February 1, 2013
Can Vols snap road woes today?
When Tennessee (11-8, 3-4) travels to Arkansas (12-8, 3-4) this afternoon the Vols will be looking to break a season long trend of dropping the ball--no pun intended--in an opponent's building. In five tries so far this season, Tennessee has failed to get over the hump with a win in true road games.
The Vols' shortcomings away from Thompson-Boling, especially in conference play, have had some common themes. The most glaring similarities in losses at Alabama, Kentucky and Ole Miss have been a heavy dose of turnovers and a generally loose second half defense.
In three games on the road in league play the Vols have turned the ball over a total of 50 times, a number that this squad simply isn't going to be able to overcome. By comparison, in four home games against SEC foes the Vols have just 40 turnovers, a difference of nearly seven per game.
"I don't know what the difference is on the road, but we all know we have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball," Jordan McRae said. "I think that's been one of the biggest differences in these last two games, just not making those kind of mistakes, especially at the end of the game.
"We've got to have that same mentality on the road, this is a big test for us this weekend."
Additionally, the second half away from home has seen opposing teams execute with a high rate of efficiency on the offensive end of the floor. Ole Miss, Alabama and Kentucky each shot better than 50% against the Vols in the second half of those losses.
Cuonzo Martin & Co. can take some confidence from the fact that in the last two games at home, both one point wins, the Vols showed some grit coming down the stretch. Prevailing in the exact sort of scenarios that they've come up short in on the road.
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