NCAA Men’s basketball is back with an exciting SEC conference game. The Tennessee Volunteers face the Vanderbilt Commodores tonight in the first of their two encounters. They play once again four days later. The game was initially scheduled back in November but had to be postponed.
The Volunteers arrive in Nashville on the back of two successive wins. They beat the Texas A&M Aggies in their last game in a defensive masterclass. They held the Aggies to just 34% from the field and came away with a comfortable 14-point victory. So their overall record is currently 9-1, while their record in the SEC is 3-0.
The Commodores, on the other hand, are aiming to break their three-game losing streak. Their overall record is just 4-5 now, and they haven’t won since December 27. They still haven’t won a single conference game yet, so they will be desperate for the win tonight.
The Volunteers are currently at the top of the SEC. They have been able to keep their best players healthy so far, which is one of the main reasons for this. Apart from the four-star prospect Corey Walker, who hasn’t played yet, everyone is available for tonight’s game.
So their lineup should be unchanged. Jaden Springer, Josiah-Jordan James, and Santiago Vescovi will start as the guards, while John Fulkerson and Yves Pons will be their starting forwards.
The Commodores haven’t been equally lucky. They have four players on the injury list currently, but none of them are among their starters. So their lineup will feature D.J. Harvey, Maxwell Evans, Scotty Pippen Jr as the guards, with Dylan Disu and Quentin Millora-Brown as the forwards.
The Volunteers are easily the favorites tonight. They have the number two ranked defense in the country. With four players averaging double-digit points, they have a better depth as well.
Unlike them, the Commodores are heavily relying on Pippen Jr. His performance has always been crucial to their wins. In their four wins, he shot 50% from the field and 38% from three. But during their five losses, he has averaged 41% from the field and 21% from three. So the only way the Commodores come with a way is if he has a huge game, and is also supported by the rest of the team.
It is unlikely that happens, so the Volunteers should be able to breeze through.