#13 Tennessee (6-2) vs. UNC Greensboro (7-2)
Saturday, December 11th, 2021 | 3:30pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: SEC Network
Knoxville, TN – The 13th-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team returns home Saturday, December 11th taking on UNC Greensboro at 3:30pm CT at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Fans can catch Saturday’s game on SEC Network and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Roy Philpott (play-by-play) and Mark Wise (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 135 on Sirius, channel 191 on SiriusXM and channel 962 on the SiriusXM app.
Tuesday marks the third all-time meeting between Tennessee and UNC Greensboro and the first during the Rick Barnes era.
Tennessee won both of its previous meetings with UNC Greensboro. The Vols scored 92 points in each game (1998 and 2011), which both took place at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee’s margin of victory in this brief, two-game series is 30.5 points.
The Vols own a 96-17 all-time record against current members of the Southern Conference.
North Carolina native Rick Barnes has faced UNC Greensboro only once during his 35-year head coaching career. In just his second game as a head coach, Barnes guided his 1987-88 George Mason squad to a 107-79 home win over the Spartans on December 3rd, 1987. He has since coached 1,120 more games leading into this matchup.
Barnes owns a 22-1 career head coaching record against current members of the Southern Conference.
Layup Lines – Team
Tennessee leads the nation in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. The Vols are allowing only 87.2 points per 100 possessions.
The Vols are leading the SEC in both assists per game (17.8 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.58).
46 percent of Tennessee’s points this season have been scored by first-year Vols (282 of 613).
The Vols are attempting 8.1 more 3-pointers per game than they did last season (28.0 per game compared to 19.9). In wins, UT is shooting .395 from long range. In losses, that average drops to .164.
Tennessee owns a +28.3 scoring margin at home this season (87.5 ppg to 59.2 ppg). The Vols have yet to score less than 80 points at Thompson-Boling Arena this year.
Layup Lines – Players
After missing three games with a left-hand injury, Josiah-Jordan James has averaged 6.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks off the bench over UT’s last two games.
Sophomore guard Justin Powell is shooting .786 from 3-point range at home this season (11-of-14).
Saturday will be John Fulkerson’s 140th career game as a Vol. He ranks second on Tennessee’s all-time games played list and is on the verge of passing school-record-holder Wayne Chism (142, 2006-10).
Santiago Vescovi made 18 total 2-point field goals in 27 games last season. He already has made 17 2-point field goals through eight games this year—many of them layups.
About the UNC Greensboro Spartans
UNC Greensboro enters Saturday’s contest against Tennessee coming off of an 11-day break between games. The Spartans last played on November 30th—a 74-61 win over Elon.
Saturday’s game is UNC Greensboro’s first and only game of the season against a major conference opponent. The Spartans last played a high major team in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, falling to No. 4 seed Florida State in the first round, 64-54.
Over the course of the past five seasons, UNC Greensboro is the SoCon’s winningest program with 132 total wins since the start of the 2016-17 season. Entering the 2021-22 season, UNCG has won at least 20 games in five straight seasons.
A transfer from Cal State-Bakersfield, graduate guard De’Monte Buckingham leads the Spartans in scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg). Buckingham has scored in double figures six times this season and 65 times during his career. He has also scored 20 or more points three times this season and 12 times in his career.
In five homes games this season, UNC Greensboro is allowing 54.8 points per game. In four games away from home, the Spartans are allowing 73.8 points per contest.
UNCG was picked sixth in the SoCon Preseason Coaches Poll.
Tennessee’s Last Meeting With UNC Greensboro
Tennessee opened the Cuonzo Martin era with an impressive 92-63 triumph over UNC Greensboro on November 11th, 2011, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
A crowd of 17,483 saw the Vols shoot .646 from the field and .625 (15 of 24) from 3-point range. UT never trailed and held a 49-30 lead at the half.
Point guard Trae Golden started his sophomore season in style, setting career-highs for points (29), rebounds (6), assists (9), field goals made and attempted (10-14) and 3-pointers made and attempted (5-9) in just 27 minutes of action. The performance earned him SEC Player of the Week honors.
Golden did not miss a 2-point field-goal attempt (5-5), he shot 4-of-5 at the free-throw line and he also recorded two steals and a blocked shot.
Jeronne Maymon and Jordan McRae also set career-highs for scoring, totaling 15 and 14 points, respectively, while senior forward Renaldo Woolridge tied a career-high with eight rebounds and also tallied 11 points.
McRae was 4-of-5 from 3-point range after shooting 1-for-9 from beyond the arc the previous entire season.
Junior guard Skylar McBee drained both of his 3-point attempts to finish with six points off the bench.
Tennessee finished with 21 assists on 31 made field goals.
Guard Korey Van Dussen had 12 points to lead three Spartans who scored in double figures.
KC & Santi A Dangerous Duo
Chandler and/or Vescovi have led or shared the team lead in scoring in five of UT’s eight games.
In games at Thompson-Boling Arena, the pair averages 29.8 points per game and boasts a 2.77 assist/turnover ratio.
And in Tennessee’s wins, the duo’s scoring average jumps to 31.7 points and they shoot .424 from 3-point range.
JoJo Crashing The Boards
In Tennessee’s final game last season, Josiah-Jordan James pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.
He’s carried that same crash-the-glass mentality into this season, as he leads the Vols with 6.8 rebounds per game.
James has been UT’s leading rebounder 14 times during his career on Rocky Top.
Zeigler Won’t Back Down
True freshman guard Zakai Zeigler has proven to be a rock-solid addition to this Tennessee roster. He exploded for a team-high 18 points in the Vols’ win over North Carolina.
Zeigler ranks sixth on the team in scoring (7.0 ppg), third in total assists (20) and fourth in steals 1.1 spg) while logging 17.9 minutes off the bench.
Among Vols who average five or more minutes per game, Zeigler owns the best plus/minus rating per 40 minutes at +23.9.
Zeigler also owns a 1.8 assist/turnover ratio.
Next Up For Tennessee Vols Basketball
The Tennessee men’s basketball team is back at Thompson-Boling Arena for another home game, taking on USC Upstate at 6:00pm CT on Tuesday. The game will be televised on SEC Network+.