March 10, 2011
Will Dome bode well for Vols?
Tennessee's last chance to change the current perception of the 2010-11 campaign--for which inconsistent seems to be the most commonly heard description--begins tonight in the Georgia Dome. The Vols' first step towards what they hope will be a redemptive run in March Madness takes place against Arkansas (18-12, 7-9), the very team that started the Vols' uneven run through SEC play by knocking off Tennessee in Fayetteville in the conference opener.
Much has taken place since then--most notably an eight-game suspension served by Bruce Pearl--but the Vols arrive in Atlanta as a team that's still guilty at times of playing the same brand of uneven basketball that cost them their first SEC loss to the Razorbacks back on Jan. 8.
Pearl had to watch the contest on television from the team hotel, but he--or anyone else--didn't need a courtside seat to see that defense was a major issue for his team in that match-up, and it's been a major point of emphasis in the Vols' preparations this week.
"Arkansas shot 57% against us in the second half and 50% for the game, obviously you're going to make it very difficult for yourself to win anytime you don't guard at a higher level than that," Pearl said of what went wrong in that first match-up.
"There were some things they did that really bothered us so we're going to have to make some adjustments."
The Vols defense in that first match-up was so porous that it offset an overwhelming 38-24 advantage on the glass.
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