Thursday, March 22, 2007

Inside the Last Game

Ken Pomeroy has released what he calls an HD Boxscore for the January meeting between Tennessee and Ohio State. I tried to get it here, but my HTML table skills are lacking at the moment. The HD Boxscore can be found here.

Some interesting things to note:

1. Greg Oden had the biggest impact for Ohio State, as they were +10 when he was on the floor. Subsequently, they were -8 for the 4:03 he was on the bench.

2. David Lighty, Othello Hunter, and Matt Terwilliger combined were the sole reason Tennessee was able to keep the game close. They averaged -9.33 per player.

3. The only 3 players who had a positive +/- for Tennessee were Dane Bradshaw, Josh Tabb, and Wayne Chism. Chris Lofton's +/- was -6, Jujuan Smith's -4, and Ramar Smith at a -7. This actually bodes well for the Vols - I find it hard to believe those 3 play so poorly again. The defensive effort as of late for Tennessee has been it's best since Pearl arrived.

Will Thad Matta give Lighty, Hunter, and Terwilliger as many minutes as the game in January? If Tennessee conforms to Ohio State's slow pace, they might not. However, if Tennessee forces their tempo, those 3 will need to see the floor, as the top 6 on the depth chart will be puffed. Tempo will dictate this game's outcome more than anything. The second important facet will be the Ohio State defensive scheme, which will create the 3rd important aspect - Tennessee's 3 point shooting.

If Tennessee is able to get some open looks against the zone, they need to hit them. The zone defense allows for more 3 point looks, so this game could end up a blowout for either team. If Tennessee is hitting their 3s, Matta will either switch it up to man or Tennessee will win by 12+. If Tennessee is cold, Matta can just sit back and let the Vols brick their shots, let Oden pound the glass, and win by 12+.

The interesting strategy will happen when UT starts to hit some shots from behind the arc. Will Matta switch to man, allowing Pearl to bring Chism/Childress out to the perimeter, bringing Oden with them? This will allow for some serious backdoor cuts for Tennessee - remember the Florida game in Knoxville?

I just have a feeling - just a feeling - that Tennessee wins this game and we go where no man has gone before. Well, I mean, men have gone there, but none from Tennessee! THE REGIONAL FINALS!

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