Tennessee-Florida: Pivotal SEC East Matchup Set for Saturday

Max MountContributor IJanuary 29, 2009

The Tennessee Volunteers (12-7, 3-2) will collide with the Florida Gators (18-3, 5-1) this Saturday, Jan. 31 at 9pm ET on ESPN. While the Vols are coming off two tough losses to Memphis and LSU, the Gators have won 12 of their last 13 games. The only loss for Florida in that stretch came courtesy of South Carolina's Zam Fredrick on a last second shot.

How can Tennessee beat Florida and remain relevant come Selection Sunday?

The answer: scoring. Balanced, consistent, and high percentage scoring.

Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism are proven gamers that can score with the best of them. They need help though. Scotty Hopson, Cameron Tatum, and Bobby Maze need to break out of their slumps fast to provide that help. The last two games have not been kind to this trio, as they have combined to shoot 9-for-36.

The surging Gators come into Knoxville looking to notch their sixth conference win and end a three-game losing streak to the Vols. Leading the way will be Nick Calathes, who is coming off a triple-double against Georgia with 20 points, 13 boards, and 10 assists. 

The Vols need to get going early and score often if they are going to hold off Florida. Be prepared for a high-octane rivalry game between two of the Southeastern Conference's finest.