University of Tennessee at Chattanooga vs. East Tennessee State University at Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tennessee
Time: 4 p.m.
Video/radio: ESPN Plus/96.1 FM
Likely lineups (with heights and scoring averages in parentheses)
UTC (7-9, 2-1 Southern Conference)
Projected starters: F Kevin Easley (6-6, 14.6); G David Jean-Baptiste (6-1, 9.4); G Jerry Johnson Jr. (6-1, 10.1); F Jonathan Scott (6-4, 6.7); F Ramon Vila (6-8, 10.3).
Key reserves: G Donovann Toatley (5-9, 11.2); C Thomas Smallwood (7-0, 6.7).
ETSU (12-4, 2-1)
Projected starters: G Patrick Good (6-0, 10.7); G Bo Hodges (6-4, 8.5); C Lucas N'Guessan (7-0, 6.4); F Jeromy Rodriguez (6-7, 11.7); G Daivian Williamson (6-2, 7.7).
Key reserves: F Mladen Armus (6-10, 8.8); G Tray Boyd III (6-4, 12.0).
UTC is coming off one of its most complete — if not its most complete — games of the season, Thursday's 73-62 win at Western Carolina. The Mocs shot better than 50 percent from the field for the third consecutive game, and they were a season-best 11-for-22 from 3-point range, led by Easley at 5-for-5. Coach Lamont Paris also lauded his team's defense, singling out Jean-Baptiste. Johnson's availability is in question after he bruised a hip early Tuesday and played just four minutes Thursday. Freshman guard Maurice Commander, who has missed several games because of injury, could help fill the backcourt void. He dressed Thursday but did not play.
East Tennessee State University beat visiting Samford 81-72 in overtime Thursday, and the win showcased the Bucs' impressive depth. Ten ETSU players have averaged more than 10 minutes per game in 2018-19, and reserve Boyd, the team's leading scorer this season, paced the Bucs with 22 points against Samford. Rebounding and defense are other strengths for the Bucs, who have averaged a plus-14 rebounding edge, led by Rodriguez's 12.1 per game. ETSU has held opponents to a mere 40 percent from the field.
Paris said after Thursday's win that rebounding will be key today. ETSU has averaged 42.9 rebounds per game this season, but the Mocs' average is 35.2 and they were outrebounded by 10 Thursday. Easley and Vila — and Smallwood when he subs in — are going to have to hold their own to steal this one.