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HomeSports#9 Tennessee Vols Basketball battles Texas A&M for SEC Tournament Title

#9 Tennessee Vols Basketball battles Texas A&M for SEC Tournament Title

#9 Tennessee (25-7) vs. Texas A&M (23-11)
Sunday, March 13th, 2022 | 12:00pm CT
Tampa, FL | Amalie Arena | TV: ESPN

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The ninth-ranked and No. 2 seed Tennessee men’s basketball team competes for an SEC Tournament title Sunday, taking on No. 8 seed Texas A&M at 12:00pm CT.
 
Fans can catch Sunday’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. Karl Ravech (play-by-play), Jimmy Dykes (analysis), and Marty Smith (reporter) 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. A national radio broadcast is also available on channel 134 on Sirius, channel 190 SiriusXM and channel 961 on the SiriusXM app.
 
On Saturday, Tennessee (25-7) claimed its second win of the SEC Tournament and second win over rival Kentucky this season, 69-62. Second-team All-SEC selection Kennedy Chandler scored a team-high 19 points for the Volunteers on 8-for-16 shooting. Zakai Zeigler had 11 points, while Josiah-Jordan James added 10.
 
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield scored eight points on 4-for-7 shooting in 22 minutes. Uros Plavsic had six points on 3-for-4 shooting and a team-high eight rebounds.
 
Texas A&M (23-11) defeated No. 4 seed Arkansas in its semifinal game on Saturday, 82-64.
 
Saturday marks the second meeting of the season between Tennessee and Texas A&M. The Vols defeated the Aggies on February 1st in Knoxville, 90-80.
 
Following the SEC Tournament, Tennessee will await Selection Sunday to learn its seeding and matchup for the NCAA Tournament. The 2022 NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air on Sunday at 5:00pm CT on CBS.

Bracket Breakdown

Tennessee leads its series with Texas A&M, 10-6, dating to 1951. The Aggies joined the SEC for the 2012-13 season. The programs have never met in the SEC Tournament.
Tennessee won this season’s lone meeting, 90-80, in Knoxville.

Vol Network color analyst Bert Bertelkamp was a junior guard on the last UT squad to win the SEC Tournament (1979).

The Vols have now reached the title game both times the SEC Tournament has been played in Tampa (2009 and 2022).

Layup Lines

Tennessee is making its 13th all-time appearance in the SEC Tournament championship game.

Saturday’s win over Kentucky was UT’s 10th Quad 1 victory.

Tennessee stands at No. 8 in the NCAA’s latest NET ratings. Each of UT’s seven losses are Quad 1.

The Vols have faced 12 AP Top 25 opponents so far this season and own wins over the teams ranked Nos. 2, 4, and 5 in this week’s poll.
 
According to KenPom, the Vols rank third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 86.6 points per 100 possessions.
 
Tennessee’s scoring defense of 66.4 ppg in SEC play was the best in the league. The Vols have held nine of their last 11 SEC opponents to fewer than 65 points.
 
Tennessee also led the SEC in assists per game during conference play (14.9 apg). The Vols are averaging 16.0 assists at this week’s SEC Tournament.
 
Through Tennessee’s two SEC Tournament games, All-SEC point guard Kennedy Chandler leads the team in scoring with 15.0 points per game and owns a 2.67 assist/turnover ratio in a team-high 61 total minutes.

Josiah-Jordan James is shooting 60 percent from 3-point range (6 for 10) during this SEC Tournament while averaging 13.0 points per game.

All-SEC first-teamer Santiago Vescovi was the league’s top 3-point shooter during SEC play, hitting at a .445 clip.

Chandler’s 2.16 steals per game rank 17th in Division I and second nationally among true freshmen.

During SEC play, SEC All-Freshman teamers Chandler (2.24 spg) and Zakai Zeigler (2.22 spg) ranked second and third, respectively, in steals per game.

Super senior John Fulkerson has now seen action in eight career wins over rival Kentucky.

SEC Tournament History

Tennessee is 72-56 (.563) in 60 all-time SEC Tournament appearances.

The Vols own the third-best SEC Tournament winning percentage among league schools, trailing only Kentucky (.832) and Alabama (.565).

Since the tournament was renewed in 1979, the Vols are 37-41 (.474).

Tennessee has won the SEC Tournament four times, tying Florida for third-most among league schools. The Vols won the event in 1936, 1941, 1943, and 1979.

UT has now reached the title game 13 times (third-most among league schools), most recently back-to-back in 2018 (St. Louis) and 2019 (Nashville).

Tennessee has been the No. 2 seed four times previously (1979, 1982, 2012 and 2018).


This is the second time Tampa has hosted the SEC Tournament (same venue as this year).

As the East No. 1 seed in Tampa in 2009, Tennessee defeated Alabama and Auburn to advance to the championship game, where it fell to Mississippi State, 64-61.

Tennessee’s SEC Tournament record in Tampa is 4-1, and the Vols own a 4-2 SEC Tournament record in the state of Florida (0-1 in Orlando in 1990).

Last Meeting With Texas A&M

Shooting 57 percent in the second half and boasting five players who scored in double figures, the No. 22 Tennessee men’s basketball team defeated Texas A&M, 90-80, on February 1st, 2022, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee was in rhythm all night shooting the basketball, making 29-of-57 (.509) from the floor and 11-of-26 (.423) from 3-point range. The second half was especially successful, as the Volunteers were 15-of-26 (.577) from the field, sinking 4-of-8 on 3-pointers.

The offense was marked by balance, as five Vols scored in double figures. Kennedy Chandler led the Vols in scoring with 16 points. He also dished out seven assists and had three steals. Olivier Nkamhoua tallied 15 points and swatted away three shots, while Josiah-Jordan James and Zakai Zeigler each posted 14 points. Santiago Vescovi finished with 13 points while shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.

James’ had an all-around big night as his 15 points were the most he has scored this season. He grabbed eight rebounds, leading the team in boards for the seventh time this season and 20th time in his career. James picked up five steals, tying a career-high, and setting a career-best in an SEC game. He also sank a season-high five free throws
The Vols never trailed in the contest and scored 90 points in a conference game for the first time in an SEC game this season.

Texas A&M (15-7, 4-5 SEC) was led by freshman Wade Taylor IV, who scored 19 points.
 
The Volunteer offense was in a groove right from the tip, scoring its most points first-half points in an SEC game this season with 43. James came out firing, draining eight of Tennessee’s first 12 points. Nkamhoua led a balanced offensive attack with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor, he also pulled down four rebounds in the frame. Chandler was a force distributing the ball, dishing out five assists in the first 20 minutes.
 
Tennessee had to fend off a speedy Aggies comeback, as the visitors shot 10-of-18 from the floor in the first 14 minutes of the second half. The Big Orange halted the Texas A&M momentum in a big way, going on a 12-0 run, courtesy of a pair of treys from Justin Powell and two steals that Tennessee turned into four points. The Vols never looked back, holding A&M at an arm’s length for the remainder of the game.

If It Weren’t For Tennessee, Texas Would Be “North Mexico”

There can be no doubt Texas owes a great debt of gratitude for its statehood to the fierce men from Tennessee.

Before the Alamo fell, 33 Tennesseans, the largest number of defenders provided by any state—nearly four times as many as from Texas—kept Mexican General Santa Anna’s overwhelming army at bay for 13 days against unbelievable odds.

On March 6th, 1836, the brave Tennessee Volunteers and the other Alamo defenders were overrun and breathed their last.

However, the crucial days the Volunteers slowed down the Mexican army gave another Tennessean, Sam Houston, enough time to gallop through Texas raising an army to defend what would become the Lone Star State. This army defeated Santa Anna in no small part because of the contributions of Tennessee’s Volunteers.

Barnes Very Familiar With A&M

As a head coach, Rick Barnes has faced Texas A&M 39 times, compiling a 30-9 (.769) record.

His Texas teams went 23-7 vs. the Aggies from 1999-2015, and he also led Clemson to a 2-0 record against A&M in the mid-90s.

The only teams Barnes has faced more than the Aggies are Oklahoma (41 meetings) and Oklahoma State (40).

Barnes once interviewed Aggies head coach Buzz Williams for an assistant coach position during Barnes’ tenure as the head coach at Texas.


Texas Foes Have Beaten Vols

This year’s Vols dropped a neutral-site contest to Texas Tech, 57-52, on December 7th in New York City. And more recently, Tennessee fell at Texas, 52-51, in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on January 29th in Austin.

Contextualizing Tennessee’s Success vs. Kentucky Under Barnes

95-2015—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 10-7 vs. Kentucky over just seven seasons, with a 9-5 record against ranked UK teams.

For five of UT’s Barnes-era wins over the Wildcats, Kentucky was ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25.

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