Tide needs to come up big against small Vols


Jan. 26,

Where to watch: (10-9, 3-4 ) at (10-8, 1-5) – 9 p.m. Central today, ,

Who to watch: . It’s hard to go wrong anytime focusing on the 6-foot-1 senior from Belgium, who averages a -high 14.8 points per game. But in addition to his usual leadership on offense, keep an eye on how well he defends his opposite number, Tennessee’s Kevin Punter. The SEC’s second-leading scorer (23.3 points per game), the 6-2 Punter strongly resembles Obasohan as a natural shooting guard who has logged significant time at the point out of necessity. He’s broken the 20-point barrier 13 times in the last 16 games and scored a career-high 36 Saturday as the upset South Carolina. Their one-on-one battle could be one of the better ones this year.

What to watch for: Can the frontcourt rise up? The only have three players on the roster taller than 6-foot-5, and only one who sees significant minutes. Sometimes that spells disaster, such as last Wednesday’s 88-74 loss to Vanderbilt, and sometimes can run bigger teams ragged, as in the 78-69 upset of the Gamecocks. has had success in spurts on plays designed to get him the ball in the paint, but hasn’t been a consistent focal point on offense. He could be primed for a big game, as could if he will take advantage of his size and not settle for 3-pointers all night.

Follow Chris DePew on @TideFansChris

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