The Tennessee men’s basketball team has been a pleasant surprise with its 7-1 record.
After beating a hapless Alabama A&M squad (2-4) by 25 points on Tuesday night, the Vols have two more home games against weak foes before beginning the SEC grind at South Carolina on Jan. 8.
Tennessee’s weaknesses were exposed by Oklahoma State last week in a 16-point loss in Oklahoma City. The Vols were ravaged on the boards by the Cowboys, who also hit 63% of their shots. They repeatedly went inside for dunks and layups, hitting 17 of 24 shots in the second half to blow out the Vols in the last few minutes.
It appears Tennessee has two very good perimeter players in Chris Lofton and C.J. Watson, who could start for several teams in the conference. Major Wingate has been a disappointment in that he has been weak on the boards, averaging a little over three rebounds per game. Andre Patterson has been more productive on the boards and should be starting ahead of Wingate.
Dane Bradshaw and Stanley Asumnu are hustling players who are very limited offensively. The other bench players, with the exception of JuJuan Smith, contribute little to the cause.
With road games at Florida, Memphis, Kentucky, Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt on the schedule in January and February, the Vols have a treacherous road ahead of them. An injury to Lofton or Watson would be disastrous to their chances of finishing with a winning record in the SEC.
I think that a 16- win season would be considered a great year for the over-achieving Vols.