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HomeSports#18 Tennessee Vols Basketball faces Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena, Wednesday

#18 Tennessee Vols Basketball faces Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena, Wednesday

#18 Tennessee (13-5 | 4-3 SEC) vs. Florida (12-6 | 3-3 SEC)
Wednesday, January 26th, 2022 | 5:00pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: ESPN2

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The 18th-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team plays its second consecutive home game Wednesday, hosting Florida at 5:00pm CT.
 
Fans can catch Wednesday’s game on ESPN2 and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (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 136 on Sirius, channel 190 on SiriusXM and channel 961 on the SiriusXM app.
 
Tennessee (13-5, 4-3 SEC) is coming off of a 2-0 week, capped off by a home win over No. 13 LSU on Saturday, 64-50. Santiago Vescovi led the Vols with 16 points, including five made 3-pointers. Vescovi also tallied a team-high-tying six rebounds and five assists. Making his second straight start, Uros Plavsic had 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and six rebounds.
 
In what was a matchup of two of the nation’s top-five teams in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency, Tennessee held LSU to a season-low 50 points.
 
Wednesday marks the only scheduled meeting of the season between Tennessee and Florida after the teams met three times last season. Tennessee has won six of its last seven games against the Gators.

The Series

Tennessee leads the all-time series with Florida, 79-58, dating to 1927.

The Vols hold a 49-16 edge when the series is contested in Knoxville.

The Volunteers have won six of their last seven games against Florida. Over those seven games, neither team has reached 80 points.

Tennessee AD Danny White is the younger brother of Florida head coach Mike White. See more below.

Florida center Jason Jitoboh is a 2019 graduate of Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga. Tennessee big man Uroš Plavši? also is a Hamilton Heights graduate (2018).

UF associate head coach Al Pinkins was an assistant coach at Tennessee during the 2014-15 season. Pinkins also was a college teammate of current Vols assistant coach Justin Gainey at NC State when Gainey was a freshman in 1996-97.

Layup Lines – Team

Tennessee stands at No. 11 in the NCAA’s latest NET ratings. Each of UT’s five losses are Quad 1.

Tennessee ranks fifth nationally in average home attendance (16,789).


In 2017-18, Tennessee owned a 13-5 (4-3) record seven games into SEC play. The Vols went on to post a 13-5 league finish en route to the SEC Championship.

The Vols are unbeaten at home this season and are riding an 11-game win streak at Thompson-Boling Arena, dating to last year.

During Saturday’s win over LSU, the Vols became the first team this season to shoot better than 33 percent from 3-point range against the Tigers (10-28, .357).

According to KenPom, the Vols rank fifth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 87.8 points per 100 possessions.

The Vols rank among the Division I top 20 in turnover margin (+5.3, 8th), steals per game (10.1, 10th) and assists per game (16.9, 18th).

Layup Lines – Players

Santiago Vescovi has increased his team-leading 14.1 ppg scoring average to 15.4 ppg in SEC play.

Vescovi’s 3.43 3-point makes per game during SEC play lead the league. His .429 3-point percentage during SEC play ranks second in the league behind only Matthew Murrell of Ole Miss (.515).

Kennedy Chandler’s 2.29 steals per game rank second among all Division I true freshmen.

And his 4.9 assists per game rank third among true freshmen nationally.

Chandler’s 2.83 steals per game during SEC play rank tied for second in the league.

Chandler has scored or assisted on 32 percent of Tennessee’s total points this season (429 of 1,340).


In three SEC starts this season, Uroš Plavši? is averaging 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds on 11-for-17 (.647) shooting.

The SEC record for career games played is 152, held by Kentucky’s Darius Miller (2008-12). John Fulkerson is closing in, having now appeared in a Tennessee-record 148 career games.

About the Florida Gators

Wednesday’s game in Knoxville marks Florida’s third game in a five-day span. The Gators (12-6, 3-3 SEC) defeated Vanderbilt at home on Saturday and then are set to play back-to-back road games at Ole Miss on Monday and at Tennessee Wednesday.

Monday’s matchup between Florida and Ole Miss was originally scheduled for December 29th and postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

Florida began conference play by dropping its first three SEC games against Alabama, Auburn, and LSU, but has rebounded with three straight wins over South Carolina, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

Entering its pair of road games against Ole Miss and Tennessee this week, Florida has played just three true road games, posting a 1-2 record.

Florida has played its last two games without preseason First Team All-SEC selection Colin Castleton, who prior to injury was nearly averaging a double-double with a 15.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game average. Castleton has been Florida’s leading scorer eight times and leading rebounder 13 times this season.

Castleton was averaging 17.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.5 blocked shots, and shooting .610 from the field through four SEC games before suffering a shoulder injury in practice on January 18th that has kept him out since.
 
In Castleton’s absence, Florida’s starting frontcourt duo of Anthony Duruji and Jason Jitoboh is averaging a combined 22.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game on 15-for-23 (.652) shooting.

Tennessee’s Last Meeting With Florida

Tennessee used a balanced offensive effort and a single-game, school-record nine blocks from senior Yves Pons to push past Florida, 78-66, on March 12, 2021, at the SEC Tournament in Nashville.

The Vols were led by a stat-sheet-stuffing performance from back-to-back SEC All-Defensive Teamer Pons, who tallied 11 points, eight rebounds, and nine blocks. His nine blocks not only set a Tennessee single-game record but also tied the SEC Tournament record (shared with Kentucky’s Andre Riddick, 1993).

Pons also finished the game with a team-high plus/minus rating of +15.

Santiago Vescovi led UT in scoring with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting while dishing out five assists.

Josiah-Jordan James totaled 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists with no turnovers.

SEC All-Freshman teamer Keon Johnson also scored in double-figures, logging 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Johnson added nine rebounds and six assists on the afternoon.

Fellow SEC All-Freshman honoree Jaden Springer scored 13 second-half points to help push the Vols through the game’s waning moments.

In the opening 10 minutes of the game, the Tennessee defense held the Gators to a 4-of-18 mark from the field to take an early 20-10 lead.

Tennessee withstood a late Florida run to hold a 31-22 edge at the halftime break.
The Vols held off an explosive second half from Florida’s Tre Mann, who had a game-high 30 points.

Memorable Vol Performances Against Gators

Bernard King recorded the third-best scoring performance in school history with a 43-point, 20-rebound effort as the Vols topped UF, 93-84, on January 17th, 1976, in Stokely Athletics Center.

During the 1983-84 season, Willie Burton averaged 16.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and shot .500 (17-of-34) from the floor against the Gators. UT was 3-0 vs. Florida that season.


Dane Bradshaw’s breakaway layup with 20.1 seconds to play proved to be the winning basket as the Vols upset second-ranked Florida, 80-76, in Knoxville on January 21st, 2006.

The Vols upset fifth-ranked Florida, 86-76, on Senior Day in Knoxville behind Chris Lofton’s 21 points on February 27th, 2007. ESPN College GameDay broadcast live from Rocky Top, Peyton Manning addressed the Vols in the locker room before the game, and Pat Summitt donned cheerleader garb and led the sold-out crowd in a rendition of Rocky Top during a media timeout.

White Family Connection Adds New Twist To Series

Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White is the younger brother of Florida head basketball coach Mike White.

As Tennessee was playing at Florida last season on the night of January 19th, 2021, Danny White was in the midst of discussions with UT Chancellor Donde Plowman about the Tennessee AD job. Two days later, on January 21st, it was announced that White had been named Tennessee’s new AD.

M. White Faced Vols As A Rebel

During his playing career at Ole Miss from 1995-99, Florida coach Mike White went 1-3 against UT.

White played in all four games, averaging 5.0 points and 1.5 rebounds while shooting .357 from the field and .625 from 3-point range (5-8).

The Rebels’ lone win over the Vols during that span came during White’s sophomore season (1996-97), and his most productive scoring game vs. UT came when he was a freshman (eight points).

Fulkerson Reaches 1,000-Point Milestone

With eight points during Tennessee’s home win over 13th-ranked LSU on January 22nd, super-senior forward John Fulkerson eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone.

Fulkerson’s 999th and 1,000th points came at the free-throw line, making him the 53rd all-time member of UT’s 1,000-Point Club.


Next Up For UT Vols Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team is set to take part in the 2022 edition of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, making the trip to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm CT on ESPN.

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