Vols Get Ready To Take On Intra-State Rival Memphis
Interview With Coach Bruce Pearl Before The Memphis Game At Thompson-Boling Arena, 9:00 ESPN-2.
1. How successful have the Vols been in creating turnovers with defensive pressure?
A - "I think we are doing a good job. It's a team that can create turnovers, especially the experienced guys like JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton. The younger players are learning how to do it, also. I think our press has been good."
2. How important is it for the fans to fill all 24,535 seats when Memphis comes to town Wednesday?
A - "It's vital. Memphis looks at itself as a national program. And it is. They look at Tennessee as a regional program. We are trying to become a national top 25 program. There is no program in the country that respects us less than Memphis, and that's because we haven't done enough to earn their respect. That should bother our fans enough that we should try to show Memphis we are indeed a national program. But we have to do it on the floor."
3. How does the future look for the Tennessee-Memphis rivalry, certainly a favorite with fans?
A - "It's a good rivalry because it is a favorite of fans. The players like it, too. It's good for basketball in the state of Tennessee."
4. What qualities does Memphis possess, bringing a high national rank to the Tigers?
A - "They are very athletic and pretty deep and as good a team as we'll play in driving and attacking the basket with spacing."
Tennessee vs. Memphis PreGame Notes:
• Tennessee will renew its cross-state rivalry with Memphis at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, when the Tigers visit Thompson-Boling Arena. ESPN2 will show the game to a national television audience.
• Since dropping two games in New York for the NIT Season Tip-Off finals the Vols have bounced back to win their last two outings. Chris Lofton led the Vols with 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field in an 89-64 victory over Murray State Friday, Dec. 1, in Knoxville.
• After playing five of their first seven games away from home this season, the Vols are in a stretch where they do not leave the state again until mid-January.
UT plays seven of its next eight at home, its only game away from home in that stretch is against Oklahoma State in Nashville on Dec. 18.
• Lofton leads the Vols and ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 18.6 points per game. One of the top shooters in the nation, he is averaging 3.8 3-pointers per game and is connecting on 48.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. The junior from Maysville, Ky., needs four 3-pointers to move into second place on UT’s career 3-pointers made list.
• UT’s freshman post tandem of Duke Crews and Wayne Chism is combining to average 18.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. Crews is third on the team with 9.4 points and second with 5.0 rebounds. Chism leads the team with 6.6 rebounds and is fourth on the squad with 9.3 points. Neither is averaging more than 21 minutes per game.
• Tennessee has forced an average of 23.8 turnovers per game this season. Seven of eight opponents have turned the ball over at least 20 times against the Vols.
Looking At Memphis:
Memphis is 5-1 on the season heading into a Monday
night game against Marshall at FedEx Forum in
The Tigers have won three consecutive
games after their lone setback this season, an 85-92
loss to Georgia Tech at the Maui Invitational.
Sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts leads four
Tigers in double figure scoring with 14.8 points per
Jeremy Hunt adds 13.2 points while Robert
Dozier and Antonio Anderson average 12.2 and 11.3
Joey Dorsey averages 9.0
points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game.
Four of UM’s five starters are taller than all but one
of UT’s starters.
Memphis is averaging 86.0 points and is forcing 21.5 turnovers per game.
The Tigersfinished in third place at the Maui Invitational this
year with wins over Oklahoma and Kentucky.
Memphis is playing the fourth game in a stretch
where the Tigers play five games in 11 days.
The Tigers were a consensus preseason pick to win the
Conference USA championship this year.
John Calipari is 153-60 in his seventh season at Memphis
and 346-131 in his 15th year has a head coach.
The Memphis Series:
Tennessee leads the all-time series 10-7.
Memphis has won the last two meetings after Tennessee had
won the previous five.
The Tigers took an 88-79 win last year at the FedEx Forum.
The Vols are 5-2 against the Tigers when playing in Knoxville.
The Tigers lead the series 4-4 when playing in Memphis.
The last six meetings have been decided by a total of 29 points.
Thirteen of the 17 all-time meetings between the two schools have been decided by 10 points or less.
Tennessee is 42-35 all-time against current members of Conference USA.
Last Meeting With Memphis
Dane Bradshaw’s career game wasn’t enough as the
Vols fell 79-88 to fourth-ranked Memphis Jan. 18, 2006, at the FedExForum.
Playing his first collegiate game in his hometown of Memphis, Bradshaw scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting to
go with 10 rebounds, five steals and four assists.
Memphis used a 10-0 run to turn a 69-69 tie with 6:45 left in the game into a 79-69 advantage with just over four minutes remaining to finally take control of the game.
Shawne Williams scored seven of the Tigers’ points during the run.
Bradshaw then scored four consecutive points to cut it to 80-74 with 2:54 remaining but the Vols could get no closer.
The two teams had battled back-and-forth in the first half with
Memphis leading by as many as nine points but the
Vols finish the half on a 16-6 run to take a 45-41 lead
at the break.
Chris Lofton scored 16 points and had three steals for the Vols while C.J. Watson added 14 points.
Major Wingate and Stanley Asumnu each had 11 points.
Rodney Carney led the Tigers with 22 points while Shawne Williams had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Tennessee shot a season-low 35.1 percent from the field and 28.0
percent from 3-point range.
Memphis registered 10 blocks in the game.
Updated, 12/05/06, 13:40 est