Tyler doubtful for UGA

Junior post Wayne Chism has carried the Tennessee Vols lately, and his load just got a little heavier.

Due to a bone bruise in his left knee preseason All-American Tyler Smith is doubtful for today's noon tipoff at Georgia, meaning Chism will be asked to do even more than usual. That's asking a lot since the 6-9, 240-pounder has averaged 14.0 points and 13.5 rebounds over the past four games.

Even if the 6-7, 220-pound Smith plays, he won't start. As a result, Chism will shift from the post to Smith's power forward spot, with either 6-10, 270-pound sophomore Brian Williams or 6-7, 230-pound freshman Emmanuel Negedu starting in the post.

Pairing Williams and Chism would provide a better size matchup, since the Bulldogs are expected to start 6-10, 265-pound junior Albert Jackson and 6-9, 247-pound freshman Trey Thompkins on the inside. Negedu has shown tremendous hustle and toughness, however, and those are attributes the struggling Vols (back-to-back losses to Kansas and Gonzaga) may need more than heft.

Even if Smith plays, he will not be close to 100 percent. That does not bode well for the Big Orange, since the versatile Vol averages 17.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.

What does bode well for the Vols is this: Head coach Bruce Pearl is 3-0 at Stegeman Coliseum and 6-0 vs. Georgia overall. Moreover, Pearl has won more games in three-plus seasons at Knoxville (86) than Dennis Felton has won in five-plus seasons at Athens (84).

Georgia's projected starters are Jackson (4.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game), Thompkins (14.4 and 6.6), 6-7, 221-pound senior Terrance Woodbury (13.8 points), 6-3, 195-pound senior Corey Butler (7.5 points) and 6-1, 175-pound sophomore Zac Swansey (6.4 points, 4.4 assists).

Tennessee enters today's SEC opener 9-4 but riding a two-game losing streak. Georgia is 9-6. Raycom will provide television coverage.

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