Given Tennessee's recent streak in SEC play, Volunteer fans might want to stop tuning in on the weekends — the Vols have lost on every Saturday since starting the 18-game league slate.
Cuonzo Martin's Vols will aim to snap that trend on Saturday when they travel to face Alabama at 9 p.m. inside Coleman Coliseum.
Jordan McRae, who led UT to a wire-to-wire 86-70 victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday with 26 points, commented on how difficult the Crimson Tide tempo can be.
"Alabama, they're a grind-out team," McRae said. "They're gonna make you guard deep into the shot clock. That's just what they do."
The Tide (9-10, 3-3 SEC) won two of three contests against the Vols (13-7, 4-3) last season, the last of which was a 58-48 UT loss in the SEC Tournament that played a big part in Tennessee missing its second consecutive NCAA tourney.
The Vols shot 18-for-56 (32.1 percent) in that fateful defeat, while Alabama made more shots from the field in 10 less attempts (19-for-46) and hit five of its 10 3-pointers.
But McRae is more taken back by the Tide's suffocating and multi-faceted press this season — an aspect of opposing defenses the Vols have struggled with in 2013-14.
"You just have to handle their press as well," McRae said. "They throw about four or five different ones at you, so you have to be ready for all of them."
Perhaps UT's biggest key in defeating that press is Darius Thompson. The freshman point guard beat out Antonio Barton for the starting spot in Wednesday's game and impressed with seven points and seven assists.
All signs point to the freshman getting the nod at point again after his performance, but he still had plenty of areas to improve upon after Wednesday's win.
"The biggest adjustments for me are physicality and just basically being more aggressive on offense and defense," Thompson said. "Also, looking to shoot more, getting gaps and finding my teammates."
Should Thompson start, Alabama star guard Trevor Releford will be matched up against him. The senior ranks seventh in the conference with 18.2 points per game and is the SEC's active career points leader.
Releford has three-and-a-half years on Thompson, but the UT youngster isn't fazed one bit.
"I don't think about that at all," Thompson said. "Freshman to seniors, we're just all playing basketball."
Just as one would expect from a confident yet humble freshman, he was short but excited about the prospect of facing off against an SEC great.
Thompson added: "I'm really looking forward to that matchup."