#16 Tennessee Vols vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 | 5:00pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: SEC Network
Knoxville, TN – With a chance to at least claim a share of the SEC Championship, 16th-ranked Tennessee wraps up the regular season against Georgia in Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday. The game tips at 5:00pm CT and will be televised live on SEC Network and streamed online via WatchESPN.
The Volunteers (22-7, 12-5 SEC) can claim a share of the regular-season championship with a win, but if Auburn loses to South Carolina and UT wins, Tennessee would pass the Tigers for the top spot in the SEC and would be the outright champion after being picked to finish 13th in the preseason. The Vols sealed their top-2 finish on Tuesday with a dominating win at Mississippi State behind 24 points from Admiral Schofield. The junior forward is averaging 21.7 ppg and 7.3 rpg during UT’s three-game winning streak.
Although a sold-out crowd will certainly benefit the team, Tennessee doesn’t have an easy matchup on Saturday. In the first meeting between the Vols and Bulldogs just two weeks ago, UT came up short in a 73-62 game.
After UGA started second half on 10-2 run, Tennessee fought back to make it a two-point game with 7:57 left. That would be as close as the Volunteers would get, as the Bulldogs used an 8-2 run to make it a 59-51 game with less than five minutes to play.
Georgia (16-13, 7-10 SEC) lost two of its last three, including a 61-60 setback on Wednesday against Texas A&M during senior night. SEC Player of the Year candidate Yante Maten leads the Bulldogs in scoring (19.4 ppg), rebounding (8.8 rpg) and blocked shots (43), while ranking second in assists (46) and steals (13). In the first meeting, Maten finished with 19 points to lead all scorers.
After Saturday’s showdown, UT will prepare for the SEC Tournament. With a double bye clinched, the Vols won’t play until Friday. Depending on the results Saturday, UT will be one of the top-two seeds for the tournament.
- Overall: UT leads, 93-61
- In Knoxville: UT leads, 56-16
- In Athens: UGA leads, 39-33
- Neutral Sites: UGA leads, 6-4
- Current Streak: UGA has won five straight
- Last Meeting: UGA won, 73-62, in Athens, 2/17/18
- Rick Barnes vs. Georgia: 1-6
- Rick Barnes vs. Mark Fox: Fox leads, 5-0
Tennessee is tied with Auburn atop the SEC standings. Auburn hosts South Carolina Saturday at 2:30pm CT.
The Vols are rated No. 9 in the NCAA’s RPI. Georgia is No. 80.
SEC Co-Player of the Week Admiral Schofield is averaging 21.7 points and 7.3 over UT’s last three games.
KenPom.com rates Tennessee’s strength-of-schedule fourth nationally.
Tennessee ranks ninth nationally in average home attendance, having drawn 15,779 fans through 14 home games at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee’s last three opponents have combined to shoot 11-of-67 from 3-point range (.164).
A Win Would
Give the Vols at least a share of the regular-season SEC Championship; it would be their first since 2008.
Snap Georgia’s five-game win streak in this series.
Give Tennessee at least 22 victories for just the 10th time in program history.
Ensure that Tennessee will finish the season with a single-digit loss total (last happened in 2009-10; nine losses).
About the Georgia Bulldogs
Mark Fox and the Bulldogs (16-13, 7-10 SEC) currently sit at No. 80 in the NCAA’s RPI ratings.
In its non-conference slate, Georgia picked up wins over Georgia Tech, Marquette, Saint Mary’s and Temple. In SEC play, UGA boasts wins over Alabama and a season sweep over Florida.
SEC Player of the Year candidate Yante Maten leads the Bulldogs in scoring (19.4 ppg), rebounding (8.8 rpg) and blocked shots (43), while ranking second in assists (46) and steals (13). The senior forward is the SEC’s active career scoring leader, rebounder and shot-blocker.
Entering Saturday’s matchup, the Bulldogs have lost two of their last three, including a 61-60 loss on Wednesday against Texas A&M. Maten finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds on his senior night, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with four double-digit scorers for the Aggies.
Last Meeting With Georgia
Despite a double-double from Kyle Alexander, No. 18 Tennessee fell on the road to Georgia, 73-62, at Stegeman Coliseum on February 17th, 2018.
Alexander finished the game with 10 points and a career-high-tying 13 rebounds, marking the second double-double of his career. He was joined by Jordan Bowden (13), Admiral Schofield (11) and Lamonté Turner (14) as the Vols’ double-digit scorers.
After UGA started second half on 10-2 run, Tennessee fought back to make it a two-point game with 7:57 left. That would be as close as UT could get, as the Bulldogs used an 8-2 run to make it a 59-51 game with less than five minutes to play.
After a pair of missed free throws by the Bulldogs with 1:20 left in the game, Turner drained a three to make it a two-possession game at 63-58 with 1:11 remaining, but Tennessee was unable to complete the comeback.
SEC Player of the Year candidate Yante Maten fueled UGA on both ends of the floor, posting 19 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes of action. Derek Ogbeide dominated the paint, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
After starting the game shooting 5-of-20 from the field, Tennessee ended the half with the hot hand, knocking down six of its final nine shots in the frame to draw within one possession, 28-26, heading into the break.
Tennessee used a 14-7 run to end the half while holding the Bulldogs without a field goal in the final 2:48 of play. Schofield led the team in scoring during the period with six points, while Maten posted 11 points to pace Georgia.
Memorable Vol Performances Against Georgia
Austin “Red” Robbins had what may have been the best performance in UT history at the time with 35 points and 20 rebounds on February 7th, 1966, as UT routed Georgia 100-71 at old Armory-Fieldhouse in Knoxville.
Bernard King made 18 field goals at Georgia on February 1st, 1975. King had 42 points and 18 rebounds in that 105-69 Vol victory.
The 12,666 paying customers who packed UT’s Stokely Athletics Center on February 10th, 1979, got their money’s worth, as Ellenwood, GA, native Reggie Johnson totaled 36 points and 13 rebounds, playing every minute of a three-overtime thriller as UT topped Georgia 87-81. Terry Crosby also played all 55 minutes, adding 21 points.
Future NBA Lottery Pick Marcus Haislip paced the Vols with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Vincent Yarbrough added 17 points as UT outscored the 16th-ranked Dawgs 11-3 in overtime to take a 71-63 win in Knoxville on March 2nd, 2002.
Mears Owned The Dawgs
Legendary Tennessee head coach Ray Mears was at his best against Georgia. Mears was 25-4 vs. UGA during his tenure on The Hill (1962-78).
Oliver Coached At UGA
Third-year UT assistant coach Desmond Oliver was an assistant coach at UGA under Dennis Felton from 2004-09.
Oliver was on UGA’s staff during one of the most memorable conference tourney runs in recent history when Georgia won two games on the same day to capture the 2008 SEC Tournament championship.
Tennessee Was Picked 13th In SEC
Tennessee was predicted to finish 13th in the 2018 SEC race by an SEC and national media voting panel. The Volunteers also were picked 13th last season before posting an 8-10 SEC record to finish ninth.
The Vols have outperformed their preseason SEC projection every season under head coach Rick Barnes.
Tennessee Title Talk
A Tennessee win Saturday would give the Vols at least a share of the regular-season SEC Championship. And a UT win coupled with an Auburn loss (the Tigers host South Carolina Saturday), would give the Vols the outright league championship.
From 1933-50 the SEC Champion was determined by a tournament, except for 1935. Since 1951, when the round-robin schedule was introduced, the title has been decided by a winning percentage on the conference schedule.
Tennessee SEC Championships via the conference tournament in 1936, 1941, 1943 and 1979. The Big Orange won the league via intra-conference win percentage in 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 2000 and 2008.
UT’s only outright SEC Championships came in 1967 and 2008. Only Kentucky (48) and LSU (10) have more total SEC regular-season titles than Tennessee (9).
Barnes Seeking Fourth Conference Championship
Rick Barnes is in contention to capture his fourth regular-season conference crown as a head coach. Barnes previously led Texas to Big 12 titles in 1999, 2006 (co-champs) and 2008 (co-champs).
He also has one conference tournament title to his credit, having led Providence to the Big East Tournament championship in 1994.