Tennessee (3-1) vs. Oakland (2-4)
Monday, Nov. 26, 7:00 p.m. ET
Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678) • Knoxville, Tenn.
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: Vol Network (WGOW-FM 102.3, Chattanooga)
Series Record: 2-0 Oakland
Probable Oakland Starters
F-Drew Valentine, 6-5, 232, SR, (10.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
F-Raphael Carter, 6-9, 205, JR, (0.4 ppg, 0.8 rpg)
C-Corey Petros, 6-10, 245, R-SO, (15.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
G-Travis Bader, 6-5, 187, R-JR, (17.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, .349 3PT)
G-Duke Mondy, 6-4, 208, R-JR (16.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.6 spg)
Key Reserves: Dante Williams (6-6, 187, SO); Lloyd Neely II (6-5, 230, FR); Ryan Bass (5-9, 170, JR).
Probable Tennessee Starters
F-Kenny Hall, 6-9, 230, SR, (8.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
F-Josh Richardson, 6-6, 188, SO, (9.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
C-Jarnell Stokes, 6-8, 270, SO, (13.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
G-Skylar McBee, 6-3, 195, SR , (8.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg, .444 3PT)
G-Trae Golden, 6-1, 205, JR, (11.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.7 apg)
Key Reserves: Jordan McRae (6-5, 178, JR); Armani Moore (6-5, 203, FR); Quinton Chievous (6-5, 201, R-FR); Yemi Makanjuola (6-9, 250, SO).
The opening tip
Here’s all anyone needs to know about the Oakland-Tennessee series: The Grizzlies have won both games, including in Knoxville in 2010.
Oakland played 18 home games last season, but this year coach Greg Kampe, who’s in his 29th year, has taken his team on what he calls a “stupid” road swing. Starting on Nov. 11, the Grizzlies have traveled to Louisiana, Boise State, Pittsburgh, Texas Southern and Michigan State. After playing the Vols, they play one more road game, at Western Michigan, before finally returning home on Dec. 6, a span of nearly a month between home games.
The road hasn’t been kind to Oakland so far, but this team obviously has Tennessee’s respect. In 2010, the Grizzlies, behind Keith Benson’s 26 points and 10 rebounds, beat the Vols 89-82 in Knoxville. It was just the second time in former coach Bruce Pearl’s six seasons Tennessee lost at home to a non-conference opponent. The loss immediately followed a victory at Pittsburgh that moved the Vols into the top 10 and the No. 1 RPI in the country and was a harbinger of the crazy season that was to follow.
Last season, coach Cuonzo Martin’s first at Tennessee, he had to take his team to Rochester, Mich. to play the Grizzlies, who never trailed in posting an 89-81 victory.
Oakland is coming off a 70-52 loss at Michigan State, but the Vols will be wary of a program that has the third-best conference record (45-9 in the Summit League) over the last three years, behind Kansas (45-5, Big 12) and Murray State (46-6, Ohio Valley).
Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon after his team rallied from 18 points down to beat Oakland at home on Nov. 17: “They took it to us. They were more physical, they got into us, and we just didn’t handle it as well as I would’ve thought.”
Tennessee junior Jordan McRae should be looking forward to playing Oakland. The last time the two teams played, he scored 25 points for the second game in a row. McRae is currently second on the team in scoring and leads the Vols from 3-point range (.573, 7 of 13). … Since Oakland’s Reggie Hamilton went off for 35 points against the Vols last year, no opposing player has managed more than 23 against them. … Oakland junior Travis “Darth” Bader was rated the No. 10 shooter in the country by CBSSports.com. Bader shot 44 percent from 3-point range as a freshman and 39 percent last season. In 2011-12 he made 10 3s in a game against South Dakota State and 123 for the season, second in Division I. Bader is averaging 3.7 3s per game this season but is coming off a 2-of-11 3-point effort against Michigan State. … This season the Grizzlies gained the services of a power conference transfer who figured to make an impact, and he has. Duke Mondy led the Big East in steals (2.1 spg) while playing at Providence two years ago and is already leading the Summit League in steals (2.7 spg). But he’s also established career highs in scoring (30 points vs. Louisiana) and assists (nine against Albion). … Last spring Forbes.com listed Tennessee’s program as one of the 20 most valuable in college basketball (No. 18). Basketball turned a $6.9 million profit in 2011-12 and is one of just two sports at the university that makes money, the other being football.