Hoops Central: #3 Tennessee vs. #14 Longwood
Tennessee’s No. 3 basketball team begins Thursday’s NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis, taking on No. 14 seed Longwood in the South Region frame at 2:45 p.m. ET inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse .
Fans can watch Thursday’s game on CBS and online or on any mobile device through the CBS Sports app. Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analysis) and Jamie Erdahl (journalist) will have the call.
Fans can also tune in live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp calling the action.
On Sunday, Tennessee (26-7) captured its first SEC tournament championship since 1979 with a 65-50 win over Texas A&M. Santiago Vescovi led Tennessee on Sunday with 17 points on four 3-pointers. Josiah Jordan James contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds for his third career double-double, while Kennedy Chandler had 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
super senior John Fulkerson scored eight points and had a career-high 12 rebounds.
For his performances in Tennessee’s victories over Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Texas A&M, Chandler was named SEC Tournament MVP, while James and Vescovi received All SEC Tournament honors. Chandler averaged 14.7 points and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 50% from 3-point range (6-for-12) and posting a 5.0 assist-to-turnover ratio during tournament.
In total, Tennessee trailed just 68 seconds in its three SEC tournament games en route to the conference title.
Tennessee’s inclusion in this year’s NCAA tournament marks the fourth straight NCAA tournament the Vols have hosted. Tennessee has never faced Longwood (26-6)—winner of this year’s Big South Conference tournament.
With a win on Thursday, Tennessee would advance to face the winner of sixth-seeded Colorado State (25-5) and No. 11-seeded Michigan (17-14) on Saturday. The time and TV network for Saturday will be determined after Thursday’s games.
• Founded in 1839, Longwood University is a public college located in Farmville, Virginia. With a roster of 4,800, the Lancers are members of the Big South Conference.
• Tennessee has never faced Longwood before, but the Vols are 28-0 against the current members of the Big South Conference.
• Rick Barnes also never faced Longwood as a head coach, but he too is undefeated against Big South teams (23-0).
• Longwood is riding the fifth-longest active winning streak in the nation—eight games.
• The Vols and the Lancers have two common opponents this season. Tennessee has won home games against Presbyterian and USC Upstate. Longwood was also perfect against those intraconference foes, beating Presbyterian once and USC Upstate twice.
• Tennessee are riding a seven-game winning streak and have won 12 of their last 13 games.
• The Volunteers won their first SEC Tournament championship since 1979 last weekend in Tampa.
• Real Freshman Kennedy Chandler was named SEC Tournament MVP.
• The Vols have played an NCAA-best 18 Quad 1 games (tied) this season, winning 11. Only Kansas has more Quad 1 wins (12).
• Tennessee ranked 7th in the NCAA Draft NET Rankings. Each of the seven UT losses is Quad 1.
• According to KenPom, the Vols rank third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing just 86.2 points per 100 possessions.
• Tennessee’s defense of 66.4 points per game in SEC play was the best in the league. The Vols have held 10 of their last 12 opponents to within 65 points.
• The Vols are 7-7 against a field of 68 players this year. See page 3 for more information.
• Tennessee has never faced Colorado State. The Vols are 12-3 all-time against the current members of the Mountain West Conference.
• Rick Barnes is 3-1 as a head coach against Mountain West opposition, with no meetings against the Rams.
• Tennessee’s historic series with Michigan is tied, 5-5. This includes two NCAA Tournament matchups, both won by the Wolverines (2011 and 2014). The 2014 reunion was held in the Sweet Sixteen at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.
• Barnes has only faced Michigan once as head coach, as his Texas side lost to the Wolverines in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee.
• Barnes is 30-31 against the current members of the Big Ten.
• Tennessee is 7-8 in NCAA Tournament second-round play.
• Barnes is 9-6 in the second round.
TENNESSEE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• The Vols make their 24th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Big Orange owns a 22-24 (.478) NCAA Tournament record.
• The Vols are 1-0 in the first four, 13-7 in first-round games, 7-8 in second-round games, 1-0 in third round, 1-7 in regional semi-finals , 0-1 in the regional finals and 0-1 in the now-defunct regional consolation round.
• This is the program’s fourth-place finish in the NCAA under the seventh-year head coach Rick Barnes.
• Tennessee’s 24 NCAA tournament berths are tied with LSU for fourth among SEC teams.
• Since 2010, among SEC programs, only Kentucky (31) and Florida (19) have won more NCAA Tournament games than Tennessee (10).
FLIGHTS against LE CHAMP DE 68
• Prior to the tournament, the Vols played 14 games against 10 different teams comprising the field of 68, going 7-7 in those contests.
• Wins have come against Arizona (1), Auburn (2), Kentucky (2), Arkansas (4), LSU (6) and North Carolina (8).
• The average winning margin in those seven wins was 9.1 points.
HISTORY OF UT HOOPS IN INDIANA
• Tennessee’s first college basketball appearance at Indiana State came on December 20, 1958, when the fifth-ranked Vols suffered an 81-66 loss to Butler at Butler Fieldhouse (now Hinkle Fieldhouse). ).
• The Vols are 3-9 all-time in Indiana: 1-5 in Indianapolis, 2-3 in Evansville and 0-1 in West Lafayette.
• Tennessee has played in six NCAA Tournament games at Indiana, going 2-4 (1-3 at Indy).
• In the 1982 NCAA Tournament, Tennessee beat Southwest Louisiana (the Ragin’ Cajuns) before losing to Virginia at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Then, in the 1983 NCAA Tournament, Tennessee defeated Marquette before falling to Louisville at Roberts Municipal Stadium in Evansville. In the 2014 Sweet Sixteen, UT gave up a 73-71 game against Michigan at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy. Lucas Oil’s attendance of 41,072 is the largest crowd ever for a Tennessee basketball game. And most recently, the Vols fell to Oregon State in a first-round game last year at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indy.
• Rick BarnesIndiana’s previous NCAA Tournament head coaching experience dates back to 2005 – when its eighth-seeded Texas Longhorns fell to ninth-seeded Nevada at the RCA Dome in Indy – and in Oregon State’s first-round game last year.
TENNESSEE LIKE NO. 3 SEEDS
• Tennessee is competing as the No. 3 seed for only the second time in program history.
• Tennessee went 1-1 as the No. 3 seed in 2018. The Vols beat Wright State before falling to Loyola Chicago at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
FLIGHTS IN THE SOUTH REGION
• This is the fifth time that UT has competed in the Southern Region (2000, 2007, 2018 and 2019).
• The Vols have reached the Sweet Sixteen in three of those NCAA tournaments, competing as the No. 4 seed in 2000, No. 2 seed in 2007 and No. 2 seed in 2019.
BARNES’ NCAA AWESOME SUMMARY
• Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes guided four different programs for a total of 26 places in The Big Dance. He led Providence and Clemson to three spots apiece before guiding Texas to 16 tournament appearances in 17 years. This is his fourth appearance with the Vols.
• In 2018, Barnes became the 13th head coach to lead four different programs at the NCAA Division I Tournament.
• Barnes led his teams to seven Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and one Final Four in 2003.
• In the 112-year history of the Tennessee Hardwoods, the Volunteers have made just 24 NCAA Tournament appearances (two less than Barnes).
• From 1995 to 2016, every player Barnes coached for four years made at least three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
• What are the chances that both Tennessee and Longwood feature players from Helsinki, Finland? Curiously, Junior Volunteers Olivier Nkamhoua (injured) and Lancers sophomore Jesper Granlund are both from the Finnish capital.
• The Longwood (Big South) conference freshman is the son of Tennessee’s freshman assistant coach Justin Gainey. Jordan Gainey had 16 and 13 points in USC Upstate’s two losses to Longwood this season.
TRIO HONORED BY SEC COACHES
• Three Flights earned SEC playoff honors from the league’s head coaches, announced March 8.
• Junior guard Santiago Vescovi earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team, while freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler was a second-team selection.
• For the second straight season, two Vols landed on the SEC All-Freshman team, as Chandler and Zakai Zeigler made the team of eight men.
• Zeigler was also selected to the SEC Five-Man All-Defensive Team, becoming the fourth Flight to win the honour.
WHOLE TOURNAMENT CHEERS
• Three Vols were named to the five-man SEC Tournament All-Tournament team in Tampa, Florida.
• True freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler was named tournament MVP after averaging 14.7 points and 5.0 assists with a 5.0 assist-to-rotation ratio.
• Junior wings Josiah Jordan James (14.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Santiago Vescovi (12.0 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.0 spg) also received all-tournament acclaim.