Know thy enemy: Opposing coaches size up Ohio St. vs. Tennessee

The Dagger asked an assistant coach whose team faced Ohio State and one whose team faced Tennessee to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their former opponent. The coaches were granted anonymity to assure honesty.

An opposing coach on Ohio State:

"Every team in our league has a tough time with [Evan] Turner, but he can turn the ball over at a high rate, so you've got to get the ball out of his hands. Can you get him to make some poor decisions with the ball with some pressure situations? I would be surprised if there weren't two Tennessee Volunteers on Turner in the front court at all times making it a crazy situation and seeing if they can create a turnover. ... Between Lighty, Buford and Diebler, you're talking about a very high-level backcourt in our league. Those guys are all contributing. Turner sits down for a couple minutes, and almost invariably Lighty or Diebler make two threes in a row or Buford makes a tough shot. They're not deep, but they've got every weapon imaginable. ... If you're attacking a team that has very little bench to speak of, you've got to get the ball inside and create some issues. They only go about six deep. If you can get past Lauderdale and deeper into their bench, you're in much better shape in terms of your ability to score on Ohio State. ... If they can stay out of foul trouble and handle some of the pressing situations they might see the next couple games, I don't see any reason they can't go to the Final Four."

An opposing coach on Tennessee:

"They could have given up on their season [Tyler Smith was dismissed], but credit to [coach Bruce Pearl] for keeping those guys focused on achieving the goals they set at the beginning of the season and not being distracted by what they lost. ... With Chism, you know what you're getting every game. He'll probably make two threes every game, but he gets most of his work done around the basket. He knows who he is. He's not going to take eight threes because he can make a couple. He knows his team needs him to rebound, so he's going to be around the basket. ... They're a difficult match-up because I don't think there's one particularly thing you can key in on. I do think you need to make them work to score, make a few passes, make those guys score in situations they're not comfortable in. But I wouldn't say there's one key to stopping them because they have a lot of different weapons they use in a lot of different ways. ... They haven't pressed as much this year, but they're still committed to it. They're committed to playing a certain way with a certain mentality. They're going to make it difficult for you to get it in bounds. They steal possessions from you."

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