Tennessee basketball point guard Jordan Bone ‘ready to accept the challenge’

DALLAS — Tennessee basketball’s X-Factor player for Saturday’s game isn’t trying to hide from the fact.

Jordan Bone, an explosive sophomore point guard in Nashville, knows the No. 3-seed Vols will likely need him at his best against No. 11-seed Loyola Chicago.

“Yeah, they are a guard-heavy team, and they are really good,” Bone said in the Tennessee locker room session on Friday. “I’m ready to accept the challenge, and everyone on our roster is ready to to well.”

The Vols (26-8) will need to value their possessions against the Missouri Valley Conference champion Ramblers (29-5), as Saturday’s NCAA Tournament game at American Airlines Center figures to be of the low-scoring variety.

“They’re very skilled, very composed, it’s like they have been here before,” Bone said. “They handle the ball well, and they don’t turn it over much.”

The scouting report calls for Tennessee to keep the Ramblers out of the lane, as their guards and forwards have the ability to penetrate and “drive-draw-dish” when they aren’t running the offensive through the high post.

Bone has started at point guard for the Vols all season, but he doesn’t always finish.

Coach Rick Barnes determines the best guard rotation during the course of games, and sometimes that means Lamonte Turner and James Daniel lll getting to finish.

RELATED: Tennessee basketball coach identifies 2 X-Factor Vols at NCAA tourney

Inconsistency, Barnes says, is Bone’s biggest issue.

“Jordan Bone, he’s talented, but he’s got to be able to affect the game when he’s not shooting the ball well,” Barnes said Wednesday in Dallas. “Whether it’s with his defense, moving the ball, passing the ball.”

Jordan Bone’s last five games

Wright State 3/15/18 … 4 points, 0 assist

Kentucky 3/11/18 … 12 points, 4 assists

Arkansas 3/10/18 … 19 points, 4 assists

Mississippi St. 3/9/18… 5 points, 3 assists

Georgia 3/3/18 … 6 points, 0 assists

It was Turner, the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year, who led the Vols with 19 points and a career-high 9 assists in UT’s NCAA tournament-opening 73-47 win over Wright State.

Bone had just 4 points with no assist and 1 turnover in the 19 minutes he played on Thursday.

Tennessee’s team chemistry is such that the players root for one another.

But at the same time, Bone knows he needs to increase his production, like he did in the SEC Tournament when he had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting against Arkansas.

RELATED: Tennessee basketball dominates Arkansas, Jordan Bone shines

“Being the guy I was against Arkansas takes a level of toughness of concentration,” Bone said. “That’s the guy they want me to be all the time.

“I’m excited they know I have the “it” to do it, it’s just a matter of me doing it and taking the toughness to another level.”

RELATED: Tennessee’s Rick Barnes wants more consistency from Jordan Bone

Tennessee basketball stories from Dallas

VIDEO: Tennessee basketball arrives with chip on shoulder: ‘Don’t pick us’

Tennessee basketball: ‘We want to win the national championship’

Tennessee ‘in the Sweet 16’ according to coach who faced 3/4 of Vols weekend bracket

Admiral Schofield’s hilarious locker room interview with teammates

Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes: ‘What team is going to show up here?’

Cinderella Loyola coming for Tennessee basketball: ‘We’re not done yet’

Tennessee SEC Network analyst Dane Bradshaw breaks down key Loyola Chicago players

  Tennessee basketball path to the Final Four clearing 

Vols post Kyle Alexander details hip, foot injuries

Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes: ‘You better be locked in’

Vols recap of Tennessee basketball dominant win over Wright State 

3 things from Tennessee basketball blowout victory over Wright State 

Is Tennessee basketball more ready for the big stage than they were in St. Louis?

WATCH: 5 things from 6 Tennessee basketball players in open locker room

Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes identifies 2 X-factor players for Vols

The post Tennessee basketball point guard Jordan Bone ‘ready to accept the challenge’ appeared first on SEC Country.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.