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12:30 PM PT1:30 PM MT2:30 PM CT3:30 PM ET8:30 PM GMT4:30 PM 北京时间1:30 PM MST3:30 PM EST, Jan 5, 2019
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee  Attendance: 21,678

Georgia-Tennessee Preview

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill, File)

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes and Tom Crean of Georgia are preaching from the same pulpit as the two rivals open SEC play Saturday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

The way they see it, both teams need to pick up their respective games.

"It's details, just simple details. Just simply getting your hands up, being active on the ball, trying to break the ball loose, get us out on the open court," Barnes told the media earlier this week. "A missed block out here and there when we've had a great possession and one guy doesn't finish the possession and let's his guy run down the shot. Our post defense has to be better, there's no question about that. We're allowing the ball to come in from the top too often and too easily. Our ball screen defense, the last two games we had two of the worst we've had all year just with communication."

Crean, meanwhile, knows his young Bulldogs (8-4) have their work cut out against the third-ranked Volunteers (11-1), who have won 16 straight at home.

"I have no idea how this is going to go. We can't mirror in practice what we are going to see in them. They have a physicality and a toughness that we will have to deal with," Crean said. "Obviously, we are playing there and it is a tough environment I'm certain. They play with a tremendous amount of toughness and physicality and grit, and we are going to have to match that or we won't have a chance."

Tennessee, whose only loss came back on Nov. 23 to then-No. 2 Kansas, is arguably the deepest team in the SEC.

Four starters average in double-figures, topped by Grant Williams' SEC-leading 20.1 points per game, followed by Admiral Schofield (18.2 ppg, second in the SEC) and Jordan Bone (14.3). Add in 6-foot-11 senior Kyle Alexander (10.3 ppg, 6.8 rebounds per game) along with guard Yves Pons (4.4 ppg, 3.6), it's easy to see why many are predicting Tennessee to definitely be a team to watch come time for the NCAA Tournament.

But Barnes is certainly not taking anything for granted. Saturday, it's all about visiting the Bulldogs.

"They know that they're going to be in a lot of close possession games," Barnes said of his players. "You have to be ready every single night and if you're not, you're going to get beat."

Crean's message to his Bulldogs has basically been the same.

"We just want to win the game. We just have to compete. They (Tennessee) don't take possessions off. They compete at a very high level. They have been at it for a while and they have been building their program for a while and they have a lot of traction in it right now," Crean said. "We are just getting started, but we have to go in there and matchup in the sense of competition, intensity, and being on the glass. We can't go in there and give them live ball turnovers, because that will be a disaster for us."

Updated January 5, 2019

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