The Vols passed their first real test of the season with flying colors on Wednesday night (No disrespect to the prior opponents), with a 73-53 win over the 12th ranked Missouri Tigers.
Offense- The Vols started out hot from the field going (I believe) 7-7 before finally missing. If you remember in my breakdown of Mizzou, I mentioned how they are prone to give up the mid range (rather that’s by design I don't know) and give it up they did, as Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer got their first few buckets of the evening around the free throw/free throw line extended area. They finished 6 (Keon 3-6 from the field) and 13 (Springer 4-7 from the field). Santiago Vescovi also made them respect the three point shooting ability going 3-4 from three and the Vols finished as a team going 71% from three on 5-7.
Defense- It’s not just Thompson Bowling Arena where the Vols feel at home on the defensive end, it’s on the road too, they held Missouri to 36% from the field and 18% from three. Yves Pons looks to be well on his way to earning SEC DPOY honors once again as he finished with 4 blocks and 2 steals. Josiah James continued to be a menace as well finishing with 3 steals.
Critque- If I had one critique of the Vols this season, it comes on the offensive side of the ball and that is our end of half sets. The Vols had the ball with 8 seconds left in the first half and out of a timeout, the best play you can draw up is a Fulkerson top of the key ISO? Yes, Missouri guarded Vescovi pretty well on the in-bounds, but what did you expect? I would like to see a little more creativity with more than one option after the ball is in-bounded as there may come a time when that play is a lot more important. That’s one minor critique on the night the Vols beat Missouri’s eyes shut.
The Vols definitely handled business and will look to do so again on Saturday as they host Alabama in TBA. That game is slated to tip off at 6 pm and will air on ESPN2.
Written by: Dallas Bowlin