Tennessee Earns No. 9 Seed in NCAA East Region

March 15, 2009

March 20 & 22, 2009
UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio

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  • Tennessee Volunteers: No. 9 Seed | Record: 21-12 SEC | Roster | Stats | Coaches | Schedule/Results
    Oklahoma State Cowboys: No. 8 Seed | Record: 22-11 Big 12 | Roster | Stats | Coaches | Schedule/Results
    Pittsburgh Panthers: No. 1 Seed | Record: 28-4 Big East | Roster | Stats | Coaches | Schedule/Results
    ETSU Buccaneers: No. 16 Seed | Record: 23-10 ASUN | Roster | Stats | Coaches | Schedule/Results

    Tennessee earns No. 9 seed in East Region

    The Tennessee Volunteers (21-12) were tabbed as the No. 9 seed in the NCAA East Region and will play the No. 8 seed Oklahoma State Cowboys (22-11) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament beginning Friday March 20 at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio. Game time has not been set by CBS.

    The Pittsburgh Panthers are No. 1 seed in the region. The Panthers are Tennessee's potential second round opponent should they defeat the 16th-seed ETSU Buccaneers.

    This is UT's fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 17th overall where it owns a 13-17 overall record. It is the second No. 9 seed in school history and the first since 1982 when the Vols beat Southwestern Louisiana 61-57 before losing to No. 1 Virginia 54-51 in Indianapolis, Ind. UT has earned a pair of No. 2 seeds (2006, 2008), the highest in school history, and a No. 5 seed (2007) under head coach Bruce Pearl.

    Tennessee last played a No. 8 seed in the 2000 Sweet Sixteen in Austin, Texas. The Vols dropped a 74-69 decision to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

    The Volunteers' opponent, Oklahoma State, is from the Big 12 Conference. The Cowboys finished with a 22-11 overall record and 9-7 mark league play. Tennessee has never faced a Big 12 team in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols are 1-1 against the Cowboys having lost in Oklahoma City 89-73 in 2005 before winning in Nashville in 2006, 79-77.

    Should Tennessee win, it will play the winner of Pitt-ETSU on Sunday, March 22. The next two rounds are in Boston March 26 & 28 with the Final Four set for Detroit April 4 & 6.

    The Vols are 0-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament action in Dayton, having lost to the No. 9-seed Charlotte 49ers, 70-63, in Midwest Region in 2001.

    Tennessee played five conference regular-season champions (Kansas, Big 12; Memphis, CUSA; Siena, MAAC; UT Martin, OVC; Gonzaga, WCC) and six conference tournament champions (Mississippi State, SEC; Temple, A-10; Memphis, CUSA; Siena, MAAC; Chattanooga, Southern; Gonzaga, WCC). It played nine teams in the field (Siena 1-0, Chattanooga 1-0, Marquette 1-0, Mississippi State 1-1, Kansas 0-1, Memphis 0-1, Temple 0-1, LSU 0-1, Gonzaga 0-2) going 4-7.

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl knew his team's road to the Final Four would be difficult without winning the Southeastern Conference championship.

    Still, the NCAA selection committee made it a bit harder than even he expected, giving the Vols a No. 9 seed in the East Region of the tournament, their worst seeding in Pearl's four-year tenure.

    Tennessee (21-12) lost 64-61 to Mississippi State on Sunday in the SEC title game just hours before learning its NCAA fate.

    The near-miss of the conference title followed a roller-coaster season that included losses to Memphis, Gonzaga and Kentucky; wins over Georgetown and Marquette and an SEC East co-championship. The Vols boast an RPI of 23 and a top-five strength of schedule.

    "I think some of that stuff might suggest a different seed," Pearl said. "We're just glad to be in the tournament, but we've got to beat some really great teams to advance."

    Tennessee will play the underdog role in its opening round matchup with No. 8 seed Oklahoma State in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday. The two teams played a pair of neutral-site games in Oklahoma City and Nashville in 2005 and 2006, with each team winning in its home state.

    "That's a tough (number) eight," Pearl said. "That's a really, really good team. They're playing good basketball. They've won eight out of their last 10. They shoot the 3-ball really well."

    Should the Vols pull out an upset, they would likely face top seed Pittsburgh, who plays East Tennessee State in the first round.

    Tennessee has made it to the regional semifinals for the past two seasons as a No. 5 and No. 2 seed. The Vols were also seeded second in Pearl's first season as coach but lost in the second round to Wichita State.

    They are making their 17th NCAA tournament appearance and hold a 13-17 overall record in the NCAA tournament. They've lost six times in the first round and five times in the second. In five tries, Tennessee has never made it past the regional semifinals.

    And though it looks as if the Vols chances to make it to the regional finals and beyond are slim this season, Pearl is glad to at least be in the tournament having not received the automatic bid that comes with a conference tournament championship.

    "It's getting tougher and tougher to get in this thing. Look at all the great teams that didn't get in," he said.

    Nickname: Volunteers.
    Coach: Bruce Pearl.
    Region: East.
    Seed: No. 9.
    Bid: At large.
    Tournament Record: 13-17, 16 years.
    Last NCAA Appearance: 2008.
    Conference: Southeastern.
    Top Scorers: Tyler Smith 17.2; Wayne Chism 13.8; J.P. Prince 10.1; Scotty Hopson 9.2.
    Top Rebounders: Wayne Chism 8.1; Tyler Smith 5.9; Brian Williams 5.7; J.P. Prince 4.2.
    Top Assists: Tyler Smith 3.4; Bobby Maze 3.2; J.P. Prince 3.2.
    3-point threats: Scotty Hopson 45; Cameron Tatum 40; Wayne Chism 38.
    Last Ten: 6-4.

    Oklahoma State
    Nickname: Cowboys.
    Coach: Travis Ford.
    Region: East.
    Seed: No. 8.
    Bid: At large.
    Tournament Record: 37-21, 22 years.
    Last NCAA Appearance: 2005.
    Conference: Big 12.
    Top Scorers: James Anderson 18.6; Byron Eaton 14.1; Terrel Harris 13.8; Obi Muonelo 12.6.
    Top Rebounders: Obi Muonelo 7.3; Marshall Moses 5.9; James Anderson 5.8; Terrel Harris 4.8.
    Top Assists: Byron Eaton 5.5; Terrel Harris 1.9.
    3-point threats: Obi Muonelo 83; James Anderson 80; Keiton Page 61; Terrel Harris 51.
    Last Ten: 7-3.

    Nickname: Panthers.
    Coach: Jamie Dixon.
    Region: East.
    Seed: No. 1.
    Bid: At large.
    Tournament Record: 18-21, 20 years.
    Last NCAA Appearance: 2008.
    Conference: Big East.
    Top Scorers: Sam Young 18.7; DeJuan Blair 15.6; Levance Fields 10.7; Jermaine Dixon 9.0.
    Top Rebounders: DeJuan Blair 12.2; Sam Young 6.1; Tyrell Biggs 4.6.
    Top Assists: Levance Fields 7.6; Brad Wanamaker 2.3; Jermaine Dixon 2.1.
    3-point threats: Sam Young 42; Levance Fields 40; Jermaine Dixon 32; Ashton Gibbs 31.
    Last Ten: 8-2.

    Nickname: Buccaneers.
    Coach: Murry Bartow.
    Region: East.
    Seed: No. 16.
    Bid: Atlantic Sun champion.
    Tournament Record: 2-8, 7 years.
    Last NCAA Appearance: 2004.
    Conference: Atlantic Sun.
    Top Scorers: Kevin Tiggs 21.5; Courtney Pigram 17.6; Mike Smith 15.5.
    Top Rebounders: Mike Smith 7.7; Kevin Tiggs 4.8; Greg Hamlin 4.8; Tommy Hubbard 4.6; Isiah Brown 4.5.
    Top Assists: Courtney Pigram 4.2; Mike Smith 2.1.
    3-point threats: Courtney Pigram 74; Mike Smith 43; Kevin Tiggs 36.
    Last Ten: 5-5.





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