Battle of wits tonight in Knoxville as USC takes on Tennessee. Last season, the Vols shot 2-for-22 from three-point range in a 77-55 loss in Los Angeles. Tennessee has lost two straight games to less than impressive opponents; Oakland and Charlotte. In their last three halves of basketball,
. It is something that USC head coach Kevin O'Neill, who used to coach at UT, is well aware of. Both O'Neill and Pearl acknowledged that the Trojans were going to force the Vols to beat them from the outside.
"Yeah, we're gonna do that,'' said O'Neill, who typically clogs the lane with a sagging man-to-man defense. "And they'll have to be playing with a huge sense of urgency. They lost two games they probably feel they should have won.''
"They're a team that's going to back off us,'' Vols coach Bruce Pearl said Monday, "and force us to take those three balls, which we've struggled with tremendously.''
"Transition is the best way we score, and its hard to get transition baskets on them because they'll send two guys to the offensive boards, and they get back very well,'' he said. "They play precisely, defensively, the way we've struggled to win...the last couple of years.''