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HomeSports#19 Tennessee Vols Basketball faces rival Vanderbilt at Thompson-Boling Arena, Saturday

#19 Tennessee Vols Basketball faces rival Vanderbilt at Thompson-Boling Arena, Saturday

#19 Tennessee (17-6 | 8-3 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt (13-10 | 5-6 SEC)
Saturday, February 12th, 2022 | 5:00pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: SEC Network

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The 19th-ranked Tennessee basketball team is back inside Thompson-Boling Arena to take on in-state rival Vanderbilt on Saturday at 5:00pm CT.

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. Kevin Fitzgerald (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (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 137 on Sirius, channel 190 on SiriusXM, and channel 961 on the SiriusXM app.
 
Tennessee (17-6, 8-3 SEC) picked up its sixth consecutive SEC win Wednesday night with a 72-63 victory on the road at Mississippi State. Kennedy Chandler and Josiah-Jordan James led Tennessee with 18 points apiece. Chandler was 8-for-13 from the field, while James was 7-for-12, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Santiago Vescovi and SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate Zakai Zeigler also scored in double figures for the Vols with 11 points each.
 
Saturday marks the second regular-season meeting between Tennessee and Vanderbilt this season. The Vols defeated the Commodores in Nashville on Jan. 18, 68-60. Since 2018, Rick Barnes and his staff have guided the Volunteers to a 16-5 record in regular-season rematch games (SEC Tournament games not included).

#BeTheGift Challenge

While the Volunteers and Commodores will be battling it out once again on the court, off the court they are joining together to save lives by challenging their fans to register as organ donors. Saturday’s game marks the official launch of the 2022 #BeTheGift Challenge – an effort by Vol Network partner Tennessee Donor Services to register 115,000 new organ and tissue donors throughout the state of Tennessee by the end of the year.

In 2018, UT Associate Athletics Director for Communications Tom Satkowiak received a life-saving liver transplant, with the surgery performed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
 
Both teams will be wearing special “Be the Gift” shooting shirts Saturday, and numerous donor families and organ recipients will be in attendance in support of the #BeTheGift Challenge.
 
More than 3,000 Tennesseans currently need a lifesaving transplant. Studies have shown that between 95 and 98 percent of Americans support organ and tissue donation; however, only 43 percent of Tennesseans are registered as organ and tissue donors.

The Series

Tennessee leads its all-time series with Vanderbilt, 127-75, dating to 1922.

Tennessee has won 11 of the last 12 meetings in this series, including each of the last nine overall and four straight at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Just 181 miles separate UT’s Thompson-Boling Arena and Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium.

During the Barnes era, Tennessee has held Vanderbilt to an average of 67.2 points per game (941 points in 14 games).


In Rick Barnes‘ first season as the head coach at Clemson (1994-95), his Tigers faced North Carolina—led by first-team All-American Jerry Stackhouse—three times. Stackhouse and the Tar Heels won all three meetings on their way to the Final Four.

For a recap of UT’s 68-60 win in Nashville last month, see “last meeting” note below.
The Vols are riding an eight-game win streak against in-state opponents.

Layup Lines-Team

For the third time during the Barnes era, Tennessee is riding a streak of at least six straight wins over SEC opponents.

Tennessee stands at No. 10 in the NCAA’s latest NET ratings. Each of UT’s six losses is Quad 1.

Tennessee ranks fifth nationally in average home attendance (17,182) and is riding a 13-game win streak at Thompson-Boling Arena.

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

Tennessee averages an SEC-best 16.0 assists per game during league play (176 assists on 271 FGs).

The Vols also are making a league-best 9.09 3-pointers per game in SEC play.

The Vols rank among the Division I top 20 in steals per game (10.1, eighth), turnover margin (+4.7, 10th), assists per game (17.0, 13th), and turnovers forced per game (17.3, 16th).

Layup Lines-Players

Junior Josiah-Jordan James has 52 points over UT’s last three games (17.3 ppg). That is the highest points total in a three-game span during his career.

John Fulkerson on Wednesday broke the SEC record for career games played. His 153 appearances are the most by any player in league history.

All-SEC candidate Santiago Vescovi has increased his team-leading 13.8 ppg overall scoring average to 15.3 ppg in SEC play. His 3.55 3-point makes per game during SEC play lead the league.
 
Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and Bob Cousy Award candidate Kennedy Chandler’s 2.45 steals per game rank seventh in Division I and first nationally among true freshmen.
Chandler has scored (296) or assisted (267) on 33 percent of Tennessee’s total points this season (563 of 1,712).
 
Over Tennessee’s last three games, reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Zakai Zeigler is averaging 14.3 points and 3.3 steals while shooting .538 from 3-point range (7 of 13).
Zeigler’s .914 free-throw percentage during SEC play leads the league.

About the Vanderbilt Commodores

Vanderbilt (13-10, 5-6 SEC) enters Saturday’s matchup on a two-game win streak, having defeated both LSU and Missouri at home in the past week.

With seven conference games left to play, Vanderbilt’s five SEC wins this season are its most conference victories in a season since 2017-18.

Vanderbilt has posted two Quadrant 3 losses this season (Temple, South Carolina), but also has three Quadrant 1 wins (vs. BYU, at Arkansas, LSU).

The Commodores are 4-4 on the road this season, including 2-3 in SEC play. Vanderbilt has recorded wins at Arkansas and Georgia in league play.

Preseason SEC Player of the Year Scotty Pippen Jr. is second in the conference with an 18.7 ppg scoring average this season. In Vanderbilt’s 11 conference games, Pippen Jr. is averaging 19.5 points. The junior has 11 games with 20 or more points this season, including three performances of 30 or more points.

Pippen Jr. has also been very effective at getting to the free-throw line this season. He ranks fifth in Division I and leads the SEC with 167 free-throw attempts. He also leads all SEC players with 120 made free throws.

Junior forward Jordan Wright is Vanderbilt’s leading rebounder (6.3 rpg) and second-leading scorer (12.3 ppg). Wright has five double-doubles this season.

Graduate transfer Rodney Chatman has played in nine games this season after transferring from Dayton. Vanderbilt is 7-2 in games he has played and 6-8 when he is inactive.


Chatman had a game-high 24 points in Vanderbilt’s upset win over LSU last Saturday.

On the defensive end, Vanderbilt has forced 15 or more turnovers in 11 games this season.

Tennessee’s Last Meeting With Vanderbilt

The 24th-ranked Tennessee basketball team held off in-state foe Vanderbilt on January 18th, 2022, at Memorial Gymnasium, securing its sixth straight road win over the Commodores with a 68-60 victory.

Santiago Vescovi led Tennessee (12-5, 3-3 SEC) in scoring with 14 points, also grabbing six rebounds. Uros Plavsic, who was inserted into the starting lineup for the third time this season, scored a season-high 13 points and had seven rebounds in a season-high 21 minutes.

Kennedy Chandler filled the stat sheet with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, five steals, and a block. Zakai Zeigler scored 11 points all at the free-throw line, going 11-for-12 at the charity stripe. Zeigler also had four steals.

Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr., the preseason SEC player of the year, led the Commodores (10-7, 2-3) with 18 points, but was held to just 3-for-10 shooting.

After Tennessee took an eight-point lead on a Plavsic hook shot in the paint with 3:41 remaining, Vanderbilt answered with an 8-0 run, capped by back-to-back threes from Trey Thomas and Pippen Jr. to tie the game at 60 with 1:22 remaining.

The Vols answered on the ensuing trip down the court, as Plavsic put back a missed Zeigler three to put Tennessee in front, 62-60. Zeigler then stole the ball on Vanderbilt’s inbounds pass, was fouled, and then knocked down two free throws.

Capped by Vescovi and Zeigler both hitting pairs of free throws in the final 36 seconds of game time, the Vols finished the game on an 8-0 run of their own to seal the win.

For the first 32:19 of game time, neither team led the game by more than four points.
 
Plavsic finally pushed Tennessee’s lead to five points with an and-one layup with 7:41 remaining, giving the Vols a 50-45 advantage. Tennessee steadily pulled ahead from that point until Plavsic’s hook shot that put the Vols ahead by eight and then led to Vanderbilt’s 8-0 run.
 
Like the majority of the second half, the first half was a back-and-forth affair. Tennessee took a 33-32 lead into the halftime break.

UT Vols Successful On The In-State Circuit

Tennessee has won its last eight games against in-state opponents and is 24-5 vs. in-state foes under coach Rick Barnes.

Those 24 wins Vanderbilt (11x), Tennessee Tech (4x), East Tennessee (3x), Lipscomb (twice), Chattanooga, Memphis, Tennessee State, and UT Martin.

Second Time’s A Charm

Since 2018, Rick Barnes and his staff have guided the Volunteers to a 16-5 record in regular-season rematch games (SEC Tournament games not included).

Epiphany In Austin?

Despite suffering a one-point loss at Texas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on January 29th, Tennessee closed the game by completely erasing a 16-point deficit in four minutes and nine seconds. That furious, late-game rally seems to have sparked an offensive awakening for the Vols.

In Tennessee’s three games since its trip to Austin, the Vols’ scoring average jumped to 81.0 points thanks to the team shooting .475 from the field, .458 from 3-point range, and .840 at the free-throw line.

The Vols also are averaging an impressive 18.0 assists over those last three games while boasting a +14.3 ppg scoring margin.

Five different Vols are averaging 10 or more points during this three-game win streak.


Aidoo Emerges

As the Vols account for the loss of injured forward Olivier Nkamhoua, true freshman Jonas Aidoo emerged to log a season-high 12+ minutes during Wednesday’s win at Mississippi State.

The 6-11 forward scored two points and grabbed four rebounds (three offensive boards).
Prior to Wednesday, Aidoo had logged just 14 total minutes in six appearances this season.
Aidoo boasts more than 432,700 followers and more than 8.8 million likes on TikTok.

Next Up For UT Vols Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team returns to Thompson-Boling Arena for a second consecutive home game, facing Kentucky on Tuesday. Tip-off is set for 8:00pm CT on ESPN.

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