Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Fresh off a thrilling victory over a national powerhouse, the 16th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers get back to action tonight against the Arkansas Razorbacks in SEC action.
Losses in the last three games have dropped the Razorbacks to 14-15 overall and 7-7 in conference action. Clearly, the NCAA Tournament seems to be out of the question for Arkansas, but the club wants to finish above .500 to get into position to earn a bid to another postseason tournament. On Saturday, the squad was simply outclassed in an 89-72 loss to Vanderbilt in front of a deflated home crowd.
On Saturday, Tennessee treated the home crowd to a 74-65 victory over Kentucky, which entered the contest with only one loss. The Vols, who are a stellar 14-1 at home, possess a 21-7 overall record, including 9-5 in conference. Three of their last four outings have ended in victory.
Tennessee owns a 14-12 series lead over Arkansas, and today's game marks the only regular-season meeting between the two squads.
Courtney Fortson is the leading scorer for Arkansas this season with 18.5 ppg, and he is tops in assists as well (91) despite playing in only 15 of the club's 29 outings. On a down note, Fortson is shooting a mere 36.1 percent from the floor. Rotnei Clarke, a 44.2 percent shooter from three-point range, checks in with 15.8 ppg, and Marshawn Powell provides 15.6 ppg. The Razorbacks are scoring 75.4 ppg while permitting 73.8 ppg to opponents. Powell was outstanding in defeat against Vanderbilt last time out, as he scored 27 points to go along with nine rebounds. While Powell shot 12-of-21 from the floor, the rest of the team combined to connect on only 16-of-53 field goal attempts. Obviously, a 20-9 deficit in points from the foul line didn't help the cause.
J.P. Prince scored 20 points for Tennessee in the victory over Kentucky on Saturday, and Scott Hopson tallied 15 points. The key for the Vols was strong defense, as they limited the Wildcats to 35 percent shooting from the floor, including 2-of-22 from three-point range. That tremendous success enabled Tennessee to overcome a 21-12 disadvantage in points from the foul line and a 40-36 rebounding deficit. Hopson is scoring 13.0 ppg, and Wayne Chism checks in with 12.7 ppg and 6.9 rpg for the Vols, who are generating 74.8 ppg while allowing 65.1 ppg to opponents. The fact that Tennessee is holding foes under 40 percent shooting from the field is quite impressive.