Vols back from Puerto Rico, back to work

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (SUBMITTED/WVLT) -- After going 2-1 and finishing in third place at last week’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the Tennessee basketball team has nearly a full week to prepare for its next opponent. The Volunteers (3-1) host Oakland Monday night at Thompson-Boling Arena (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports South).

Through the first four games of the season, Tennessee has gotten key contributions from wings Jordan McRae and Josh Richardson. The pair has combined to average 20.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting .482 from the field.

Richardson has started all four games and had arguably the best outing of his career in Sunday’s win over UMass, totaling 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. After averaging 2.9 points per game as a freshman last season, the Edmond, Okla., native is fourth on the team with a scoring average of 9.3 points per game so far this year. And his 5.8 rebounds per game make him Tennessee’s top-rebounding guard.

McRae, meanwhile, has picked up right where he left off last season, when he was one of the most impactful sixth men in the Southeastern Conference – he came off the bench to score in double figures in six of UT’s last 14 games a year ago. Not only is the 6-5 junior Tennessee’s second-leading scorer through the first four games of the season (11.3 points per game), but he is also the team’s top 3-point shooter (.538).

The Vols as a team are shooting .390 from beyond the arc this season while limiting their opponents to a .290 percentage from long range. Early on this season, Tennessee is attempting just 14.8 3-pointers per game. Through the first four contests of last season, UT launched an average of 20.5 3-pointers per contest.

The Vols are off Thursday for Thanksgiving before returning to the practice court Friday to prepare for Monday’s game against Oakland. Many members of the team will be eating Thanksgiving dinner at head coach Cuonzo Martin’s home Thursday afternoon.

Former Tennessee basketball letterman Carl H. Langschmidt, Jr. (1953) passed away Sunday after a brief illness. He was 81-years-old.

Langschmidt was a forward with the Vols during the 1951-52 and 1952-53 seasons, playing under head coach Emmett Lowery.

In addition to playing basketball for the Big Orange, Langschmidt also served as president of Kappa Sigma fraternity and commanded a regiment in the Army ROTC as a Colonel. He graduated in 1953 with the coveted award of “Torchbearer,” the highest student honor conferred by the university. Langschmidt then attended UT’s College of Law, where he led his class academically, was editor-in-chief for the Tennessee Law Review and graduated with highest honors as a member of the national honor society, Order of the Coif.

The son of a German Olympic athlete, Langschmidt graduated from Central High School in Memphis, Tenn., in 1949. During high school career, he was an All-Memphis and All-State basketball player and helped lead Central to an undefeated record in the 1948-49 city league.

Wednesday’s “Emphasis of the Day” – daily midcourt talking points spearheaded by head coach Cuonzo Martin prior to each practice – centered on changing one’s situation.

If you want to change your situation, you must first change your thoughts. If you keep thinking what you’ve been thinking, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.

Oakland University, located in Rochester, Mich., has beaten Tennessee each of the last two seasons. Those are the only meetings in the series. The Golden Grizzlies posted an 89-82 win in Knoxville on Dec. 14, 2010, and defeated UT 89-81 last season in the Great Lake State.

Head coach Greg Kampe is in his 29th season at Oakland. Last Saturday, OU led by as many as 18 points at Pittsburgh before falling in overtime. Oakland visits Michigan State Friday before traveling to Rocky Top.

The Grizzlies’ starters are accounting for approximately 85 percent of the team’s scoring this season. Junior guard Travis Bader, considered one of the top shooters in college basketball, is Oakland’s top scorer (19.0 ppg) and is averaging four 3-pointers made per game. Bader plays an average of 38.6 minutes per game and also is shooting 91 percent at the free-throw line.

One of the top programs in the Summit League, the Grizzlies have the third-best conference record in the country over the last three years: Kansas (45-5, Big XII), Murray State (46-6, Ohio Valley), Oakland
(45-9, Summit League).

Oakland set a Summit League record with three postseason wins last year, as the Grizzlies made it to the 2012 CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament semifinals.

For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee basketball program, visit UTsports.com/basketball and follow @Vol_Hoops on Twitter.

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