Game 8: Vols Look to Remain Perfect Against A-10 Clubs in Bruce Pearl Era (3-0)
|C ||33 Brian Williams|
|F||1 Tyler Smith|
|F ||0 Renaldo Woolridge|
|G ||32 Scotty Hopson|
|G ||3 Bobby Maze|
|C ||41 Sergio Olmos |
|F ||24 Lavoy Allen |
|G ||22 Dionte Christmas |
|G ||2 Ryan Brooks |
|G ||15 Semaj Inge|
UT faces Temple in Philly for first time in 63 years
- 2008-09 marks Tennessee's 100th season of varsity basketball. A season-long centennial celebration includes the selection of a Tennessee Basketball All-Century Team. Ballots are available in the Thompson-Boling Arena concourse for all home games.
- In its last game, Tennessee beat UNC Asheville 87-69 in Knoxville on Dec. 3. Tyler Smith logged 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the win, marking the first triple-double in UT basketball history.
- Smith was named the SEC Player of the Week for his efforts, marking the second time in his UT career that he has earned the weekly league honor.
- UT's last game also marked head coach Bruce Pearl's 400th career victory. Pearl was the sixth-fastest collegiate coach to reach the 400-win milestone (second-fastest among active coaches).
- The Vols have won seven of their last eight true road games, dating to last season.
- Tennessee owns a 32-21 all-time record against current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, including a 3-0 mark during the Bruce Pearl era.
- The Big Orange are slated to visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall on Friday.
- Tennessee plays just five games during the month of December. Four of those contests take place instate, with three in Knoxville and one in Nashville. The Temple game is UT's lone out-of-state affair.
- The Vols return a total of six letterwinners, including two starters, from last year's squad that posted a 31-5 overall record and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
- UT newcomers include four true freshmen, one junior-college transfer and a redshirt freshman.
- A panel of SEC and national media tabbed the Vols as the preseason favorite to win the Southeastern Conference championship this season. Tyler Smith was named the preseason SEC Player of the Year by the panel and also was a first-team All-SEC selection by the league's coaches.
- Through the games of Dec. 8, Tennessee led the SEC in scoring (87.1 ppg) and assists (19.6 apg) while ranking second in rebounding margin (+13.1).
- UT remains the highest-ranked Southeastern Conference team in the national polls (No. 8 AP; No. 8 Coaches). No SEC team has been ranked higher than the Vols at any point this season.
- The Vols' bench has outscored the opponent's bench in all seven games this season.
- Tennessee is 48-2 at Thompson-Boling Arena since the start of the 2005-06 season.
- UT has a 35-game homecourt winning streak. The Vols' last home loss was a 78-80 decision to Kentucky in the final home game of the 2005-06 season.
- The Vols are 26-0 in non-conference home games under Bruce Pearl.
- Bruce Pearl is 17-9 against ranked teams while at Tennessee.
- The Vols have made at least one 3-pointer in 362 consecutive games.
- Under Bruce Pearl, UT is 76-6 when leading or tied with five minutes left in the game.
- UT is 54-5 when scoring 80 or more points under the direction of Bruce Pearl.
- Tennessee has an all-time record of 1,428-909-2 in 100 seasons of basketball.
- UT's 634 regular-season SEC victories rank third all-time in the SEC. Only Kentucky and Alabama have won more league games.
- Tennessee is 248-86 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 the only Division I school ever to rank in the top five nationally in attendance for football, men's basketball and women's basketball in the same season. The Vols turned the trick for the fifth time in 2007-08.
The Temple Series
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Temple 3-2, dating to 1944 ... The teams met in Philadelphia in back-to-back seasons in the mid-1940s, with each school notching a win ... The first-ever meeting between the programs saw Temple notch a 33-31 victory on Dec. 27, 1944, but the Volunteers struck back with a 43-36 road win on Dec. 29, 1945 ... The Vols boast a 2-0 series edge in Knoxville, with an historic 11-6 win in the Volunteer Classic on Dec. 15, 1973, and an 80-63 victory last season on Nov. 9 ... The Owls posted a 63-58 win in the series' only neutral site clash, which came on March 20, 1969, at the NIT in New York City.
Fourth-year Temple head coach Fran Dunphy and his Owls (4-3) will host just their second home game of the season Dec. 13 when the Volunteers visit The Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa. ... All-America candidate Dionte Christmas continues to lead the Owls as well as the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring with a 23.8 average. The 6-5 guard, who also ranks second on the team in rebounding (8.8 rpg.), moved seven places to 16th on Temple's all-time scoring list (1,476 points) with his 29-point outburst against Lafayette on Nov. 21 ... Junior guard Ryan Brooks (13.8 ppg,) and sophomore forward Lavoy Allen (11.0 ppg.) also average double-figure scoring with Allen topping the team in rebounding (9.0 rpg.) and blocks (4) ... Redshirt freshman Ramone Moore has made an immediate impact, tallying 9.8 points per game off the bench ... Temple finished second in the A-10 last season and posted a final record of 21-13 (11-5 A-10) ... Four starters return from that team, which lost to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Last Clash with Temple
Tennessee and Temple combined for 20 points by the first media timeout as the Vols rolled to an 80-63 win in their season-opener on Nov. 9, 2007 ... UT used a balanced scoring attack led by JaJaun Smith's game high 15 points ... Ramar Smith pitched in 14 points while Wayne Chism added 11 and Chris Lofton had 10 ... 10 different Vols dented the scoring column ... Temple made six of its first seven field goal attempts as the Owls jumped out to a 14-11 lead ... The Vols responded with a 14-2 run to take a 25-16 lead with just over eight minutes left in the first ... UT finished the half on a 14-5 run to take a 39-24 advantage at the break ... Temple got no closer than 10 points in the second half as Tennessee extended its lead to as many as 24 points ... Temple, which committed the fewest turnovers in the Atlantic 10 Conference the previous season, turned the ball over 23 times on 10 Tennessee steals ... The Vols shot 46 percent from the field while holding the Owls to 39 percent shooting ... The A- 10's top scorers in 2006-07, Dionte Christmas (20.0) and Mark Tyndale (19.4), finished the game with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Smith Records Program's First Triple-Double; Earns SEC Player of the Week Honors
It took 100 seasons and 2,339 all-time games, but a Tennessee player has finally recorded the triple-double that had eluded the program for so long ... Tyler Smith needed just 26 minutes to record 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists during UT's 87-69 win over UNC Asheville on Dec. 3, 2008 ... Smith had no turnovers in the game and also added one steal while going 4-for-11 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line ... He earned his second career SEC Player of the Week award for his efforts ... Said UT coach Bruce Pearl after the game: "He's probably the most productive player I've ever coached."
Pearl Earns 400th Career Win
Bruce Pearl needed just 509 games as a collegiate head coach to record his 400th career victory, which he did Dec. 3, 2008, with an 87-69 win over UNC Asheville ... In doing so, Pearl became the sixthfastest coach ever to reach the 400-win milestone (faster than legendary coaches Phog Allen, Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith and Lou Carnesecca just to name a few) ... Pearl was the second-fastest to 400 wins among active head coaches.
Noting the Tennessee Bench
On average, the Tennessee bench outscores the opposition's bench by 19.3 points per game (36.0 to 16.7).
Tennessee non-starters have scored in double digits 10 times this season.
In a testament to UT's depth, in six of seven games this season at least nine different Vols have scored.
Chism, Prince and Williams Much-Improved at Free-Throw Line
Returners Wayne Chism, J.P. Prince and Brian Williams each are shooting more than 10 percentage points better at the free-throw line this season compared to last:
| ||07-08 FT% ||08-09 FT% ||Increase|
|Brian Williams ||50.0 ||75.0|| 22.7|
|Wayne Chism ||55.6 ||70.8 ||15.2|
|J.P. Prince ||55.7 ||70.6 ||14.9|