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HomeSports#16 Tennessee Vols Basketball travels to #23 Arkansas, Saturday

#16 Tennessee Vols Basketball travels to #23 Arkansas, Saturday

#16 Tennessee (10-6 | 10-3 SEC) at #23 Arkansas (20-6 | 8-4 SEC)
Saturday, February 19th, 2022 | 4:00pm ET / 3:00pm CT
Fayetteville, AR | Bud Walton Arena | TV: ESPN

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The 16th-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team hits the road for a ranked showdown, taking on the No. 23 Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday at 3:00pm CT.

Fans can catch Saturday’s game on ESPN and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Dave Neal (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 135 on Sirius, channel 191 on SiriusXM, and channel 962 on the SiriusXM app.
 
Tennessee (19-6, 10-3 SEC) is coming off its eighth consecutive SEC win, defeating No. 4 Kentucky Tuesday night in Knoxville, 76-63. All-SEC candidate Santiago Vescovi led all scorers with 18 points, Kennedy Chandler notched 17, while John Fulkerson and SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate Zakai Zeigler each recorded 14.
 
Defensively, Tennessee held Kentucky to 23-of-67 (.343) shooting from the field, the Wildcats’ lowest field-goal percentage in a game this season. It marked Tennessee’s fifth win over a top-five team during the Rick Barnes era, and the Vols also improved to 9-7 against the Wildcats during the Barnes era.
 
Saturday matchup with No. 23 Arkansas marks Tennessee’s second straight game against a top 25 team. A win on Saturday would mark the first time that Tennessee has defeated a ranked opponent in two straight games since February 2007.

The Series

Tennessee leads its all-time series with Arkansas, 23-21, dating to 1936.

The Volunteers have won four of the last five meetings.

Arkansas holds an 11-4 advantage when the series is contested in Fayetteville and has won each of the last six clashes at Bud Walton Arena. The Vols’ last win at Arkansas came in 2009.

Arkansas is 14-1 at Bud Walton Arena this season.

Incredibly, Saturday’s game marks the first time in the history of this series that both the Vols and the Razorbacks will be ranked in the AP Top 25 at tipoff.

Rick Barnes is 2-1 in head-to-head coaching matchups with Eric Musselman.

John Fulkerson started and had 15 points and five boards in his last trip to Bud Walton Arena in 2020.

A victory Saturday would give the UT Vols a winning record in true road games this season (5-4).


Layup Lines – Team

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

Tennessee stands at No. 9 in the NCAA’s latest NET ratings. Each of UT’s six losses are Quad 1.

Tennessee joins Kentucky and Auburn as the only three SEC teams that have no losses outside Quadrant 1 this season.

According to KenPom, the Vols rank fourth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 87.6 points per 100 possessions.

Tennessee averages an SEC-best 16.1 assists per game during league play (209 assists on 317 FGs).

The Vols rank eighth among all Division I teams in both steals per game (98. spg) and turnover margin (+4.8).

During Tennessee’s current five-game win streak, the Vols own a +13.0 scoring margin.

Tennessee commits an average of 13.6 turnovers on the road in SEC play. Arkansas this season is forcing 18.0 turnovers per game in its home SEC contests.

Layup Lines – Players

During UT’s five-game win streak,  junior Josiah-Jordan James leads the Vols in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg) while shooting .370 from 3-point range and .900 from the foul line.

All-SEC candidate Santiago Vescovi is the league’s top 3-point shooter during SEC play, hitting at a .458 clip from long range

Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and Bob Cousy Award candidate Kennedy Chandler’s 2.33 steals per game rank 12th in Division I and second nationally among true freshmen.
 
During SEC play, Vols freshmen Zakai Zeigler (2.54 spg) and Chandler (2.50 spg) rank first and second, respectively, in steals per game.
 
Zeigler and Chandler have combined for 18 steals over UT’s last three games.
 
Zeigler has scored in double figures in each of UT’s last seven games.

About The Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas (20-6, 9-4 SEC) enters Saturday’s matchup with Tennessee having won 10 of its last 11 games.

After starting SEC play 0-3 with road losses to Mississippi State and Texas A&M and a home loss to Vanderbilt, the Razorbacks rattled off eight consecutive conference wins—capped off by a win over then-No. 1 Auburn.

Arkansas currently sits in fourth place in the SEC standings, just one game behind Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Razorbacks are 14-1 at Bud Walton Arena this season.

Arkansas has posted a 2-4 record during Quadrant I games this season—notching wins at No. 12 LSU on Jan. 15 and at home against No. 1 Auburn on February 8th.

Senior guard JD Notae has paced Arkansas on offense this season, averaging 18.8 points per game—a mark that ranks second in the SEC.

Notae also leads the SEC and ranks eighth in the nation in steals per game, averaging 2.4 per contest.

Razorback forward Jaylin Williams is averaging nearly a double-double with 10.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Williams ranks second in the SEC and 17th in the nation in total rebounds.

Through the games of Feb. 16, Arkansas ranks No. 22 in KenPom.com’s rankings. The Razorbacks rank No. 18 in adjusted defensive efficiency and No. 67 in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Bud Walton Arena opened for the 1993-94 basketball season, and the Razorbacks posted a perfect 16-0 home record that year en route to the national championship under head coach Nolan Richardson.


Tennessee’s Last Meeting With Arkansas

Nine team blocks and an all-around outing from John Fulkerson propelled ninth-ranked Tennessee past Arkansas, 79-74, on January 6th, 2021, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee committed just five turnovers while forcing Arkansas to turn it over 20 times.
Fulkerson stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 16 points, reeling in eight rebounds, blocking three shots, and dishing off three assists.

Yves Pons totaled four blocks in the win and also added six points and three rebounds.
Tennessee guards Victor Bailey Jr. and Josiah-Jordan James led UT in scoring with 17 points each.

James added nine rebounds, three blocks, and a steal, while Bailey added a block and a steal to his stat line.

Freshman wing Keon Johnson made his first career start and scored a season-high 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He also knocked down all six of his attempts from the foul line—all of which came in the contest’s final two minutes.

Arkansas controlled a large majority of the opening half, knocking down 57 percent of its shot attempts to take a 40-33 lead into halftime.

Out of the break, the Vols reeled off a 9-2 run, with Fulkerson scoring seven of those points to knot the score at 42 with just more than 15 minutes remaining.

The next eight minutes were back-and-forth, with the programs trading the lead twice as the Vols took a slim, 61-59 advantage into the night’s final 7:48.

Tennessee used a number of timely defensive stops and 10 consecutive makes from the foul line in the final minutes to seal the five-point victory.

Arkansas guard J.D. Notae scored 14 points in the second half and finished with 19 to pace the Razorbacks.


Memorable Tennessee Performances Against Arkansas

Bristol, Tennessee, native Bobby Hogsett scored eight points and added 10 rebounds as Tennessee won its first-ever game against Arkansas, 77-57, on December 27th, 1963, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

In front of 21,237 orange-clad fans, UT knocked off Nolan Richardson’s fifth-ranked Razorbacks, 83-81, in Knoxville on February 5th, 1992. Lang Wiseman and Allan Houston both scored 26 points.

The Vols upset No. 13 Arkansas in Fayetteville, 101-91, on February 16th, 1993, thanks to a double-double by LaMarcus Golden (22 points, 11 rebounds).

Cleveland, Tennessee, native JaJuan Smith dropped 32 points on the Hogs during a 93-71 win over Arkansas in Knoxville on February 5th, 2008.

Jordan McRae powered Tennessee to an 81-74 win over Arkansas on January 22nd, 2014, exploding for 34 points—including UT’s final 13—at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Contextualizing Tennessee’s Success v.s. Kentucky Under Barnes

From 1995-2015—a period that spanned the tenures of six UT head coaches—Tennessee’s record against Kentucky was a combined 9-33, including a 7-26 mark against ranked UK squads.

The Vols under Rick Barnes are 9-7 vs. Kentucky over just seven seasons, with an 8-5 record against ranked UK teams. For four of UT’s Barnes-era wins over the Wildcats, Kentucky was ranked No. 4 in the AP Top 25.


Setbacks All Quality Losses

Five of the six teams that have beaten Tennessee this season are ranked in this week’s AP Top 25. The sixth (LSU) is among the top unranked vote-getters. Those six teams’ average NET rating = 11.8.

Among the teams that have beaten UT, the worst current NET rating is No. 22 (Alabama).
All six of Tennessee’s setbacks are Quad 1 losses.

Aidoo’s Emergency Emergence

A Feb. 5 injury to starting forward Olivier Nkamhoua created an immediate need for additional frontcourt support, and 6-11 true freshman Jonas Aidoo has answered the call.
Prior to Nkamhoua’s injury, Aidoo had logged just 14 total minutes in six appearances this season.

But in Tuesday’s win over No. 4 Kentucky, Aidoo delivered a breakout performance against the heralded Cats and national player of the year candidate Oscar Tshiebwe. In 18 productive minutes, Aidoo totaled five points, seven rebounds (three offensive), and three blocks. Two of those blocks were on attempts by Tshiebwe.

Aidoo’s plus/minus rating vs. Kentucky was a game-high +18.

Fulkerson Joins Yet Another Statistical Brotherhood

While appearing in his seventh career win against Kentucky (yes, you read that right), John Fulkerson logged his 100th career steal.

With that steal, Fulkerson joined VFLs Wayne Chism (2006-10) and Vincent Yarbrough (1998-2002) as the only Vols in program history to total 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 150 assists, 100 blocks, and 100 steals.


Next Up For UT Men’s Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team plays its second consecutive road game—traveling to Columbia, Missouri, to take on the Missouri Tigers on Tuesday. Tip-off is set for 6:00pm CT on SEC Network.

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