JaJuan's jinx

Tennessee had very little choice, of course, but JaJuan Smith was not the Vol you'd want launching a 60-foot desperation shot at the buzzer in Tuesday night's 72-69 loss at Vanderbilt.

Heck, JaJuan has struggled the past four years to make 20-footers against the Commodores. What are the chances he'd drain a shot from three times that distance?

Although things routinely happen in collegiate athletics that defy logic, I can't think of a situation as befuddling as JaJuan Smith's uncanny knack for playing poorly against Vanderbilt.

The electrifying Smith is one of the SEC's fastest and most athletic players; the Commodores are one of the SEC's slowest and least athletic teams. Smith should have career days against the Dores. Instead, he regularly has his worst days against them.

Check it out:

- As a freshman reserve in 2005, Smith made 1 of 2 shots from the field (both 3-point tries) and finished with 3 points in the game at Knoxville. He went 0 of 4 overall (0 of 3 from 3) and did not score in the rematch at Nashville.

- As a sophomore starter in 2006, Smith went 2 of 7 from the field (all 3-pointers) and scored 10 points in the game at Knoxville. He went 1 of 8 overall (1 of 7 from 3) and scored just 3 points in Nashville a few weeks later.

- As a junior starter in 2007, Smith went 2 of 11 from the field (2 of 8 from 3) and scored just 6 points in the game at Nashville. He was 4 of 8 (3 of 5 from 3) and scored 11 points when the teams met in the Knoxville rematch.

- As a senior starter in '08, Smith went 3 of 11 from the field (1 of 5 from 3) but hit enough free throws to post 14 points – his career high vs. Vandy – in the game at Knoxville. In Tuesday night's rematch at Nashville Smith was 2 of 6 overall (1 of 5 from 3) and scored 9 points.

JaJuan Smith's career stats for eight games against the Commodores are as follows:

FIELD GOALS: 15 of 57 (26.3 percent)

3-POINT SHOTS: 11 of 42 (26.2 percent)

POINTS: 56 (an average of 7.0 per game)

The 26.3 field-goal percentage vs. Vanderbilt is 17 points below his career average of 43.2. The 26.2 mark from beyond the arc is 10.5 points below his career average of 36.7. The 7.0 points per game is roughly 4 below his career average.

It's too bad "Unsolved Mysteries" is no longer on television. I'd like to see Robert Stack and his crack team of behind-the-scenes investigators try to solve this case.

On a positive note ...

Unless Tennessee and Vanderbilt draw one another in the SEC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, JaJuan Smith has seen the last of the Commodores. I'm guessing he finds that thought quite comforting.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories