Game 30: Vols Close Out Regular Season Versus Alabama With Outright Division Title Hopes on the Line
|C ||4 Wayne Chism|
|F||1 Tyler Smith|
|G ||30 J.P. Prince|
|G ||32 Scotty Hopson|
|G ||3 Bobby Maze|
|F ||40 Justin Knox |
|F ||32 JaMychal Green |
|G ||21 Senario Hillman |
|G ||12 Alonzo Gee |
|G ||2 Mikhail Torrance |
UT Seeks Third Consecutive Win Over Tide
- Tennessee can claim its fifth outright SEC Eastern Division championship, and its third in four tries
under head coach Bruce Pearl, with a victory over Alabama Sunday. The Vols have won 20 of their last
22 SEC games at Thompson-Boling Arena, including each of the last four.
- With one regular-season game remaining, Tennessee is one victory shy of posting its fourth straight
20-win campaign and its 22nd overall 20-win season.
- In its last outing, Tennessee secured the Eastern Division's No. 1 seed and clinched at least a share of
the division championship with an 86-70 victory at South Carolina Thursday night.
- During UT's current three-game win streak, the Vols' assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.77 (53 to 30).
- Tennessee is shooting .471 from the floor in Southeastern Conference play to rank first in the league.
- In exactly 100 career games as a Vol, junior Wayne Chism has scored in double figures 50 times.
- Scotty Hopson earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for his efforts in Tennessee's wins over
Mississippi State and Florida last week. It was Hopson's second SEC Freshman of the Week award.
- The Vols have swept four of five divisional opponents for the third time since the SEC went to divisional
play (1999, 2006). Tennessee swept Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt this season.
- Tennessee's 46 regular-season SEC wins over the past four seasons are the most among all league teams.
- The UT bench has outscored the opposition's bench 680-405 this season. The Vols' bench has scored
more than the opponents' in 25 games, and has done so by at least 17 points in 10 different games.
- UT's strength of schedule is rated the second-toughest in the nation by RPIratings.com.
- Tennessee's postseason résumé includes seven wins over teams with an NCAA RPI of No. 50 or better.
The Volunteers have played a total of 13 games against top-50 teams in the most recent RPI.
- 2008-09 marks Tennessee's 100th season of varsity basketball. The season-long centennial celebration
included the selection of a Tennessee Basketball All-Century Team, which was honored Feb. 14.
- Tennessee has an all-time record of 1,440-918-2 in
100 seasons of basketball.
- Tennessee's 78.7 points per game rank third the
SEC this year. Bruce Pearl's teams have led their
respective league in scoring in 15 of Pearl's 16 full
seasons as a head coach.
- In all eight of his seasons as a Division I head
coach, Bruce Pearl's teams have won at least 10
games in conference play.
- Bobby Maze (1.9), Tyler Smith (1.7) and J.P.
Prince (1.7) each rank among the top six in the SEC
in assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Tyler Smith (3.6), Bobby Maze (3.2) and J.P.
Prince (3.1) each rank among the top 10 in the SEC
in assists per game.
- Tyler Smith is the only player in the SEC to rank
among the top 20 in the league in scoring (seventh,
17.3 ppg), rebounding (18th, 5.8 rpg) and assists
(seventh, 3.6 apg).
- J.P. Prince has 47 assists in UT's last 10 games. He
is averaging 3.8 apg in SEC play to rank tied for sixth
in the conference.
- Prince also is shooting a stellar .633 (57-of-90)
from the floor in SEC play this season.
- The Vols are 18-1 this season when they shoot a
higher percentage than their opponent.
- Tennessee is 19-4 this season when it holds its
opponent under 80 points. The Vols are 0-6 when the
opposition scores 80 or more.
- The Vols are 28-2 in non-conference home games
under Bruce Pearl.
- Under Bruce Pearl, UT is 89-8 when leading or
tied with five minutes left in the game.
- UT is 60-6 when scoring 80 or more points under
the direction of Bruce Pearl.
- Bruce Pearl is 18-10 against ranked teams at UT.
- UT's 644 regular-season SEC victories rank third
all-time in the SEC. Only Kentucky and Alabama
have won more league games.
- Tennessee is 255-90 in 22 seasons in Thompson-
Boling Arena. The Vols have posted winning home
records in 18 of their 21 full seasons in the facility.
- Tennessee is 55-6 at Thompson-Boling Arena
since the start of the 2005-06 season.
The Alabama Series
Alabama leads the all-time series 71-63 ...
Tennessee's 93-86 win last season in Tuscaloosa was
the Vols' second straight victory in the series ... UA
leads the series 41-16 when it is played in Tuscaloosa
... Alabama is one of only two SEC schools (along
with Kentucky) to lead its all-time series with the
Vols ... Tennessee holds a decisive 44-19 advantage
when playing in Knoxville ... UT won the first-ever
meeting, 49-13, between the two schools on Feb. 6,
1914 ... The Tennessee-Alabama rivalry is UT's
third-oldest in the SEC ... Only Tennessee's series
with Kentucky (1910) and Georgia (1913) date back
Alabama (16-13, 6-9 SEC) saw its three-game win
streak snapped Tuesday when it fell at home to
Auburn 77-73 ... Alabama is shooting 44.5 percent
from the floor and 37.0 percent from 3-point range in
SEC play this season ... The Tide's 39.7 rebounds per
game lead the SEC ... The Crimson Tide continue to
be led by senior Alonzo Gee's 15.0 ppg this season ...
Despite being held to a relatively quiet 10 points at
Auburn recently, Gee is averaging 20.3 ppg over the
past three games and has hit double-figures in 25 of
his 29 games this season ... JaMychal Green (10.2
ppg, 7.4 rpg) continues to solidify his standing as one
of the top freshmen in the SEC after scoring nine
points, grabbing four rebounds and logging a careerhigh
four assists in 22 minutes at Ole Miss recently
... Green is averaging 11.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 1.5
blocks in SEC play this season ... Alabama is 4-6
under interim head coach Philip Pearson, who took
control of the team after the resignation of Mark
Gottfried earlier this season ... The Tide finished last
season with a 17-16 (5-11 SEC) record.
Last Clash With Alabama
Tennessee left Tuscaloosa with a win for just the second
time in more than 25 years, defeating the Crimson
Tide 93-86 on Jan. 29, 2008 ... UT had lost 16 of its
previous 17 games in Alabama's Coleman Coliseum
... The Vols opened the second half on a 12-2 run to
take a lead they never relinquished ... Alabama cut the
lead to two points five times in the game's final seven
minutes but never could get closer ... Richard Hendrix
cut UT's lead to 83-81 with 1:45 remaining, but
responded with a 3-pointer and Chris
Lofton added a pair of free throws with 59 seconds
left as the Vols withstood the Tide's last push ...
Tennessee shot 69.2 percent from the field in the half,
including 9-of-12 3-pointers ... Lofton led the Vols
with 23 points on 5-of-9 3-point shooting ... JaJuan Smith
scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half,
including each of his four 3-pointers ... Tyler Smith
had 17 points and 11 rebounds ... UT held a 45-36
rebounding advantage against the much bigger
Alabama lineup ... UA's Alonzo Gee led all scorers
with 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting ... UT's 93 points
were its most-ever in Tuscaloosa.
Vols In Driver's Seat In Second Half
During its current three-game win streak, Tennessee
has never trailed in the second half ... UT is averaging
42.0 second-half points during that span.
Tennessee Top-Rated SEC Team in NCAA's RPI
In the NCAA's most recent RPI listing (through the
games of March 2), Tennessee occupies the No. 21
spot ... The Volunteers are the highest-rated team in
the Southeastern Conference, with the next-closest
league team landing at No. 25 (LSU) ... Tennessee
boasts seven wins over teams with a top-50 RPI, and
the Vols have played 13 total games against teams
with a top-50 rating ... UT has played only three
teams with an RPI of 200 or lower.
Pearl Leads UT To Third Eastern Division Title
Despite playing in a division that boasts the NCAA's
all-time winningest program (Kentucky) and a
Florida program that claimed two of the last three
national championships, Tennessee has won three
SEC Eastern Division crowns under fourth-year head
coach Bruce Pearl
... Road success within divisional
play has been key, as UT over the last four seasons
owns 13-7 (.650) divisional road record; no other
Eastern Division team has more than nine such wins.
Tennessee's Schedule Among The Most Difficult In America
The non-conference portion of a team's schedule is the only part of its slate that it can control, and UT was ambitious and aggressive when building its non-conference schedule for this season ... Here's a look at what the Vols have faced outside of SEC play:
13 games against teams with a top-50 NCAA RPI.
Only three teams with a current RPI of 200 or lower (UNC Asheville, Georgia and Louisiana-Lafayette).
Six teams picked by their conference's coaches to win their respective league/division.
Memphis - A team riding an active 21-game win streak and sporting an NCAA RPI of No. 8.
Kansas - The Vols traveled to KU Jan. 3; the Jayhawks are 16-1 at Allen Fieldhouse this season (NCAA RPI of No. 7).
Marquette - Tennessee is one of only seven teams to beat the Golden Eagles this season, and the Vols did it at a neutral site without third-leading scorer J.P. Prince.
Georgetown - The Vols downed the Hoyas 90-78 at a neutral site; UT is one of only three teams ever to score 90 against a Georgetown team coached by John Thompson III.
Seniors Ryan Childress
, Tanner Wild
Jackson have presided over one of the most successful
four-year spans in Tennessee basketball history ...
Their accomplishments include:
96 wins are most ever by a UT senior class. No
other class won more than 89 (2001)
Led the Vols to three consecutive 20-win seasons
(with a chance to make it four with a win Sunday)
Have played on three of the seven winningest
teams in school history
Averaged 10.5 (42) wins in SEC play
2008 SEC champions
2006, 2008 and 2009 SEC East champions
Led UT to its first No. 1 ranking in school history
55-6 home record and 15 wins vs. ranked teams
Big Brian Ballin' Off The Bench
Sophomore center Brian Williams
is averaging 6.3
ppg and 6.0 rpg in UT's last four games ... And his
average of 19.5 minutes is a career-high during a
four-game span (he averages 16 minutes this season).
Tennessee Plays Role Of Spoiler On The Road
In its last two games (both convincing road wins),
Tennessee has beaten the odds by prevailing in tough
environments ... Florida hadn't lost at home all season
and was riding a 17-game win streak at the O'Connell
center before the Vols powered their way to a 79-75
victory there on March 1 ... Florida's last two home
losses each have come against UT ... South Carolina
had lost only once at home this season (to Clemson)
and was undefeated in SEC play at Colonial Life
Arena before Tennessee ran away with an 86-70 win
Thursday night ... Through the games of March 6,
Florida and South Carolina combined to boast a 31-3
(.912) home record this season.