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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 29 February 2012

In the 11 days since a 62-50 loss at Alabama, our Tennesse Big Orange squad has done more than its share to remind partisans why they are one of the most interesting teams in the NCAA. With solid victories against a struggling South Carolina team and a once highly touted Ole Miss contingent, the Volunteers have positioned themselves as possible SEC title contenders who may be able to secure a first round bye come conference tournament time. 

Indeed - by winning 6 of their last 7 games - Tennessee has become one of the hottest unranked teams in the nation. Cool

That said - it is quite surprising to see the Vegas/Reno oddsmakers tilting toward LSU in tonight's 9:00pm EST showdown with our hallowed Big Orange Volunteer team. 

Yes - LSU is only favored by a point - but we still don't get it.Undecided

The two big name universities have yet to face each other on the hardwood so far this season and Tennessee has a slightly better SEC record (8-6) than LSU (7-7) brings to the table. Additionally last game was a painful loss to Ole Miss that showed LSU at its worst as they struggled to hit from the floor (31%) and knocked down just 48 points versus the Rebels cool 72.

Sure the Vols are taking it on the road and with a 3-9 record away from their homecourt Tennessee has traveled poorly virtually all season. But fans shouldn't forget that Tennessee's latest win - in a 73 - 64 game back on Feb. 25th came in a game played in South Carolina. 

So what should you do tonight?

Here at www.sunsstufft.com we suggest that you take a ride across that expansive Nevada border and throw some real money across the counter and loudly exclaim - "Give me Tennessee to win"!

See ya'       

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 18 February 2012

Sometimes you wish that the brilliant hardwood play of individual players could be awarded at the end of an individual NBA game even though their team went down in flames. We're not talking about being picked for the All Stars - although that wouldn't hurt - or being nominated for some other league award. No - we mean something that would recognize the brilliant play of an individual in a game in which their team is otherwise lacking.

If you are puzzled by the idea - just look at the incredible play of two Suns stand-outs (Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash) in valiant efforts to salvage a win for Phoenix last night. Unfortunately the game saw the Suns go down to a 111 - 99 defeat at the hands of the LA Lakers but that shouldn't take away from the excellence shown by the above dynamic duo.

During that game the Suns built a 25 - 21 first quarter lead but 12 minutes of playing time later found themselves facing a first half deficit of 57 - 48. That's a 13-point swing in the wrong direction during just one quarter of play and subsequent quarters saw little relief as the Suns dropped the third (30 - 25) and edged the Lakers by just 2 points in the last 12 minutes of play (26 - 24).

Yet through it all - Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash proved that they are nothing but brilliant when it comes to dominating their respective positions.  Gortat's 21 points and 16 rebounds came on top of 2 steals for the big man from Poland and Nash's 11 points and 17 assists were complimented by two steals of his own.

Stunning performances by both that deserve incredible gratitude from the restless masses of fandom here at www.sunsstufft.com. Wink

As for the rest of the roster - Shannon Brown was excellent with 15 points and rookie Markieff Morris continued to impress with 14 points including 6 from beyond the arc. Deduct the strong performers and the Suns went 16 of 39 from the floor and ran into trouble when Robin Lopez proved incapable of defending against quality NBA talent like Andrew Bynum and /or Pau Gasol. That left Gortat on the floor for a full 42 minutes as Coach Alvin Gentry tried to stem the bleeding by putting Lopez on the bench after just six minutes of playing time.

See ya'    
 

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 12 February 2012

There are few times in every fan's life when they just have to shake their head and wonder how the 'Powers That Be' could have gotten things just so wrong. Often it comes when we are holding the funky side of the stick - especially if you are a Phoneix Suns fan. Yes - alas - we have lived hapless lives for far toolong dear friends.

But yesterday all Suns fandom to live as if we have it made in the shade.Cool

What do we mean? Well just look at the point spread we were offered going into the Sacramento Kings game. As those of us tending the fields here at www.sunsstufft.com noted in a post for all readers to see - the Suns were showing as 2.5-point underdogs to Sacramento before they took to the hardwood.

A truly senseless bit of oddsmaking that left some cash on the ol'money tree and ripe for the picking. Money mouth

Sure conventional wisdom said the Kings deserved a little nidge for playing on their homecourt and their top player - DeMarcus Cousins - deserves some respect. But that that still left the Kings far short of the royal performance their name suggests and a brief loom at the Suns 98 - 84 victory shows what we mean. 

While DeMarcus stunned Phoenix with the shear force of his performance - 26 points and 9 boards - the rest of the Kings hit only 19 of 59 from the field as the Suns played defense with a flair that included 7 steals and 11 blocks. The Kings Tyreke Evans felt the full brunt of that onslaught as he knocked down just one of his nine shots. 

Yes - the much talked about Tyreke Evans - was held to 11% from the field. 

On the Suns side of the ledger it was a night to be proud of as four players hit for double digit scoring (Jared Dudley - 20pts, Markief Morris - 18 pts, Channing Frye - 17 pts, and Marcin Gortat - 15 pts). Steve Nash also had fun dishing for 15 assists in just 29 minutes of play. 

The impressive win puts Phoenix in the hunt for the Number 10 spot in the highly competitive Western Conference. So get some beauty sleep and prepare for Monday night's game against a Golden State team that beat the Houston Rockets earlier tonight. 

See ya'   

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 11 February 2012

With the Phoenix Suns building credibility by winning three of their last four games - it truly is hard to believe that Phoenix is being touted as 2.5-point underdogs against a struggling Sacramento Kings team that has little to brag about during this 2011-12 season. And - if it weren't for the Kings playing on their home court tonight - the story might be different. 

Frankly the Suns have an offense that is primed to put in a high scoring performance against a Kings defense that gives up an average of 100.2 points per game all season. You see - with the occasional exception of DeMarcus Cousins on a good night - there is no real NBA-level defensive activity taking place when the Kings have their backs to the hoop.   

That makes them much worse than the Suns unimpressive D-unit and opens up a world of possibilities.Surprised

Imagine - Steve Nash furthering his team record number of assists as Marcin Gortat shows why more voters should have cast ballots for him to join the ranks of the Western Conference All-Stars when they take to the court in two weeks.

So - while we wouldn't recommend betting the ranch - it is time to throw a few bucks across the cage window and make a profit on this one. Money mouth

See ya'   

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 11 February 2012

In an SEC showdown that gave Big Orange and opportunity to shine brighter than at any point in the season, the Tennessee Vols dominated Florida on the Gators homecourt and nailed down a 75 - 70 upset that ran completely counter to what the Vegas/ Reno oddsmakers were expecting. The 5-point Vols win on the scoreboard at the end of 40 minutes of play did not reflect the utter control that Rennessee exercised after initially falling behind 0 - 2 in the opening seconds of play. 

The opening betting line had the Gators as 11.5-point favs but the sharpies who put their money on the line for a living pushed those odds even further in favor of Florida as cash poured in on the Gators side and the spread became a full 12.5 points. 

Little did they know - Tennessee was going to clean up big time. Money mouth

Along with an amazingly staunch defense that kept Florida out of the game until it was too late - Tennessee's offense proved that the boys in the Big Orange have game. Jeronne Maymon's double/ double once again cemented his role as a team leader. 

With nightfall spreading on Saturday it seems clear that Tennessee is going to make their way up the SEC standings. It might not become a full blown run for the title conference title - but it sure is looking brighter in Knoxville.

See ya'   

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 08 February 2012

Point spreads can be ugly devils that rise up and bite you in the butt when least expected. However, in tonight's hardwood showdown between the Tennesse Volunteers and the South Carolina Gamecocks we're recommending that readers of www.sunsstufft.com throw caution to the wind and go bigtime with the hometown favorite down in Knoxville. 

Tennessee's Big Orange has won 3 of their last 5 games and both those two losses have come against Top 25 teams (Vanderbilt and Kentucky). Clearly South Carolina isn't of that caliber. Coach Cuonzo Martin also deserves kudos for getting the Vols to look sharp in their showdown against a scrappy Georgia Bulldogs team that was outgunned 73 -62.

Tonight the Vols have the added advantage of playing this game at home - a court where they have gone 10 - 3 so far this season. Another reason for a big bet on this one - South Caolins has lost each of their last three games.

So just get up off that comfy couch and throw the jeep into fifth gear so you can place a good sized (legal) bet on this one. Money mouth

See ya'   

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 08 February 2012

Yes - we know this site is supposed to be all about basketball but Valentine's Day is less than a week away and many dear readers here at www.sunsstufft.com are facing pressure to put down a wad of cash on one of those humongous candy collections in time for Tuesday's hugfest. We also know that totally ignoring V-Day is not a very productive way to endear ourselves to sweethearts of all shapes and sizes.

So this evening we're trying a delicate blend of b-ball and the softer spirit of the season for your reading pleasure. Innocent

No -  we don't want to know the details of your love life - but we are urging every Suns fan to say a few kind words to your neighbors as part of a simple campaign of appreciation for Phoenix's own. In short - if you can buy chocolates for your intimate squeeze - you should be able to do your part to mark the improvement of the Phoenix Suns during our current 3-game winning streak. 

Those victories against a trio of Eastern Conference teams (Charlotte, Atlanta and Milwaukee) have come with the Suns averaging slightly more than 100 points per game - a  number that is much better than their season average of 93.4 ppg. That kind of uptick in scoring suggests the struggling Suns can put together the pieces that will propel them to a .500-plus season and we love it.  

So if you see one of the Suns starting players during your travels - or even the lurking visage of Robin Lopez - don't forget to blow them a kiss, wish them a Happy Valentine's Day and let them know you appreciate their growing success.  

See ya'   

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 05 February 2012

Overcoming a peculiar habit of underperforming when they're not on national TV - the Tennessee Volunteers garnered a big time SEC win against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. The nice win gave Tennessee Volunteers stalwarts another opportunity to cash-in at the expense of those Vegas/Reno oddsmakers as the Vols 73 - 62 victory came with an 11-point margin that was comfortably above their status as 7.5-point favs on the betting line. 

Tennessee started out behind the visiting Bulldogs as Georgia knocked down two early three pointers and took a 6 - 0 lead. That was before freshman phenom Jarnell Stokes and senior Cameron Tatum scored a couple of buckets for Big Orange. The scoring festival continued for much of the first half as the two teams hit dueling shots from beyond the arc with the score board lighting-up like an old-fashioned pinball machine. The first half continued to go Georgia's way as the first seven minutes of play saw the Bulldogs hit four 3-point shots and they went on to take a startling 27 - 19 lead with just 4:55 left in the first half.

But that was the low point for Big Orange and - by the time the half was over - the Vols were showing their stuff with a 30 -28 lead. The second half saw Tennessee stumble as Georgia take a 39 - 32 lead with 16:22 left to play. But the Vols picked up the pace during the last 14-and-a-half minutes of play as they finally kicked their offense into high gear and blew past a Georgia Bulldog squad that was outgunned down the stretch.

As the dust settled the tale of the tape was revealed as the box score for Tennessee's Big Orange showed some scoring prowess as they hit 60% from 2-point range. But the real difference maker was Tennessee's success at the foul line as they knocked down an incredible total of 28 points from the charity stripe. 

Talk about making them pay.Money mouth

So - for those of us who are true Tennessee fans - chalk up a nice homecourt win and brace yourselves for a Feb. 8th showdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks as Big Orange seeks a win that propel the Vols up the SEC conference play ladder. 

See ya'
         

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 04 February 2012

In what is shaping-up to be a hardwood battle of the SEC's two best middling programs, the Tennessee Volunteers will take to the floor against the Georgia Bulldogs this evening. The 8:oopm tip-off time means the Vols won't be in the national spotlight and that's a real downer because Big Orange has a history of performing better when they are being seen worldwide on ESPN or ESPN2.

That said we are confident that tonight will be an excellent opportunity for Tennessee to prove that they are poised to be an SEC leader down the stretch of the 2011-2012 season. 

That means taking the 7.5 points being offered at Circus Circus in downtown Reno - the friendliest people in the business.Money mouth

We here at www.sunsstufft.com like that bet much better than anything being offered in tonight's NBA showdown pitting the Phoenix Suns against the Charlotte Bobcats.

See ya'

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 30 January 2012

This evening the Phoenix Suns may be on home court but nonetheless they are walking into a proverbial angry lion's den as they take on a Dallas Mavericks team that is still seething from their near loss on Sunday to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Mavs barely survived in OT at home to grab a 101 - 100 victory from the jaws of defeat and expect them to be more than a little angry at how that game almost got away from them despite being played in Dallas.

Adding to the oncourt frustration Dallas will bring to tonight's hardwood contest is the lack of scoring from a visibly hobbled Dirk Nowitzki who hit for just 10 points while playing a full 38 minutes. That's well off the big German's normal scoring pace and resulted from his subpar 5 of 14 from the field.

Going up against a wounded Dirk and an otherwise tired Dallas team we're looking for the Suns - who have shown an unusually high degree of uneven play this season - to make a real game of it. Yep - they may even shine up that Western Conference trophy in waiting by taking this one from Dallas and bringing some pride back to the ol' US Airways Center in Phoenix. 

OK - we are getting carried away with the trophy thing - but you get the point. Money mouth

The biggest Suns pitfall - Steve Nash appears very unlikely to take the court due to a contusion he suffered after a collision with Marc Gasol during the Suns narrow 86 - 84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Instead our hopes are largely pinned on Marcin Gortat and an incredible streak of double-doubles that have set a career best mark for the Polish import. 

While we are enthusiastic about Phoenix's chances - this is clearly not a high priority bet. Instead we may just be incurable optimists. But at least those of us here at www.sunsstufft.com will have an opportunity to see how the Suns offense works without our Canadian legend - the Great Mr.Steve Nash in the line-up.

See ya' 


     

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