- Tennessee bolts to a 10-1 lead and limits Vanderbilt to 20.0 percent first-half shooting Jan. 20 at Nashville. Result: Vols win 76-63
- Tennessee allows Auburn to grab a quick 15-6 lead, shoot 50 percent from the field and dominate the offensive glass en route to a 43-41 halftime lead Feb. 7 at Auburn. Result: Vols lose 78-77
- Tennessee allows Ole Miss to shoot 48.1 percent and win the backboards 21-13 en route to a 34-32 halftime lead Feb. 18 at Oxford. Result: Vols lose 81-65
- Tennessee falls behind Kentucky 13-0 right out of the gate and shoots a pitiful 28.1 percent en route to a 31-24 halftime deficit Feb. 21 at Lexington. Result: Vols lose 77-58
- Tennessee races to a 29-14 early lead vs. Florida, shooting 65.5 percent en route to a 45-33 halftime bulge March 1 at Gainesville. Result: Vols win 79-75
Each of these six road games saw the Big Orange win when it started well and lose when it started poorly. There has been only one exception to the rule – Tennessee's Feb. 4 visit to Fayetteville. The Vols trailed 17-8 early and shot just 40.7 percent en route to a 35-33 halftime deficit. Only Arkansas's utter ineptitude enabled UT to eke out a 74-72 victory.
Facing a South Carolina team that is 16-1 at home this year – including 7-0 vs. SEC opposition – a good start is vital for Tennessee Thursday night in Columbia. Bruce Pearl concedes as much.
"At Florida we shot 65 percent the first half – seven of nine from 3," the Vol coach recalled. "We didn't shoot a free throw, yet that was one of our best halves of the year. We'll take that again on Thursday."