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HomeSportsTennessee Vols Basketball plays Florida in SEC Tournament Quarterfinals, Friday

Tennessee Vols Basketball plays Florida in SEC Tournament Quarterfinals, Friday

Tennessee (17-7) vs. Florida (14-8)

SEC Tournament Quarterfinals
Friday, March 12th, 2021 | ~2:30pm ET / ~1:30pm CT
Nashville, TN | Bridgestone Arena | TV: ESPN

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsNashville, TN – The Tennessee men’s basketball team opens its run through the 2021 SEC Tournament with a Friday afternoon quarterfinal matchup with fifth-seeded Florida. Tipoff from Bridgestone Arena is set for approximately 1:30pm CT ESPN.

Fans can see Friday’s game on ESPN and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN on the ESPN App. WatchESPN can also be accessed online at espn.com/watch. Karl Ravech and Jimmy Dykes will have the call.

Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertlekamp describing the action.

Tennessee Men's Basketball faces Florida in SEC Tournament quarterfinals action, Friday. (UT Athletics)
Tennessee Men’s Basketball faces Florida in SEC Tournament quarterfinals action, Friday. (UT Athletics)

Last time out, Tennessee downed this same Florida team, 65-54, on the backs of 14-point outputs from senior John Fulkerson, junior Victor Bailey Jr. and freshman Keon Johnson.

A win on Friday would advance Tennessee to at least the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament for the third consecutive tournament, excluding the canceled 2020 edition.

Up next, the Vols will advance to the semifinals with a victory to take on either top-seeded Alabama or ninth-seeded Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff for that potential contest is slated for 12:00pm CT on ESPN.

The Series

Tennessee leads the all-time series with Florida, 78-58, dating to 1927.

The Vols own a 4-4 all-time SEC Tournament record vs. Florida.

UT has won five of its last six games vs. Florida. Over those six games, neither team has reached 80 points.

The Vols and Gators have met only once in Nashville, with Tennessee logging an 80-74 overtime win in the 1984 SEC Tournament.

A Win Would

Make the Vols 10-8 in SEC Tournament games played at Bridgestone Arena.

Advance Tennessee to at least the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament for the third straight time (excluding the canceled tournament in 2020).

Give the Vols a 6-4 record in SEC Tournament games under head coach Rick Barnes.

Layup Lines

Tennessee has advanced to the championship game in each of the last two (fully contested) SEC Tournaments.

The Volunteers last won the SEC Tournament in 1979.

 


 

The Volunteers are 17-9 all-time at Bridgestone Arena, including a 9-8 mark in SEC Tournament games.

Friday’s game will be Tennessee’s second in 13 days.

The freshman duo of Johnson and Springer have accounted for 42.8 percent of Tennessee’s scoring over the last eight games.

During SEC play, Tennessee led the league in turnover margin (+2.6) and assist/turnover ratio (1.1) from start to finish.

Defense Wins

According to KenPom, the Vols rank fourth in the NCAA in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 87.5 points per 100 possessions. College teams typically average close to 70 possessions per game.

Tennessee ranks 21st in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 62.7 points per game.

Only once this season has a Tennessee opponent scored 80 or more points. That was Georgia, in a game the Vols won, 89-81, on February 10th.

The Vols are forcing 15.7 turnovers per game and converting those turnovers into 17.2 points per game.

Tennessee has forced 18 of 24 opponents to turn the ball over on 20 percent or more of their possessions. The Vols are forcing opponents to turn it over 22.9 percent of the time this season.

Yves Pons has at least one block in each of UT’s last seven games. Since the start of last season, he has 109 blocks in 54 games.

 


SEC Tournament History

Tennessee is 69-55 (.556) in 61 all-time previous SEC Tournament appearances.

The Vols own the third-best SEC Tournament winning percentage among league schools, trailing only Kentucky (.838) and Alabama (.558).

Since the tournament was renewed in 1979, the Vols are 34-40 (.459).

Tennessee has won the SEC Tournament four times, tying Florida for third-most among league schools. The Vols won the event in 1936, 1941, 1943, and 1979.

UT has reached the title game 12 times (third-most among league schools), most recently back-to-back in 2018 (St. Louis) and 2019 (Nashville).

Tennessee has been the No. 4 seed three times previously (1980, 1990, 2014).

This is the 12th time Nashville has hosted the SEC Tournament. UT is 13-10 in the tournament when it takes place in “The Music City.”

Tennessee’s SEC Tournament record at Bridgestone Arena is 9-8.

Barnes In League Tournaments

Rick Barnes is 37-31 (.544) in conference tournament games as a head coach. That includes a 6-4 record with Tennessee.

He led Providence to the Big East Tournament championship in 1994.

Barnes guided Tennessee to the SEC Tournament championship game in 2018 and 2019.

 


Memorable Vol Performances In SEC Tournament

Wayne Chism scored 23, JaJuan Smith added 19 and Tyler Smith put in 13, but it was Chris Lofton’s 25-footer with 12.0 seconds remaining that lifted the Vols to an 89-87 win over South Carolina in the 2008 SEC Tournament in Atlanta on March 14th, 2008.

Carlus Groves went 9-for-10 from the floor, scoring 22 points, to lift Tennessee to an 87-70 upset win over No. 18 Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the 1991 SEC Tournament in Nashville.

It took Tony White 45 minutes to put 30 on Florida, including five points in overtime, as the Vols beat the Gators, 80-74, in the first round of the 1984 SEC Tournament in Nashville.

Tennessee topped Kentucky, the third time UT beat the Wildcats that year, in the championship game of the 1979 SEC Tournament in Birmingham, AL. The Vols prevailed 75-69 in overtime on March 3rd, 1979.

Klenck Playing Major Role On SEC Medical Task Force

Tennessee team physician Dr. Chris Klenck (pronounced: CLENK) has arguably been the entire athletic department’s MVP over the past calendar year.

Klenck has served as Tennessee Athletics’ primary team physician since 2006, and when the SEC formed its Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force last year, Klenck was quickly tabbed as UT’s representative.

Tennessee Associate AD for Sports Medicine Jason McVeigh: “He has been at steady advocate for doing everything right for the student-athlete… He has really been our ultimate answer.”

Klenck is accompanying the Vols throughout the duration of their postseason run.

Trio Honored By SEC Coaches

Three Vols garnered SEC postseason honors from the league’s head coaches, announced March 9th.

True freshmen Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson—the team’s top-two scorers in SEC play—both earned spots on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

And for the second year in a row, senior Yves Pons was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team.

Pons joins current Dallas Mavericks starter Josh Richardson as the only Vols ever to earn multiple SEC All-Defensive Team honors. Richardson did so in 2014 and 2015.

Winners In March

Under sixth-year head coach Rick Barnes, Tennessee is 15-11 (.577) during the month of March. That includes an 11-6 record spanning 2019, 2020 and 2021.

For his career, Barnes is 104-78 (.571) in March.

Pick Your Poison

Tennessee is the only team in the SEC with three players who have scored 27 or more points in a game this season—Jaden Springer (30), Victor Bailey Jr. (29) and Keon Johnson (27).

During SEC play, only 5.3 points per game separated Tennessee’s top seven scorers (12.7 ppg-7.4 ppg).

Seven different Vols have led the team in scoring this season.

No Vol ranked among the SEC’s top-20 scorers.

 


SEC Win/Loss Comparison

Several statistical differences stand out in a comparison of Tennessee’s SEC wins vs. its losses.
 

Wins Statistic Losses
75.6 Points Per Game 59.7
+12.4 Scoring Margin -11.1
.479 FG Percentage .354
17.4 Turnovers Forced Per Game 12.7
2.5 John Fulkerson Assist/TO Ratio 0.47
.418 Victor Bailey Jr. 3FG% .286
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