IHTIT: Tennessee Vols vs. LSU Tigers Basketball Preview (2/7/24)
It's Hoops Time in Tennessee: If I had told you a week ago that Tennessee (16-5, 6-2 vs SEC, 9-5 vs quadrant 1&2) would go 1-1 in games against South Carolina and Kentucky, you'd probably be a little disappointed about the loss at Rupp, but overall not too surprised. Of course, the Vols' week went the other way around, with results against the Cocks and Cats that were equally stunning for opposite reasons. For myself, I'll trade a stinker at home for a dominant win in Rupp Arena anytime.
Meanwhile, LSU (12-9, 4-4 SEC, 4-7 Q2+) ended a three-game skid with a win against an utterly dysfunctional Arkansas team.
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- Jalen Cook was benched for Tre Hamilton to start the Arkansas game, and while it didn't make much difference in the stat line for either player, coach Matt McMahon liked the dynamic brought by shaking up the lineup.
- Speaking of McMahon, he's an Oak Ridge native and coached Ja Morant at Murray State, wining a pair of NCAA tournament games in his time with the Racers, and consuming an unknown number of bean rolls at the Big Apple.
- Something to track early in the game: LSU turns the ball over. A lot. 18.3% of LSU's possessions end with a turnover, including 11.2% of their possessions where the ball gets stolen (according to Kenpom). These numbers are not just near the bottom of the SEC, they're among the worst nationally. But LSU does shoot well, and if they are taking care of the ball early, could make things difficult for the Vols.