February 22, 2013
Vols look for fifth straight today at A&M
Tennessee (15-10, 7-6) makes its first road trip to College Station this afternoon to play an SEC game, taking on new league member Texas A&M (16-10, 5-7) in a match-up that's crucial to postseason hopes of both teams. The Vols have won four straight to seriously elevate their postseason goals, a fifth consecutive win would send them into the final two weeks of the season as the hottest team in the SEC.
The Vols have had their struggles on the road this year to be sure, losing six straight road games to start the season. The team turned things around though by winning two straight, at South Carolina and Vanderbilt, in their last sojourn away from Knoxville, a pair of wins that jump started the current streak.
Finally getting it done in an opponent's building for a couple of wins was a significant hurdle for this squad, and an experience they hope serves them well on Saturday in College Station.
Handling the environment is always part of the challenge away from home, and for Tennessee this season that challenge has shown up in consistent problems protecting the ball. Turnovers have been a thorn in the Vols' side all season long, and that thorn has often been debilitating in road games.
Valuing possessions is always a vital part of playing winning basketball, but the Vols have been an extreme example of that rule this season. That's been particularly true in SEC play where in their six losses Tennessee has endured a -5.0 turnover margin. As you'd expect, that gets flipped upside down when the Vols win. They've average six fewer turnovers per games in their seven league wins for a +1.0 turnover margin.
Keeping the train rolling against A&M this weekend will almost certainly require that the Vols don't give away an inordinate amount of possessions. Trae Golden, enjoying as hot of a stretch as any player in the SEC at the moment, will be primarily responsible for making sure things don't get out of hand in that department.
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