March 13, 2011

Vols look to break Charlotte skid, more NCAA notes

It's more than a little ironic that in earning a program record sixth-straight NCAA bid, the Vols will be 'returning to the scene of the crime' as it were when they take the court on Friday in Charlotte vs. Michigan. The Vols have had no success inside Time Warner Cable Arena, host site for this weekend's games, and played arguably their worst game of the season back in December in falling to Charlotte 49-48.

That wasn't the only bad experience the Vols have had in the building, but it was by far the most embarrassing, given the '49'ers 2-13 finish in Atlantic 10 play this season (10-19 overall). The Vols shot a miserable 34% in that game, including 2-of-17 from three-point range. Tennessee was so bad on offense that night that they lost despite holding Charlotte to just 30% shooting

Two years ago, Tennessee played Louisville in the same building in a Sweet 16 match-up, falling to the Cardinals 79-60. Poor shooting was also a hallmark of that loss, with the Vols shooting 34% on that night as well.

There's one argument that suggests having prior experience in a large, NCAA tournament venue is an advantage, even if it's a small one. But from the Tennessee side, you have to wonder if there isn't a little bit of negative anticipation to confront given their recent experiences in the arena.

"The Bobcats arena? Ah man, I don't know that we've had any luck in there," big-man Brian Williams chuckled when asked if being familiar with the surroundings might help the Vols.

"We lost to Louisville two years ago and then that game to Charlotte. Hopefully things will change. We definitely haven't shot the ball well the two times that I've been there, so hopefully this will change things up."

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