While nearly everyone interested was confused about how to watch/listen to/attend Tennessee’s game against Washington this past weekend, one thing was for sure at the end of the night: The Vols won a resume building game that will help them immensely come Selection Sunday. Tennessee (3-0, ranked #20) never trailed the Huskies, and left Ontario with a convincing 75-62 win. We saw a glimpse of Josiah-Jordan James’ potential. Pons continued to look like a legitimate offensive threat. John Fulkerson didn’t back down from a much larger young man (Isaiah Stewart) that will likely be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Bowden and Turner continued to be the anchoring veteran presence all successful teams need. Now Tennessee looks to the next game on the docket; a midweek contest against the Alabama State University Hornets at TBA on Wednesday 11/20/2019 at 7:00 p.m. Let’s look at our opponent!
The Opposing Squad
School: Alabama State University
Location: Montgomery, Alabama
Coach: Lewis Jackson (14th Season)
2018-2019 Record: 12-19 (9-9 SWAC)
Notable (kinda) Alumnus: Tauheed Epps: While he may have been a little less known back in the late ‘90s as a 6’5” Forward for the ASU Hornets averaging around 3 points a game, Epps had a sort of career change in ’97 which had a resurgence in 2011. He is now known as 2 Chainz, and is one of the more popular rappers currently in the business. He may have left ASU after his sophomore year, but I think he deserves a place in this article. Not technically an alumnus, sure, but definitely one we all know.
(Disclaimer: I, of course, try to bring a little humor to these pieces when I write them. I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t mention Ralph David Abernathy, a Civil Rights Movement leader and close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Abernathy was the grandfather of former University of Tennessee Football players Ralph David Abernathy IV and Micah Abernathy, the latter of whom now plays for the Indianapolis Colts. Alabama State University has a rich history, especially where the Civil Rights Movement is concerned).
What to look for with the Hornets
So far on the season, the Hornets are 0-3 with losses Gonzaga (by 31), Missouri State (by 9) and Houston (by 28). The most consistent production they are getting thus far is from Small Forward Tobi Ewuosho, a 6’5” Senior from Chicago, Illinois, who averaged 7.7 points last season. Ewuosho did not enter this season as the Hornet who was receiving the most hype, as that title went to Jacoby Ross. Ross did perform well against ASU’s toughest opponent to date (Gonzaga), but has been rather silent in the other games. Ewuosho on the other hand is taking his senior season and running with it; he is averaging 14.0 points and 5.0 boards a game.
However, don’t be surprised if Ross comes to Knoxville and makes some noise. He was tabbed as a potential All-SWAC performer in the pre-season, and the season is very young. I would expect he and Ewuosho will be the players we hear mention of the most Wednesday night.
What about The Vols, you ask?
Tennessee has already proven me wrong in a game this season, and boy, am I happy! I really thought we would see a pretty ugly loss against Washington. However, Lamonte Turner and Josiah-Jordan James both stuffed the stat sheet, and Bowden and Pons continued their hot starts. Fulkerson continued to, for a lack of a better word, surprise me with his play. Jalen Johnson and Olivier Nkhamoua were the only two other Vols to participate in Saturday’s game.
I believe the seven players that Barnes trotted out against Washington will be the ones we see the most of this season (barring injury, of course). I mentioned in last weeks article to continue to look for our lineup to take shape here in the early going. While there are a couple more players down the depth-chart we may see pop up here and there (probably during games like this one against Alabama State), these seven players seem to form the most solid, most talented rotation.
Final Prediction/The Sign Off
I may start to be sounding like a broken record, but again, I am going to stick with my
guns from my earlier pre-season article and pick the Vols to come out on top. I am 2-1 on the season, and that is just fine with me! This is one of those games you just can’t afford to lose, and I don’t see the Vols doing so. I say U.T takes down the Hornets, and my predicted final score is 79-58.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. The Vols have cracked the top 25 and now sit at number 20 in the polls, and will be looking to increase the digit in the left-sided column! Also, for minute to minute coverage of all sports on The Hill, be sure to check out MoreImportantIssues’ articles and podcasts on a variety of platforms, including Twitter (@More_Issues) and iTunes!
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