Monday Men's Basketball Practice

The Tennessee basketball team was back on the court this afternoon getting ready for the 20th ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

Tennessee (7-2 overall) will open up their 2003 SEC schedule with the 9-3 'Cats. With Kentucky holding a series lead of 130-62, this probably isn't Coach Buzz Peterson's dream conference opener.

The Vols worked on the offense they will work against the Wildcats on Wednesday night. Ron Slay, who scored a career-high 38 points against New Mexico on Saturday night, will be forced by Kentucky to work for every shot he can get on Wednesday. Slay looked to be in good shape and should have no fatigue lingering from his performance. Slay looked very crisp from the free-throw line. Ron currently leads the conference in FT% with a .844 average.

Point guard C.J. Watson continues to show why he is one of the best freshman in the league. He was making some very nice passes today in 3-on-2 team drills and will be someone Kentucky will be forced to contend with.

Derek Stribling could also be a big factor for his team if the Vols are to get a win over the Wildcats. Stribling is currently averaging 5.2 ppg with 2.4 rpg, but he will start at forward on Wednesday to give Tennessee an edge on the glass. Stribling was ripping rebounds off the backboard today. He looked very intense and could be a step away from a huge game in two days.

The team looked very sharp in drills. It is very apparent that they are prepared for what sits before them in on Wednesday when Kentucky rolls in. Coaches kept the atmosphere very light, but the seniors seem to WANT a win over Wildcats badly.

The starting lineup will feature Stribling, Slay and Brandon Crump playing forward positions. Watson will start at point guard and Jon Higgins at shooting guard.

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith is expected to start Keith Bogans and Gerald Fitch at the guard positions, Erik Daniels and Chuck Hayes at forward, with Marquis Estill at center.

Fitch and Bogans will prove to be tough shooters to guard. Fitch hit the three-point shot last year in Knoxville that sent the game into overtime, a game Tennessee would eventually win 76-74. The 'Cats would get revenge a few weeks later in Lexington by getting a 64-61 win over Tennessee.

The game will be broadcast by Jefferson-Pilot TV starting at 8pm EST.

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