Last year, the Tennessee Volunteers struggled with scoring during crucial games early on in the season. A 37-36 loss to the Georgetown Hoyas and a 46 – 38 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers highlighted their offensive struggles. Once SEC play began, Junior Jordan McRae took control of the offense and exploded.
In a crucial stretch at the end of February, McRae took Tennessee to the top of the NCAA tournament bubble conversation with eight straight games with at least 15 points – two of which were 34- and 35-point performances.
As if his performance last season wasn’t enough to prove why he could be the most dangerous player in the entire country, let alone the SEC, he trained with LeBron James and Kevin Durant this offseason. McRae is building his all-around game in preparation for the NBA, and, on top of that, he’s not even the Volunteers’ most talked about threat.
Tennessee has the most dangerous duo down low in the entire country. Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon are monsters in the paint. Maymon is a better scorer than Stokes, but Stokes is a better rebounder than Maymon. Opponents will have to focus in on Stokes and Maymon in the paint, which leaves McRae free to play his game on the perimeter.
McRae may not be talked about very often leading up to the beginning of SEC play, but the Volunteers should meet Andrew Wiggins and the Kansas Jayhawks in the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Expect big things from Tennessee in the 2013-14 college basketball season and even bigger things from McRae.