Tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, it’s the Florida Gators at the Tennessee Volunteers in an important SEC game as we head down the home-stretch of the regular season.
Tennessee leads the all-time series 71-52.UT holds a 43-15 advantage in games in Knoxville. The Volunteers won both games with the Gators last season. This is the only meeting between the two this season.
Tennessee (16-10, 8-6 SEC) is riding a 5-game winning streak entering tonight.
Florida (22-4, 12-2 SEC) is #5 in the polls, #4 in the RPI and #1 in the SEC standings. The Gators lead Kentucky by two games with four games to go.
To help us preview the tonight’s huge SEC game in Knoxville, we called-on the color analyst on tonight’s ESPN broadcast along-side play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler.
Brendan Quinn and I were joined by Jimmy Dykes on the “News Sentinel Sports Page” radio talk show on game-day. Some quotes from our visit are below.
To hear our entire interview with Jimmy Dykes, click the video to the left.
Jimmy Dykes on what Tennessee has done during 5-game winning streak
“They’ve gone with four guards on the floor a lot which has opened things up for Stokes. They’re really scoring.”
Thoughts on Cuonzo Martin
“Cuonzo has pushed all the right buttons with this team. A lot of coaches can see the problem, but they can’t fix the problem. Only the best coaches see it and fix it. I think Cuonzo Martin is one of the best coaches in the game. I love everything about that guy.”
Jarnell Stokes and Trae Golden of Tennessee
“I think Stokes and Trae Golden have been the key all season long. They kind-of fought the coaching staff a little bit maybe early, and weren’t completely buying-in on everything the Vols needed those two guys to do. Boy, they’re really playing well now.”
NCAA Tournament chances for the Vols
“Tennessee has fought their way into a spot where a win tonight I think they’re a very hot topic for an at-large candidate.”
More on Tennessee’s tournament chances
“I expect Thompson-Boling to be off-the-charts tonight at the tip considering that it’s Florida and national TV. A win puts them, I think, just right there within that last three or four spots of making the NCAA Tournament as of today. It’s a huge game, a huge opportunity for Tennessee.”
On Florida’s shortened bench due to injuries
“You’re going to have to go with another guy or two. You can’t go into a ball-game playing six. I think you can play seven. Although Florida might be down a little bit, it’s going to take Tennessee’s best effort to win this game.”
How good Florida is
“Florida is built to win the entire thing I think. They’re that good of a club, especially when they’re healthy. They couldn’t win it right now without (Will) Yeguete and (Michael) Frazier. But, they get those two guys back, I like their chances to win the national championship about as much as anybody out there.”
On the Patric Young match-up with Jarnell Stokes, and UF defending him
“That’ll be a great match-up. Those are two football tight-ends in the SEC going at it tonight on the inside. I think Florida will play some zone. That would not surprise me at all. They play a really good zone.”
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