KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee enters into tonight’s game at Vanderbilt on a three-game losing streak in desperate need of a victory.
“I would say this could be a big turning point for us,” Vols sophomore Admiral Schofield said. “It could go north or south.”
Tennessee is a 4.5-point underdog against a Commodores team that has dropped its last two and is also trying to return to being above .500.
The Vols (8-8, 1-3 SEC) tip off against Vanderbilt (8-8, 2-2) at 8:30 p.m. ET in Memorial Gym (TV: SEC Network).
Coach Rick Barnes is looking for freshman point guard Jordan Bone to get up to speed in his fifth game back since missing nine games with a foot injury.
“He’s got to listen better,” Barnes said following Tennessee’s 70-60 home loss to South Carolina on Wednesday night. “His teammates are trying to help him. He just has to make better decisions. His decision-making is not good.”
Bone, a Nashville product, has explosive quickness, but he has nearly as many turnovers (11) as assists (17) this season, and Barnes said opponents have taken note.
“Our guard play has regressed, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “Maybe it’s my fault trying to get Bone in there quicker than he’s ready, but it’s obvious teams are teeing up on us on the perimeter and trying to get after our guards.
“When you’re being pressured you have to beat the pressure, go score, or make a simple pass.”
Nothing figures to come easy for Tennessee tonight in Memorial Gym.
“The intensity, the atmosphere is different, the fans are going at it,” Schofield said, asked about the tone of the Vols’ rivalry with the Commodores. “The biggest thing is a pride thing.
“We don’t really like Vandy that much, anyway.”