The East Tennessee State Buccaneers: 7:00 BBSN

 

2009-2010:  20-14 (13-7) A-Sun Champions, NCAA Tournament 1st Round (L 100-71 #1 Kentucky)

The East Tennessee State Buccaneers will make their way up from Johnson City, Tennessee to take on the 10th ranked Wildcats in the home opener for John Calipari’s second campaign at UK. The Buccaneers will be looking for their 3rd strait A-Sun Conference Title as well as their 3rd strait trip to the Big Dance. With 4 returning starters, it appears head coach Murry Bartow’s team has a solid chance at achieving those goals. This will be the 4th match-up between the Cats and the Bucs with the last coming in last season’s NCAA Tournament 1st Round.

#33 Tommy Hubbard- The 6’4 senior led the Buccaneers in points and rebounds last season but due to knee surgery over the offseason he will not suit it up for the ETSU.

#30 Micah Williams- Another 6’4 senior who will look to pressure Kentucky early on trying to force the inexperience of the UK freshmen into careless turnovers. Williams shot the ball with pretty good efficiency last season going 47% from the field and 36% behind the 3-point stripe.

#3 Justin Tubbs- Tubbs a transfer from Alabama has spent some time playing against SEC caliber players. He is the 3rd returning starter from last season’s 20 win team that averaged double figures in scoring. At 6’3, Stubbs will be part of an undersized lineup looking to force the tempo and once again force turnovers against an inexperienced team. Stubbs is not afraid to pull the trigger from downtown as 67% of his 344 shots came from 3-point range last season.

This is a team that will play a small line-up with a lot of guards looking to force Kentucky into turnovers tomorrow night. Last season in the NCAA Tournament, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe were able to handle the pressure easily and allowed the massive size advantage that UK had take control of the paint. This year both Wall and Bledsoe are gone as well as the size advantage making this a much closer game than I think people will anticipate it being.

Prediction: Cats by 14

 

 

 

 

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