Jan 26, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide forward Nick Jacobs (15) defends Tennessee Volunteers forward Jarnell Stokes (5) during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 54 to 53. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Tennessee @ Arkansas

The Volunteers head to Fayetteville later today to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks.   Tennessee is coming off another close win as they defeated Vanderbilt 58-57 on Tuesday night.  The Vols didn’t escape completely unscathed, junior point guard Trae Golden went down in the first half with a hamstring injury and didn’t return to action.  MRI results on Thursday showed only a strain, but he is still considered doubtful for today’s game.  Brandon Lopez will see extended action at guard, backing up junior Jordan McRae.  McRare took over the starting point guard position after Golden’s continued struggles with ball security.

Arkansas’ pressure defense will prove to be a tough test for the Volunteers, they lead the SEC in turnover margin.  The lack of depth and experience at the point guard position could prove to be the difference in the game.  The Razorbacks have struggled on offense the past two games, that combined with the Vols’  offensive struggles of their own this season could turn this into a low scoring affair.  That could favor the Vols who have had trouble putting points on the board.

Keys to the game 

Tennessee will have to take care of the ball against a stingy Arkansas defense.  They will also have to keep Jarnell Stokes involved.  Stokes has played much better the past two games, since his letdown performance against Ole Miss.  If he can continue his level of play then the Vols should be able to lead the rebound margin.  That’ll be a huge step towards victory. The play of Brandon Lopez will be essential as well.  Golden has averaged nearly 27 minutes of playing time a game this year.  Lopez will be asked to contribute a considerable amount more then the 7 minutes a game he’s averaged thus far.  Getting a win on the road would be huge for Tennesseee and would push their winning streak to three and get them to .500 in the conference.

The game will be shown on ESPNU with tip off scheduled for 4:00 EST.

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