March 15, 2010
NCAA Tournament First Round (Midwest Region)
6 Tennessee vs. 11 San Diego State
9:45 p.m. ET Thursday, March 18, 2010
Dunkin' Donuts Center (12,500) Providence, R.I.
TV: The game will be televised nationally on CBS. Verne Lundquist handles the play-by-play duties, while Bill Raftery provides analysis. Bob Mansbach is the producer.
Radio: The game will air on the Vol Radio Network (50-plus stations covering 28 states). Bob Kesling is in his 11th year calling the play-by-play. Former Vol Bert Bertelkamp (1977-80) joins him courtside to provide color commentary. Tim Berry is the engineer, and Glenn Thackston is the producer. A free live audio stream of the broadcast is available on UTsports.com.
Tickets: Tickets will be available to donors beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET Monday by calling 800-332-VOLS (8657) or 865-656-1200. At noon ET Monday, all remaining tickets will be made available to the public.
Record: 25-8 (11-5 SEC)
*Ranking: 15th AP / 14th ESPN/USA Today Coaches
Head Coach: Bruce Pearl (Boston College, 1982)
Record at School: 123-45 (5th year)
Overall Record: 440-129 (18th year)
Series: Tennessee leads 2-0
San Diego State
Record: 25-8 (11-5 MWC)
*Ranking: Not ranked
Head Coach: Steve Fisher (Illinois State, 1967)
Record at School: 198-148 (11th year)
Overall Record: 382-230 (19th year)
Web Site: GoAztecs.com
*Updated AP rankings will be released Monday
Tennessee In The NCAA Tournament
The Vols are making their 18 all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament ... This is the program's fifth straight NCAA berth--tying the school-record--and its ninth in the last 13 years ... Tennessee has a 13-18 all-time record in the "Big Dance" ... The Vols are 9-7 in first-round games , 4-5 in second-round games and 0-5 in the regional semifinals.
Bruce Pearl In The NCAA Tournament
Bruce Pearl has now led his team to the NCAA Tournament 16 times in 18 years as a head coach ... Pearl owns a 23-14 career-record in the NCAA Tournament ... He led Southern Indiana to a 16-8 NCAA Tournament record that included an NCAA Division II national championship in 1995 and a runner-up finish in 1994 ... He has a 7-6 record in NCAA Division I Tournaments ... Pearl has led his team to the round of 16 in three of the last five years--one of only nine head coach in the country to have done so ... In 2005, he directed UW-Milwaukee to the Sweet Sixteen and repeated the feat in 2007 and 2008 with Tennessee.
Homecoming Of Sorts For Coach Pearl
The trip to Providence, R.I., is a homecoming of sorts for fifth-year Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl--who, coincidentally, will turn 50 on Thursday ... According to Pearl's father, Bernie (who is making the trip to Providence this week with the Vols), Bruce grew up just 19 miles from Providence in Sharon, Mass. (pop. 17,033) ... Pearl graduated from Sharon High School before enrolling at Boston College.
The San Diego State Series
Tennessee leads the all-time series with San Diego State 2-0, dating to 1979 ... Both meetings took place in San Diego ... The Vols defeated SDSU 96-77 on Dec. 29, 1979, in the Cabrillo Classic at the San Diego Sports Arena ... Tennessee forward Steve Ray shot 14-of-16 to lead all scorers with 28 points--all of which were scored in the first half, a tournament record ... UT All-Century Team member Reggie Johnson scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting ... And current Vol Radio Network color analyst Bert Bertelkamp went 4-for-4 from the floor for eight points while dishing out 10 assists (he also had a block and a steal in 27 minutes) ... Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn--who is now the Aztecs' head baseball coach--played 28 minutes as SDSU's point guard and totaled four points and 10 assists ... Kevin Nash, who later went on to achieve stardom as a professional wrestler with WWF and WCW, tallied two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes as the Vols' center ... The second and most recent meeting between the programs came on Dec. 21, 1988, with the Big Orange posting a 77-75 victory at the San Diego Sports Arena ... Vols guard Greg Bell scored a game-high 25 points, while forward Dyron Nix (UT's eighth all-time leading scorer) added 24 points and 12 rebounds ... Tennessee owns a 9-6 all-time record against current members of the Mountain West Conference, including a 1-0 mark during the Bruce Pearl era (UT defeated Wyoming 77-58 on Dec. 15).
Goins Familiar With SDSU
Backup Tennessee point guard Melvin Goins grew up in the Skyline area of San Diego and has been friends with Aztecs forward Malcolm Thomas since childhood ... Goins lived in San Diego through his sophomore year of high school before moving to Texas, and he returned to the area as a sophomore in college when he transferred from Ball State to Mt. San Jacinto College ... Goins has played pickup games against most of SDSU's roster during the summer.
Woolridge Also Friendly With The Aztecs
Tennessee forward Renaldo Woolridge grew up in Los Angeles and became friends with current Aztecs Malcolm Thomas and Tyrone Shelley when they were attending Pepperdine and Woolridge was being recruited by the Waves ... Woolridge also played against SDSU guard D.J. Gay in high school, with Woolridge suiting up for Harvard-Westlake High and Gay attending Poly High.
Jones, Fisher Share Fab Five Connection
Tennessee associate head coach Tony Jones has a relationship with SDSU head coach Steve Fisher that dates to the mid-1980s ... When Fisher was an assistant coach at the University of Michigan at that time, he recruited Jones' brother, Bill Jones, who ended up signing with Iowa ... Later, when Fisher had ascended to head coach at Michigan, he recruited Jalen Rose from Southwestern High School in Detroit, where Jones was working as an assistant coach ... Jones remains close with Rose, who was part of the acclaimed "Fab Five" at Michigan and went on to enjoy a lengthy career in the NBA before moving into television as an analyst ... Jones also is very close to Aztecs assistant coach Brian Dutcher, who worked as an assistant under Fisher at UM.
Forbes Also Share Ties With SDSU Staff
Tennessee assistant coach Steve Forbes developed a relationship with Aztecs coaches Steve Fisher and Brian Dutcher in the mid-1990s, when Forbes was coaching point guard Brandun Hughes at Barton County Community College in Kansas ... Hughes, a native of Peoria, Ill., who is still playing professionally in Poland, became the first junior-college player to sign with Michigan since the mid-1970s ... Fisher was the Wolverines head coach at the time, while Dutcher was an assistant and was Hughes' lead recruiter.
SDSU's Lang An Old Friend From The UW-Milwaukee Days
San Diego State assistant athletics director for business administration Chuck Lang is a familiar face to Vols head coach Bruce Pearl and members of his staff ... Lang was the senior men's basketball administrator at UW-Milwaukee during Pearl's head coaching tenure there (2002-05) ... Also on Pearl's UWM staff at the time was current UT associate head coach Tony Jones, assistant coach Jason Shay and director of basketball operations Ken Johnson.
Tennessee Earns First No. 6 Seed In School History
In 17 previous NCAA Tournament appearances, Tennessee has never before played as a No. 6 seed ... After Bruce Pearl led the Vols to seedings of No. 2, No. 5, No. 2 and No. 9 in the previous four seasons, respectively, the Volunteers under Pearl's direction have averaged a 4.8 in terms of tournament seeding.
Chism To Tie School Record For NCAA Games Played
Thursday's game against San Diego State will be UT senior Wayne Chism's eighth NCAA Tournament game ... That will tie the school record currently shared by Chris Lofton, JuJuan Smith, Dale Ellis and Steve Ray.
This Season's Vols Set Defensive Marks
In Bruce Pearl's fifth season on Rocky Top, the Vols have posted some of the best defensive statistics of his tenure ... This is the first time during the Pearl era that UT has held its opponents to below 40 percent shooting overall (.394) and less than 30 percent shooting from 3-point range (.293) ... This year also marks Tennessee's best scoring defense under Pearl (64.9 ppg) ... ... The Vols have excelled in shutting down opposing playmakers as well, as the opponents' assists total (370) is its lowest since the 1998-99 season (359), and the opponents' assists average (11.2 apg) is its lowest since 1996-97 (10.7) ... In the post, Tennessee is on track to tally its highest blocks total under Pearl; the Vols have 123 blocks so far this season, and the previous high under Pearl is 124 last season.