Vols Hot Out The Gate: Much Left To Prove

Clayton MartinCorrespondent INovember 19, 2008

Well it’s official. Two games down, 28 to go. The party that is the regular season marches on.

Bruce’s boys looked great throughout the first win over neighboring UT-Chattanooga. Then they came out hot against UT-Martin and somewhat fizzled out by the time the final horn went off.

However, I think that it is a fair assumption to make that fans are pleased with what they’ve seen thus far out of this young team that is still seeking an identity.

What I liked to see the most thus far was the emphasis on sharing the ball. The players legitimately seem to have just as much fun setting their teammates up for shots as they do getting their own (which is rare these days).

This is evident by the Vols school record setting 32 assists in the season opener, and then following that effort with a solid 23 assists in their second game. Also, the Vols have five players averaging double-digit points through the first two games.

Another interesting statistic to note through the first two games is the high point totals despite a poor three-point shooting percentage.

One of the big questions coming in to the season was how the team would cope with losing two of the most proficient three-point shooters in school history. Fans speculated the impacts of this on the offensive output.

As many people foresaw, the Vols have indeed struggled from behind the arc, but fortunately the offense hasn’t really suffered as a result. Despite shooting 28 percent from the three-point arc, the Vols are still averaging 103 points per game and are still winning by an average of 33 points per game.

On Friday the Vols will face their third straight solid in-state foe that will seek to prove themselves against the Vols. This time the Vols will have to hit the road for their first away game of the season against Middle Tennessee State.

Like UT-Chattanooga and UT-Martin, MTSU is projected to win their conference and they have gotten out to a hot start similar to the Vols.

MTSU is 2-0 and has won their first two games by an average of 29 points per game. They, like the Vols, have four players averaging double-digits in points.

That being said I really see little reason for concern in Friday’s game. Last season in Knoxville the Vols steam-rolled MTSU by a final of 109-40.

I’m not necessarily saying to expect to win by 69 points, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep worrying about this one as the Vols are still a far more athletic and talented team.

If the Vols first two games are any indication of what the rest of the season is going to look like, even with an obvious increase in opponent difficulty, the Vols should be just fine.

Friday’s game against MTSU can be seen by some on Sports South at 8 pm Eastern time.