Ah, the Border War. It is truly one of those special rivalries that makes college athletics so fun. Kentucky-Tennessee may not always have the blood-boiling intensity that Kentucky-Louisville incites - I'm fairly certain no fights have ever broken out at a dialysis center over an upcoming game - but make no mistake, these are two teams that love to break opposing fans' hearts.
The Cats had a great run last season with the Vols, stretching their home win win streak over the Big Orange to 3 straight and making history with their first ever victory at Thompson Boling Arena. They met again in the SEC Tournament Championship Game where the Vols won - sigh - in a 71-70 clash of epic proportions.
Fast forward to now. The Lady Vols once again have an outstanding squad, who is currently 17-3 overall and a perfect 7-0 in SEC play. Their season includes victories over top ten squads such as Stanford and Texas A&M, and road losses to top 25 teams such as Chattanooga and Texas.
Their roster has no less than TEN players over six feet, which I believe is a new high (ba-dum-ching) for us to face this year. Led by their senior leading point-makers Isabelle Harrison and Ariel Massengale, the Vols have been flat out destroying lesser teams this season. That LSU squad we had such trouble with a few weeks ago? The Vols trounced them by 17 points. 12th ranked Texas A&M was singled out for special domination, with the Orange winning by 23 points.
In short, this squad is pretty good. They shoot 42% from the field, while on average holding the opposing team to 37%. They hit fully 1/3rd of their three pointers, and a jealous-rage inducing 76% of their free throws.
But they are not unbeatable. With all that height, they average only 3.8 blocks per game (The Cats average 4.3) and only 17 offensive rebounds per game to the Cats 18. That tells me if the Cats come out fighting and force the Vols to speed up their game into making shots before they are ready? We have a fighting chance of pulling in a badly needed win over a ranked team for the first time since December 7th.
The Cats need your support tonight to make this happen. If you're in Lexington, this is a game you shouldn't miss! If you're not lucky enough to live in Lex or nearby, please join us here at ASoB for all the action as two of the best squads in the SEC face off. Tip off is at 7 PM EST on the SEC Network.
Until gametime, Cat fans - GO BIG BLUE!