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Oakland will be going for three straight wins in as many years against Tennessee. Three! Not one! Not two! But three! And they scored 89 against the Vols last season! And they won at Thompson-Boling the year before! And it’s Oakland! Where the hell is Oakland?!?
The Vols absolutely cannot lose this game, for fear of the psychological meltdown that comes from being owned by a team from the Summit League. (That’s not a knock against the Summit League...well maybe it is.)
Oakland has held its own against teams from power conferences over the last three seasons, but this is a much different team than the one which came within a point of upsetting then-No. 8 Michigan State two seasons ago (three days before beating then-No. 7 Tennessee).
Leading scorer Reggie Hamilton and his 26.2 PPG are gone, but in his place is a dynamic backcourt of Duke Mondy and Travis Bader. Both players have had multiple games scoring 20 or more points, and both can shoot from range.
This is a prime opportunity for the much-improved defense from Richardson and Chievous to shine.
Oakland has also allowed 83.3 PPG in its three losses, so Tennessee could have another scoring outburst like it did against UMass in Puerto Rico. Look for Jarnell Stokes to come up big against a smaller Oakland frontcourt.