Tennessee forward Grant Williams was not happy after the Volunteers’ last game, but he knows that the college basketball season is a marathon, not a sprint. The 20th-ranked Volunteers aim to play two complete halves Wednesday when Furman visits for a non-conference clash.
Tennessee led by six at halftime against defending national champion North Carolina on Sunday and led by as many as nine in the second half before allowing the Tar Heels to close the game on an 11-3 run en route to a tough defeat. “You get many opportunities through the year,“ Williams told reporters. ”This won’t define us. It won’t stop us from playing the rest of the year, discourage us for our next game or from being the team we want to be. We might lose a game like this. There can only be one winner, but you just have to move on and get ready for the next game and continue doing what you’re good at.” Williams had 15 points against North Carolina and averages a team-high 16 points in 27 minutes per contest. Furman won’t be intimidated after facing Butler and Duke earlier this season, although the Paladins lost those games by 17 and 29 points, respectively.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT FURMAN (9-3): The Paladins have won five in a row and have scored 101, 103 and 90 in their last three games behind some dynamic 3-point shooting. Devin Sibley was 4-of-5 from 3-point range in Sunday’s win over UNC Wilmington and the senior guard, who averages a team-high 15.7 points on the season, finished 9-of-11 from the field en route to 24 points. Sibley shoots 45 percent from behind the arc, while Daniel Fowler (41.5) and Matt Rafferty (42.9) also are dangerous from long range.
ABOUT TENNESSEE (7-2): Williams isn’t a big factor from 3-point range, but Admiral Schofield (11.7 points per game) is a 42.9 percent 3-point shooter, while Jordan Bowden (10.4) is knocking down 3s at a blistering 60 percent rate. Additionally, almost all of the key players in Tennessee’s rotation are good foul shooters, led by Bowden (88.9 percent), as the team shoots 76.2 from the foul line overall. James Daniel III gave the team a lift with 14 points off the bench against North Carolina, but the other reserves combined for seven points on 2-of-14 shooting.
1. Bowden is shooting 51.7 percent from the field but is only 3-of-12 over the last two games.
2. Tennessee F Kyle Alexander and Williams have 36 combined blocks - eight more than the entire Furman team.
3. The Volunteers have had at least 10 assists in every game.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 71, Furman 59