No. 20 Tennessee wraps up non-conference play with a challenging road matchup against Wake Forest on Saturday. The Volunteers have already played three ACC opponents this season, defeating North Carolina State and Georgia Tech before losing to North Carolina last weekend.
Tennessee recovered from that loss to North Carolina by defeating Furman 66-61 on Wednesday, although it was hardly a confidence-boosting win, as the Volunteers were tied with the Paladins until the final minute. “We found a way at the end,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes told reporters. “You’ve got to do that sometimes when you’re not playing your best.” Grant Williams made a big basket down the stretch and finished with 14 points, while Jordan Bowden registered a team-high 21 and Admiral Schofield pitched in 12 points and 13 rebounds. Wake Forest enters having won six in a row while scoring at least 80 points in each of those contests.
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT TENNESSEE (8-2): The Volunteers shot only 37.1 percent against Furman while missing 15 of their 20 attempts from 3-point range, and their 15-of-24 foul shooting wasn’t anything to write home about either. Bowden needed a strong performance after shooting 3-of-12 in his previous two games, and Schofield notched his first double-double of the season - and just the second of his career. Williams has recorded double-digit points in eight straight outings but has turned the ball over 14 times in the last five games, compared to seven turnovers in the first five games.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (7-4): The Demon Deacons’ 1-4 start is starting to feel like a distant memory after the recent run of success, which includes a win over Illinois but nothing that would match the quality of a victory against Tennessee. Bryant Crawford registered 22 points in a four-point road win against Coastal Carolina last time out, upping his average to a squad-best 16.4 points per game, not to mention a team-high 4.9 assists. Brandon Childress and Mitchell Wilbekin each shoot above 40 percent from 3-point range for Wake Forest, which connects on 39 percent of its 3s overall - although Crawford is just 1-of-6 in the last two games.
1. After this game, the Volunteers have a week off before opening SEC play at Arkansas.
2. Tennessee G James Daniel III has posted zero turnovers in four of his last five games.
3. Wake Forest C Doral Moore (11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds) has three double-doubles this season, including one in each of the last two games.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 66, Wake Forest 60