Pearl pleased with Vols practice Monday

Seniors Wayne Chism and Bobby Maze will both play crucial roles for the Volunteers when they face-off against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Sweet Sixteen Friday night. Maze is 1-0 against the Buckeyes as a Volunteer, while Chism is 1-2. Go "Inside" for the latest from Monday's practice.

Seniors Wayne Chism and Bobby Maze will both play crucial roles for the Volunteers when they face-off against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Sweet Sixteen Friday night.

Maze is 1-0 against the Buckeyes as a Volunteer, while Chism is 1-2.

The difference is slight in numbers, but monumental in perspective, when one considers the gut-wrenching 85-84 loss Chism had to suffer against the Buckeyes in their previous Sweet Sixteen matchup in 2007.

"I could call it a second chance," Chism said. "We played them tough in that game, but I'd consider this a second chance. That game they had All-Americans on that team. This time it's still the same way, so we really got to be ready and defend."

Maze's lone game against the Big Ten program came in front of a home crowd in 2008, Maze's first year with the Vols. Tennessee extracted its best version of revenge against Ohio State, winning 74-69.

The 2008 matchup in Knoxville featured many current Buckeyes, in their freshmen form, who will take the court at tip-off Friday night.

Guards Evan Turner, David Lighty and Jon Diebler all saw action against the Volunteers.

Turner, named the National Player of the Year by the Sporting News, had 21 points in 37 minutes against the Vols as a freshmen, which brings to question how effective the junior could be come Friday.

"He's a great player so we really got to be all eyes on him," Chism said. "Without him the team can still be dangerous. If we take care of him and keep the other guards from shooting and making three's I think we'll have a good chance."

Two of the four teams in St. Louis this weekend will hail from the Big Ten. The Michigan State Spartans, who made an appearance in the title game last year, and Ohio State.

Assuming the Volunteers get past Ohio State, there's a possibility the Vols could end up playing back-to-back Big Ten teams.

"Physical teams that play defense," Maze said. "They don't like to run up and down a lot, they like to slow it down to 50-60, and that's how they win basketball games."

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta should have one strong advantage head coach Bruce Pearl's staff can't lay claim to.

Matta should be making a call to Ohio head coach John Groce, who was an assistant on Matta's staff from 2004-2008.

Groce has the most up-to-date scouting report on the Vols. The Bobcats were the last team to play the Volunteers in second-round action Saturday afternoon.

"It's always that way with other teams, they share information," Chism said. "We really got to come out and execute our plays, instead of slopping through them. We just got to be ready."

"I think it could help a lot, but we don't worry about that," Maze said. "We just go out and play defense and rebound. Teams can scout us all they want."

A toss-up advantage for both teams will certainly lie in the realm of fan support. Tennessee had a decent turnout in Providence and it was noted by the players.

"The fan support in Providence was very exciting," Chism said. "We were happy that we had a bunch of fans there that helped us defeat Ohio, we still had a bunch of fans there for San Diego State; we get them in St. Louis I think we'll have a great chance."

"I'm very appreciative," Maze said. "The fans were there for us in Providence; it helped us win a basketball game. I didn't expect that much orange to be in the arena. I know that'd be key to have as many as we can [in St. Louis]."

Advantages aside, it will still be five-on-five come tip-off at 6:07 CT in St. Louis, Mo.


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