Chism vs. Patterson

Patrick Patterson wasted no time showing the Tennessee Vols that he was the real deal. One meeting was all it took.

Last January, as a ballyhooed freshman facing UT for the first time, the 6-9, 235-pounder recorded 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists in leading Kentucky to a 72-66 defeat of the Big Orange at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

The fact the Vols won the Knoxville rematch 63-60 a month later was due in large part to the fact Patterson missed the game due to injury.

Patterson finished his rookie season with imposing averages of 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. This season he has upped those numbers to 18.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while sinking an amazing 70.9 percent of his field-goal attempts.

If Tennessee is to beat Kentucky Tuesday night (9 p.m. Tipoff at Thompson-Boling Arena), the Vols will have to do a much better job containing Patterson than they did one year ago. The key to that endeavor will be 6-9, 240-pound Vol junior Wayne Chism.

"It'll be Wayne vs. Patrick Patterson; there's no doubt about it," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "We'll go at him and he'll got at us. We beat them once last year without him, and it was a close game. When they beat us up in Lexington Patrick Patterson was very, very dominant."

The Vol boss hastened to add that Patterson's big numbers in the 2008 game at Lexington did not reflect poor defensive work on the part of Chism, who spent as much time on the bench as he did on the UK star.

"Patterson was dominant but he wasn't dominant against Wayne," Pearl said. "He dominated the game but many of his matchups weren't against Wayne. Wayne was in some foul trouble at Lexington, so there's no doubt that Kentucky will try to get Wayne in foul trouble because he's our best post defender."

Chism has been carrying the Vols lately, averaging 13.6 points and 12.2 rebounds over the past five games.

"Wayne is one of the best players in our league I think. I really do," Pearl said. "Patrick Patterson's got the numbers but Wayne's not terribly far behind."

Basically, Pearl says Patterson's numbers are different than Chism's because their roles are different.

"The focus of their (Wildcats') offense is to pound the ball inside to him," Pearl said of Patterson. "I think if the focus of our offense was to pound the ball inside to Wayne, his numbers would reflect that."

Although Chism's shooting percentage (48.4) pales alongside Patterson's (70.9), there's a reason for that, too. Chism has taken 43 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Patterson has taken zero.

"Patterson is more a back-to-the-basket player; Wayne is more of an inside-out player," Pearl said.

"But it's a great matchup."


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