Backboard battle key vs. Tech

Tennessee's Herb Neff snared a school-record 36 rebounds in a 1952 basketball game against Georgia Tech, and the Vols probably could him when they play the Yellow Jackets this Sunday (4 p.m. tipoff) in Atlanta as part of the Peach Bowl Classic For Kids.

Tech dominates the backboards, outrebounding its foes by an average of 14.0 per game. Freshman forward Chris Bosh (11.8 per game) is both the team leader and the Atlantic Coast Conference leader in this category.

''They're a really good offensive rebounding team,'' Vol head man Buzz Peterson said. ''Almost half of their rebounds come on the offensive end. Bosh leads the ACC in rebounding, so that's a concern of ours ... to make sure we don't get hurt on the boards real bad.''

Since Neff is probably too old to be of much help, how do the Vols go about making sure they don't ''get hurt on the boards real bad'' in this game?

''We've got to be very conscious of our box-outs,'' Peterson said.

In addition, the Vols will need to take better shots, so they don't give Tech a lot of easy rebounds.

''We've got to do a better job of being more disciplined on the offensive and defensive ends,'' Peterson said. ''We're trying to be more disciplined in our shot selection and on the defensive end.''

Bosh might be the best freshman the Vols will face this season. The 6-foot-10, 210-pound Texan was a first-team Parade All-American last winter and is averaging 17.2 points per game in addition to his imposing rebound average. The task of containing him will fall to Vol forward Ron Slay.

''They got a big guy, Chris Bosh, and I've been hearing a lot about him from Coach,'' Slay said. ''I'm looking at that as a challenge personally. They've got a good team.''

The Yellow Jackets (4-1) certainly have a rugged team. Playing at the Georgia Dome before a partisan crowd, they should give Tennessee its most physical game to date.

''I think so,'' Slay said. ''They went up to Minnesota and lost by one, so we've got our work cut out for us.''

Senior guard Jon Higgins also expects a physical game from the Yellow Jackets.

''We do but we're ready for it,'' he said. ''Coach wanted us to be more physical in the Texas A&M game, and I felt we did that in the second half.''

Except for Slay, Tennessee is not a particularly physical team. Still, Higgins says the Vols can adapt to the game's style, whatever that might be.

''It doesn't matter to us,'' he said. ''We just want to play our game and get a win.''


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