The College of Charleston expects an angry bunch of Tennessee Volunteers for tonight's men's basketball game at TD Arena. Angry because Tennessee (3-5) is coming off a shocking 74-70 home loss to Austin Peay. And angry because when the teams met a year ago in Knoxville, the College of Charleston rolled to a 91-78 win, hitting 14 of 25 3-pointers.
A sellout crowd is expected for the 9 p.m. game, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
"I can't wait for the chance to get to play them again," said Cougars senior forward Antwaine Wiggins, a native of Greeneville, Tenn. "I know they want to get some payback from last year, so I think it'll be a real heated game. I remember last year everybody was hot, me (15 points), Drew (Goudelock, 31 points), Donavan (Monroe (27 points). It seemed like every shot was falling. It was a real fun atmosphere."
Cougars coach Bobby Cremins said he is certain first-year Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin will remind his team that their Southern Conference opponents are not to be taken lightly.
"We played a perfect game. We shot lights out," Cremins said. "That day I felt like we probably could have beaten anybody in the country."
The lights-out shooting performance a year ago is a sharp contrast to Charleston's last outing when the Cougars (7-1) launched 43 3-pointers and hit only 12 in an 87-85 double- overtime win 11 days ago against Chattanooga.
"We were very fortunate to win our last game. We did not play well. It's tough to feel bad after you play poorly and win," Cremins said, adding that this is an important game for Charleston, the first of five non-conference games before Dec. 30. In addition to Tennessee, the Cougars face Charleston Southern Saturday, travel to No. 4 Louisville Tuesday, play at Coastal Carolina on Dec. 22 and play host to George Mason on Dec. 30.
Cremins said it is becoming more and more difficult to get teams from the major conferences to agree to come to Charleston. Louisville will play at TD Arena in the 2012-13 season, but Cremins said he doesn't have any agreements beyond that.
"We're honored to be playing Tennessee. We have great respect for them," Cremins said. "We play a very difficult schedule. I'm really pleased with where we are. We just have to make sure we're still hungry and not arrogant."