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HomeSports#13 Tennessee Vols Basketball makes hike to Colorado, Saturday

#13 Tennessee Vols Basketball makes hike to Colorado, Saturday

#13/#15 Tennessee (5-1) at Colorado (6-2)
Saturday, December 4th, 2021 | 1:00pm CT / 12:00pm MT
Boulder, CO | CU Events Center | TV: Fox Sports 1

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsBoulder, CO – The 13th-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team heads west for a rare non-conference road game Saturday, taking on Colorado at 1:00pm CT at the CU Events Center.

Fans can catch Tuesday’s game on FOX Sports 1, online at FOXsports.com, or on any mobile device through the FOX Sports app. Jacob Tobey (play-by-play) and Sed Bonner (analysis) will have the call.

Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp calling the action. The broadcast is also available on channel 138 on Sirius, channel 191 on SiriusXM, and channel 962 on the SiriusXM app.

Tennessee hits the road coming off of an 86-44 win over Presbyterian on Tuesday night. Freshman Kennedy Chandler tied the single-game program record for steals with seven during the win, in addition to scoring 15 points and racking up seven assists. Sophomore Justin Powell tied Chandler for the team lead in scoring with 15 points of his own, coming by way of 5-for-5 3-point shooting. Powell became only the ninth player in program history to make five or more threes without a miss in a single game.

Saturday marks the Vols’ first true non-conference road game since January 25th, 2020 at Kansas, and Tennessee is searching for its first win in a non-conference true road game since December 15th, 2018 at Memphis. Under Rick Barnes, Tennessee has only played 11 total non-conference true road games.

Tennessee /Colorado Series History

UT leads its all-time series with Colorado, 3-0, dating to 1980. Prior to last year’s UT season-opener, the programs had not met since 1981.

Last year’s clash came together less than 72 hours before tipoff. See “Last Meeting” note below.

Colorado head coach Tad Boyle was Tennessee’s administrative assistant/director of basketball operations under head coach Jerry Green during the 1997-98 season. That team finished 20-9 and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.

Saturday’s game will be just the second game the Vols have ever played in The Centennial State. Tennessee logged a 64-63 win in Boulder on December 8th, 1981.

To complete this current three-game series contract, Tennessee and Colorado will meet for a neutral-site showdown next season at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

About Tennessee Vols Basketball

The Vols’ 20.2 assists per game rank fourth nationally and lead the SEC. Tennessee also owns the best assist/turnover ratio in the SEC (1.73, ninth nationally).

47 percent of Tennessee’s points this season have been scored by first-year Vols (229 of 492).

UT’s backcourt duo of Kennedy Chandler and Santiago Vescovi is averaging 29.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game while shooting .394 from 3-point range.

Senior Victor Bailey Jr. is coming off a season-high 14-point outing Tuesday. The Pac-12 veteran played his first two seasons at Oregon and has 842 career points.

Vols junior Josiah-Jordan James has been sidelined with a left (shooting) hand injury. He has missed UT’s last three games.

The Vols recorded 42 pass deflections during Tuesday’s win over Presbyterian, including 27 in the second half.

Layup Lines

The Vols are embarking on a six-day, two-game, 3,909-mile road trip that takes them from Rocky Top to Boulder, Colorado, and then to New York City before returning home.

At 5,400 feet above mean sea level, CU Events Center has the fifth-highest elevation among Division I arenas. The venue owns the No. 1 rating in KenPom’s homecourt advantage metric.

Tennessee produced a pair of Colorado pro sports legends in Todd Helton and Peyton Manning.

A Win Would

Push Tennessee’s all-time record against current members of the Pac-12 Conference to 21-12.

Give the Vols their fifth major-conference true road win of the Barnes era (Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Iowa State, Memphis).

About the Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado head coach Tad Boyle is in his 12th season as the Buffaloes head coach. During the 1997-98 season, Boyle served as an assistant at Tennessee on the staff of former Vols’ coach Jerry Green.

Boyle has compiled a 239-145 record as Colorado’s head coach. The Buffaloes have logged 22 wins over ranked opponents during his tenure.

Also on Colorado’s staff is former Mississippi State and Southeast Missouri State head coach Rick Ray. Tennessee compiled a 4-1 record against Ray during his time at Mississippi State.

Of Colorado’s eight games this season, only two have come against major conference teams—a pair of Pac-12 conference games against Stanford and UCLA. The Buffaloes defeated Stanford, 80-76, on Sunday before falling to No. 5 UCLA on Wednesday, 73-61.

The Buffaloes’ other loss came to Southern Illinois on November 19th in the Paradise Jam, 67-63.

Sophomore forward Jabari Walker, who was named to the 2020-21 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team as well as selected as an honorable mention on the 2021-22 preseason All-Pac-12 team, is leading the Buffaloes in scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg) through eight games.

Just behind Walker in scoring is senior forward Evan Battey, a preseason All-Pac-12 team selection who is averaging 13.5 points per game.

Colorado has kept the same starting five in each of its eight games this season—Walker, Battey, senior guard Elijah Parquet, sophomore guard Keeshawn Barthelemy and sophomore forward Tristan da Silva.

Tennessee’s Last Meeting With Colorado

In its first game in 276 days, the 12th-ranked Tennessee basketball team took down Colorado in a tight defensive affair, 56-47, to open the pandemic-affected 2020-21 season on December 8th, 2020.

The game was played on a Tuesday evening, and it came together (out of necessity due to COVID cancellations) on the previous Saturday, less than 72 hours before tipoff.

Tennessee saw a balanced effort across the board, with nine of 10 Vols who saw action getting on the score sheet, while Jeriah Horne led Colorado with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

John Fulkerson and Santiago Vescovi led the Big Orange in scoring with 11 points apiece, while Yves Pons was a beast on the boards, pulling in a team-high 10 rebounds. Vescovi also added a game-high five assists.

Sophomore Josiah-Jordan James had the most balanced game for the Vols, tallying eight points—knocking down all four of his attempts from the charity stripe—six rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Redshirt junior Victor Bailey Jr., who made his debut with Tennessee after sitting out the 2019-20 season as a transfer from Oregon, earned the start and was explosive in the early going, draining his first three shot attempts to score eight first-half points Tennessee’s freshman duo of Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer combined for 10 second-half points and was key to the Vols pulling away late.

The Vols came roaring out of quarantine, opening the night on a 12-2 run through the game’s first four minutes. James and Fulkerson led the way with five and four points, respectively, during that early stretch.

The Buffaloes responded to UT’s initial punch, coming within as few as four points with less than a minute to play in the half. However, Tennessee’s stifling defense and a timely 3-pointer from Vescovi took the Vols into the locker room with a 31-24 lead.

Tennessee’s starting lineup featured five left-handers in Bailey Jr., Fulkerson, James, Pons, and Vescovi.

Bailey Has PAC-12 Experience

Senior Tennessee guard Victor Bailey Jr. spent his first two collegiate seasons in the Pac-12 while attending Oregon.

Bailey played in 73 games in his two years at Oregon, including eight starts, and averaged 7.0 points in 17.9 minutes per game. As a sophomore in 2018-19, he scored in double figures 13 times and dropped a season-high 20 points on UCLA.

Between his time at Oregon and Tennessee, Bailey is 2-1 in three games vs. Colorado. He averages 6.3 points while shooting 35 percent from the field against the Buffs.

KC The Playmaker

In addition to being Tennessee’s second-leading scorer (14.3 ppg), freshman phenom Kennedy Chandler has a team-high 31 assists.

Chandler’s assists have led directly to 75 points this season, and junior guard Santiago Vescovi has benefited the most, as he has 21 points off Chandler dimes.

Chandler’s presence has allowed Vescovi to play off the ball this year, a shift from the last two seasons, during which Vescovi served as the Vols’ primary ball-handler. Vescovi is performing at an All-SEC level in his new role.

Under Rick Barnes, UT Vols Are 76-25 Aa An AP-Ranked Team

Tennessee has played 101 games as a ranked team (AP Poll) under head coach Rick Barnes, and the Vols are 76-25 (.752) in those contests.

Next Up For UT Vols Basketball

Following Saturday’s game, the Tennessee men’s basketball team will head directly to New York City in preparation for the Jimmy V Classic against Texas Tech. Tip-off in Madison Square Garden is set for Tuesday, December 7th at 6:00pm CT.


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