With Alabama’s season hanging in the balance, today’s game against the Volunteers is critical. We spoke with Sam Scott from our sister site All For Tennessee about today’s matchup:
Tennessee seems to be hitting their stride at just the right time. What have been the keys to success over this current winning streak?
Defense, defense, defense. The Vols have really bought into Coach Martin’s system and have emphasized the defensive end of the court. The offense has not been all that impressive, but Tennessee can score enough points to hang around and win a few games. Also, to be honest, the schedule has also not been as difficult recently. Give the Vols credit though, they have taken care of business the last few weeks.
Alabama and Tennessee both have talented young guards. What has Trae Golden meant to the Vols this year?
Trae Golden may be the most important player on Tennessee’s team. When Trae plays well the Vols play well; when Trae struggles the Bols struggle. If Trae is passing the ball and distributing the ball then Tennessee is tough to beat.
Cuonzo Martin was given the tough task of replacing Bruce Pearl. How has he handled the situation thus far?
Cuonzo has been a bigger hit than a BBQ at Bruce Pearls house. The man has handled the situation perfectly. He has come in and just gotten the job done. He hasn’t talked too much or tried to draw attention to himself; he has just worked hard and let the team do the talking in the court. The team reflects Cuonzo’s personality: hard work, discipline on and of the court, and effort effort effort. Knoxville loves Cuonzo.
Tennessee basketball has had some major success over the past several years. Is Men’s basketball still as popular in the eyes of Volunteer fans?
I would not say it is as popular as it was when Tennessee was making the tournament year in and year out, but people still fill the arena up for the most part. With UT struggling in so many sports, people are looking for any team to support and right now the basketball team is still popular amongst fans.
Much like Alabama, Tennessee has been a very streaky team when it comes to wins and losses. What was the key to knocking off Florida twice this season?
I know I sound like a broken record but it all comes down to defense for Tennessee. In both Florida games the Vols held the Gators to near season lows in points. The Vols do not have the talent or ability to outdoors teams, but when they play defense they can win.