Battle of the Bigs

Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell it ain't, but the big-man battle between A.J. Ogilvy and Wayne Chism should add some drama to tonight's Vanderbilt-Tennessee game at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The No. 21 Commodores (15-3 overall, 4-0 SEC) rely heavily on Ogilvy, a 6-11, 250-pound junior. The No. 14 Vols (15-3, 3-1) rely just as heavily on Chism, a 6-9, 245-pound senior with a slight knee sprain. The two have locked horns four times previously, with Chism generally getting the better of it. Here's a recap:

- The first meeting, at Knoxville in 2008, saw Chism register 18 points and 18 rebounds to Ogilvy's 12 points and 5 rebounds.

- Meeting No. 2, at Nashville in 2008, saw the two neutralize one another. Chism finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds, Ogilvy with 4 points and 3 rebounds.

- The third meeting, at Nashville in 2009, saw Chism outscore Ogilvy 20-7 and outrebound him 7-4.

- Meeting No. 4, at Knoxville in 2009, saw Ogilvy finish with 11 points and 4 rebounds to Chism's 8 points and 5 rebounds.

The four-game totals show Chism with 50 points and 34 rebounds, Ogilvy with 34 points and 16 rebounds.

"He's played well against Vanderbilt, and I'm sure Vanderbilt's well aware of that," Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl said of Chism. "I'm sure they're going to do what everyone else tries to do - get Wayne in foul trouble or get Wayne disrupted. They know that increases their chances."

Although Chism has outplayed Ogilvy head to head, the Vandy star was a unanimous selection to the coaches' preseason All-SEC first team, whereas Chism was relegated to second team. You get the idea Pearl wouldn't trade Chism for Ogilvy or any other big man, however.

"Wayne's ability to play inside and out has been one of the great keys to our success," the Vol coach said. "Offensively and defensively, he can do things we can game-plan for. Prior to losing at Georgia, he had a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) against Auburn, dominated against Ole Miss with another double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds), then scored 11 of our last 14 against Alabama. To say he's a key to our team would be an understatement."

It's worth noting that Chism's worst head-to-head performance against Ogilvy (4 points, 4 rebounds in 2008 at Nashville) coincided with Vandy's only victory in the last four meetings. Still, Pearl cautions against placing too much emphasis to the battle of the bigs.

"The matchup between Wayne and Ogilvy is very important," the Vol coach said, "but Vanderbilt's so much more balanced than in the past that there are other matchups that are equally important. This is the deepest, most talented Vanderbilt team I've seen. They and Kentucky are probably playing the best basketball of anybody in the league right now."


Inside Tennessee Top Stories