).

LSU's power forward is 6-8, 240-pound senior Darnell Lazare. He has four inches of height and 35 pounds of weight on Vol senior Dane Bradshaw,who is generously listed at 6-4 and 205. Lazare averages 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds, Bradshaw 5.6 and 4.1.

LSU's small forward is 6-7, 230-pound sophomore Tasmin Mitchell. He has a five-inch height advantage and a 34-pound weight advantage on 6-2, 196-pound UT junior JaJuan Smith. Mitchell's scoring average (14.7) roughly matches Smith's (15.3) but Mitchell is a better rebounder (6.0 to 4.4).

LSU's shooting guard is 6-6, 203-pound sophomore Terry Martin. He has a four-inch height advantage over 6-2, 200-pound Vol junior Chris Lofton. Recently named SEC Player of the Year by The Associated Press, Lofton averages 20.6 points per game, nearly doubling Martin's average of 10.6.

LSU's point guard is 6-5, 176-pound sophomore Garrett Temple. He has three inches of height on 6-2, 185-pound UT freshman Ramar Smith. Smith has a slight edge in scoring (10.4 points per game to 8.7) but Temple produces more assists (3.7 to 3.3) and rebounds (4.3 to 3.0) per game.

Pearl isn't blowing smoke when he notes that the towering Tigers present "a terrific challenge" for his undersized Volunteers. LSU outrebounded Tennessee 39-30 in the regular-season meeting in Knoxville only to lose 70-67 because of two factors:

1.The Tigers committed 20 turnovers.

2.Glen Davis managed just 5 points on 2-of-10 shooting.

"We were very, very fortunate to hold Glen Davis to five points," Pearl said. "It is our anticipation that it would be almost impossible to expect that this time."

If Davis bounces back with a big game in the rematch, the little dog known as Tennessee could have its work cut out for it tonight.


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