Show Me My Opponent: Chattanooga

LINEUP NOTES

Chattanooga:

  • No changes in starting lineup expected, should be Commander/DJB/Ryan/Johnson/Vila.
  • Chattanooga lags well behind the national average in bench minutes, meaning that you shouldn’t expect a ton of players in the rotation prior to garbage time. To my eyes, it looks like it’ll be the five starters plus AJ Caldwell, Trey Doomes, Jonathan Scott, and Justin Brown. So: a nine-man rotation.
  • If you care much for plus-minus data, Matt Ryan leads the team at +5 in 160 minutes, per StatHouse Analytics. Commander is last at -29 in 154.

Tennessee:

  • No changes expected; Turner/Bowden/JJJ/Pons/Fulkerson.
  • I think Ken’s lineups are a little off here, as JJJ traditionally is more of a perimeter player to Pons’ interior. However, through four games, it’s mostly been interchangeable, so I’ll let it slide. Tennessee has more of a 1/2/2.5/3.5/4 lineup to me.
  • Barnes has mentioned using these tune-ups for opportunities to develop a larger rotation, and he took serious advantage of it against Alabama State; Davonte Gaines got 14 minutes, Drew Pember 8. With Zach Kent’s temporary departure, I’d expect similar numbers for both tonight.

KEY MATCHUPS

Josiah-Jordan James/Yves Pons vs. Matt Ryan. Both will get time in this matchup. Ryan is a good offensive player with an intriguing skillset, but he’s never been terribly efficient inside the arc. He’s also an average-at-best defender. Ryan doesn’t commit many fouls these days, but he’s also not one to be of much resistance. This should be Pons’ fifth-straight game in double-digits and potentially JJJ’s first.

Jordan Bowden vs. David Jean-Baptiste. DJB has gotten better offensively ever single year at Chattanooga and has developed into quite the three-point shooter. Bowden needs to stick with him everywhere on the perimeter in this one. Offensively for Bowden, though, this could be a potential fourth-straight KenPom MVP showing. Among UTC’s starters, DJB is probably the worst defender. I’d love to see Bowden take his defender to the rim a little more frequently than he has so far; in an ideal world, I’m looking for five or more attempts in the paint.

PREDICTION

Tennessee 79, Chattanooga 59.

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