The @Vol_Hoops Report: November 5

Nov. 5, 2013

The "30 For 30" documentary about former Vols Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

VOL HOOPS REPORT: Tennessee Ready for Final Tune-Up

The Tennessee basketball team has one exhibition game under its belt and has just more exhibition remaining before the lights come on and wins and losses are at stake.

The "preseason" ends Thursday after the Volunteers host Southern Indiana - ranked 18th in the Associated Press Division II national poll - at Thompson-Boling Arena (7 p.m. ET).

The film sessions following these early-season clashes often prove just as valuable to teams as the actual on-court action. The camera doesn't lie.

"When you watch film, that's when you become a better player," Vols head coach Cuonzo Martin said. "You have to see it (on film), go through it, grow from it and continue to learn."

Was there much to be learned from Saturday's 105-80 victory over Florida Southern?

"You walk away from a 25-point win, (and you might think things went really well)," Martin said. "Then when you leave that film session, (you realize) we didn't play that well."

With senior point guard Antonio Barton still sidelined with a left leg injury, it appears as though freshman Darius Thompson and senior Jordan McRae will continue to split time at the point guard spot Thursday.

While Thompson is more naturally suited as a floor general, McRae would prefer to attack opposing defenders from the wing.

"I need to be more `point-guard-minded,' try to get everybody else involved a little bit more" McRae said when asked about the adjustment of playing the No. 1 position. "It's easier to turn the ball over (when you're) playing the point."

A long preseason will end with 40 short minutes of action Thursday night. And according to McRae, the Vols need to make the most of it.

"I still think we have a lot to work on."

Tickets for Thursday's exhibition are just $5 each and can be purchased in person at the UT Ticket Office, via phone by calling 1-800-332-8657 or online at


Located in Evansville, In., Southern Indiana University has an enrollment of 9,902 and competes in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference. Last season, the Screaming Eagles posted a 23-8 overall record, finished second in the GLVC race with a 13-5 mark in league play and were ranked 15th in the year-end NABC Division II national poll.

Head coach Rodney Watson is entering his fifth season at USI. He led the Eagles to the Division II Midwest Regional semifinals last year.

Southern Indiana returns 10 lettermen and three starters from last year's squad and opened exhibition play with an 83-68 loss at Indiana Oct. 26. The Eagles made eight 3-pointers against the Hoosiers. USI also logged 11 steals in that contest.

Watson spent 21 seasons as an assistant (and later, associate head) coach at Southern Illinois before relocating to Evansville, Ind.

Watson's time on staff as SIU overlapped with the playing career of current UT assistant coach Kent Williams, who is SIU's second all-time leading scorer with 2,012 points from 2000-03.

To purchase tickets, visit the UT Ticket Office at Thompson-Boling Arena, call 1-800-332-8657 or go to

For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee basketball program, visit and follow @Vol_Hoops on Twitter and Instagram.





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