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Tennessee Vols Basketball faces Alabama in SEC Tournament Semifinals

 

Tennessee (18-7) vs. Alabama (22-6)

SEC Tournament Semifinals
Saturday, March 13th, 2021 | noon CT / 1:00pm ET
Nashville, TN | Bridgestone Arena | TV: ESPN

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsNashville, TN – The Tennessee basketball team returns to action for a semifinal date with top-seeded Alabama on Saturday afternoon with a trip to the SEC Championship on the line. Tipoff from Bridgestone Arena is slated for 12:00pm CT on ESPN.

Fans can catch Saturday’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 Dick Vitale will have the call.

Tennessee Men's Basketball plays Alabama today in SEC Tournament Semifinals. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee Men’s Basketball plays Alabama today in SEC Tournament Semifinals. (UT Athletics)

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

Last time out, Tennessee downed Florida for a second consecutive time on the back of an 11-point, eight-rebound, and school-record nine-block performance from senior Yves Pons. Freshman Josiah-Jordan James added in 10 points, nine rebounds, and six assists with no turnovers.

A win on Saturday would advance Tennessee to its third consecutive SEC Tournament Championship game, excluding the canceled 2020 edition.

The Series

Tennessee trails its all-time series with Alabama, 70-80, dating to 1914.

In SEC Tournament matchups, the Tide own a 10-5 edge on the Vols.

Alabama defeated the Vols, 71-63, in Knoxville on January 2nd. It was UT’s first loss of the season.

In that loss, Jaden Springer played only 5:11 before leaving the game with an ankle injury. And Yves Pons blocked five shots.

A Win Would

Make the Vols 11-8 in SEC Tournament games played at Bridgestone Arena.

Give Tennessee three straight appearances in the SEC Tournament championship game.

Give the UT Vols a 7-4 record in SEC Tournament games under head coach Rick Barnes.

Stand as Tennessee’s eighth Quad 1 victory of the season.

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 18-9 all-time at Bridgestone Arena, including a 10-8 mark in SEC Tournament games.

 


 

The freshman duo of Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer have accounted for 31.0 points per game over Tennessee’s last nine 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 27th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 62.8 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 17.0 points per game.

Tennessee has forced 19 of 25 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 eight games. Since the start of last season, he has 118 blocks in 56 games.

About the Alabama Crimson Tide

The No. 1 seed in this year’s SEC Tournament, Alabama enters Saturday’s matchup with Tennessee coming off an 85-48 win over ninth-seeded Mississippi State in the quarterfinal round. The Crimson Tide is now 22-6 overall and finished the regular season with a 16-2 record in conference play.

Alabama’s regular-season SEC title was its first conference title since 2002. The Crimson Tide finished 2.5 games ahead of second-place Arkansas in the final SEC standings.

Alabama claimed its 16 regular-season SEC wins by an average of 14.4 points per game. The Tide and Vols met on Jan. 2, in Knoxville, and it resulted in a 71-63 win for Alabama.

In addition to its regular-season title, Alabama was well-represented in the SEC coaches postseason honors. Nate Oats was awarded SEC Coach of the Year, while senior Herbert Jones was named SEC Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

As reflected in the SEC awards, Jones has been a do-it-all type of player for the Crimson Tide this season. Jones finished the season ranked second in the SEC in steals (46) and eighth in the conference in assists (85), while averaging 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford, a second-team All-SEC selection, leads the Tide in scoring, averaging 14.4 points per game. Alabama’s first-team All-SEC selection, senior guard John Petty Jr., ranks second on the team with 12.7 points per game.

Until the year 1847, Tuscaloosa was the capital of the state of Alabama.

SEC Tournament History

Tennessee is 70-55 (.560) in 62 all-time SEC Tournament appearances.

The Vols own the third-best SEC Tournament winning percentage among league schools, trailing only Kentucky (.832) and Alabama (.562).

Since the tournament was renewed in 1979, the Vols are 35-40 (.467).

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 14-10 in the tournament when it takes place in “The Music City.”

Tennessee’s SEC Tournament record at Bridgestone Arena is 10-8.

 


Next Up For Tennessee Vols Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team will advance to the SEC Championship game against the winner of Saturday’s second semifinal game. Tipoff on Sunday from Bridgestone Arena is set for 12:00pm CT on ESPN.


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