No. 24 Tennessee's balance could come in handy vs. Vandy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In-state rivals Tennessee and Vanderbilt meet Tuesday night in Memorial Gymnasium in a battle of 1-2 SEC teams.

The 24th-ranked Volunteers (10-4) hope to capitalize on momentum from Saturday's 76-65 home win over No. 21 Kentucky. Vanderbilt (6-9) dropped a 71-60 decision at South Carolina the same day.

Forward Grant Williams leads Tennessee in scoring (15.8), rebounding (6.8) and minutes per game (28.8) He had 16 of his 18 points on Saturday in the second half.

But the Vols' strength is in their balance. Seven players average 20 minutes or more, and five -- the others are forward Admiral Schofield (12.9) and guards Jordan Bowden (10.5), Lamonte Turner (9.9) and Jordan Bone (9.0) -- average nine points or more.

Schofield may have been Tennessee's best player against Kentucky, contributing 20 points and nine rebounds as the Vols overcame an eight-point halftime deficit after blowing 14- and nine-point leads in losses to Auburn and Arkansas.

"I thought he played his best game he has ever played at Tennessee in terms of being the player he should be," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "It had nothing to do with him scoring points. It was making efforts plays all-around."

The Vols rank 14th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. Tennessee gives up 33.8 percent rate on opponents' 3-point attempts, and their effort there will be a key Tuesday.

The Commodores shoot only 32.7 percent from long distance, a disappointing effort from a team expected to be one of the SEC's best in that regard.

Guard Riley LaChance (43.7 percent on 3s) and forward Jeff Roberson (41.9 percent) have been fine, but guard Matthew Fisher-Davis (33.7), the team's most talented shooter, has been spotty.

Vandy was 8 of 29 on 3s against South Carolina. In four previous games -- three wins -- Vanderbilt hit at least 10 3s each time and was a combined 51 of 121 behind the arc.

The Commodores were plagued by 31 fouls on Saturday, including four crucial charging calls.

"We talked a lot about (Carolina) taking charges, and I think that was a big point in the game," Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. "Erase four of those charges and we kick it out for 3s, and it could have been a much different ending to the game, a lot tighter."

One of the guilty parties was combo guard Saben Lee, who has also struggled behind the arc (25 percent). The freshman, however, can hardly be blamed for the Commodores' struggles.

Lee's explosive athleticism has created scoring opportunities elsewhere. He leads Vanderbilt with 50 assists, and his 70 foul shots are second on the team. He has led the team in scoring (17 vs. South Carolina, 23 against Alabama) the last two games.

Roberson, a 6-foot-6 senior who starts at center for Vanderbilt by default, leads the Commodores in scoring (14.5), rebounding (8.1) and minutes (32.0).

Tennessee leads the series 118-75, and the Vols have had their share of success in Memorial.

Starting with Vandy's 72-69 win in 2007-08 over then then-top-ranked Tennessee, the teams have alternated wins each season at Vanderbilt, including Tennessee's 87-75 upset last year.