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Tennessee Basketball Notes - Belmont Game



Dec. 18, 2008

Game 10: Vols Return Home to Face In-State Rival Belmont

Quick Facts

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Tennessee
Ht.
Wt.
Yr.
PPG
RPG
APG
C 4 Wayne Chism
6-9
242
Jr.
11.8
7.4
1.2
F1 Tyler Smith
6-7
215
Jr.
17.0
5.6
4.3
G 32 Scotty Hopson
6-7
185
Fr.
8.6
1.6
0.8
G 25 Josh Tabb
6-4
196
Jr.
3.6
1.8
1.9
G 3 Bobby Maze
6-2
185
Jr.
9.3
3.2
5.0
Belmont
Ht.
Wt.
Yr.
PPG
RPG
APG
F 30 Matthew Dotson
6-8
220
Sr.
12.6
3.4
1.3
F 13 Jon House
6-6
210
So.
7.9
3.6
2.4
G 2 Shane Dansby
6-4
210
Sr.
10.2
2.7
1.2
G 20 Andy Wicke
6-2
105
Sr.
14.0
1.6
3.0
G 12 Alex Renfroe
6-2
160
Sr.
11.1
5.9
4.7

UT Aims for 36th Consecutive Home Victory

  • 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 downed No. 24 Marquette 80-68 at the SEC/Big East Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. The win improved the Vols to 6-1 at the Sommet Center under coach Bruce Pearl.
  • Junior guard J.P. Prince, the Vols' third-leading scorer (11.3 ppg), did not play at Temple (Dec. 13) or vs. Marquette (Dec. 16) after injuring his ankle during practice Dec. 12. His status for the Belmont game is questionable.
  • Tennessee owns a 17-5 all-time record against current members of the Atlantic Sun, including a 3-0 mark during the Bruce Pearl era. Pearl's UT teams have posted a 16-3 record against in-state opponents.
  • Through the games of Dec. 14, the Vols were ranked eighth nationally in scoring, fifth nationally in rebounding margin and 10th nationally in assists per game.
  • After shooting 65.9 percent from the free-throw line last season, Tennessee has raised its team percentage 5.2 points to 71.1 percent through nine games this year.
  • 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.
  • UT's win over UNC Asheville on Dec. 3 marked head coach Bruce Pearl's 400th career victory. Pearl was the sixth-fastest collegiate coach to reach the 400-win milestone (second among active coaches).
  • 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's newcomers include four true freshmen, one junior-college transfer and a redshirt freshman.

Tennessee Trends

  • Through the games of Dec. 17, Tennessee led the SEC in scoring (84.7 ppg) and assists (18.6 apg) while ranking third in rebounding margin (+10.0).
  • 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 nine 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 18-9 against ranked teams while at Tennessee.
  • The Vols have made at least one 3-pointer in 364 consecutive games.
  • Under Bruce Pearl, UT is 77-6 when leading or tied with five minutes left in the game.
  • UT is 55-5 when scoring 80 or more points under the direction of Bruce Pearl.
  • Tennessee has an all-time record of 1,429-910-2 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 year. The Vols turned the trick for the fifth time in 2007-08.

The Belmont Series

Tennessee won its only previous meeting with Belmont, posting a 77-68 victory in Knoxville on Dec. 20, 2004 ... UT owns a 17-5 all-time record against current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference ... Belmont head coach Rick Byrd's father, Ben, covered the Vols for several years for the Knoxville Journal and even authored a book (The Basketball Vols) covering the history of Tennessee basketball ... Leonard Butts, sports editor for the Maryville Daily Times who regularly covers the Vols, is a brother-in-law of the Belmont head coach ... Rick Byrd is a native of Knoxville and attended South Doyle High School ... He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Tennessee and served as a student assistant under Tennessee's all-time winningest coach, Ray Mears ... Belmont became an NCAA Division I member for the 1996-97 season.

Noting Belmont

The Belmont Bruins (4-3, 1-1) were tabbed by both the Atlantic Sun head coaches and the media as the preseason pick to win their second consecutive Atlantic Sun regular-season title as well as a fourth straight conference championship ... Bruins head coach Rick Byrd is the winningest active coach in the Atlantic Sun Conference and is one of only 16 active NCAA head coaches with 500 or more career victories ... Bruins seniors Andy Wicke (14.0 ppg), Henry Harris (4.0 ppg) and Matthew Dotson (12.6 ppg) are three of only seven returning players in all of college basketball to have earned three consecutive automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament; the trio has been a part of more than 70 wins over the past three-plus seasons ... Belmont finished the 2007-08 season ranked fourth nationally in three-point field goals made per game (10.5; the third time in the last five years the team has been in the top 10 in the nation in that category) ... The Bruins also led the Atlantic Sun and ranked 14th nationally in assists per game in last season (17.3) ... Dotson originally signed with UT after committing to former Vols head coach Buzz Peterson but enrolled at Belmont after getting an NLI release from Bruce Pearl shortly after Pearl's hiring.

Nine Different Vols Have Started Games

Nine different Volunteers have started for UT this season, including eight players who have made multiple starts ... Junior forward Tyler Smith and junior point guard Bobby Maze are the only two Vols who have started all nine games ... Head coach Bruce Pearl has used six different combinations of starters thus far ... Freshman forward Emmanuel Negedu is the only scholarship Vol who has yet to start.

Bench Dominance

The Tennessee bench has outscored the opposition's bench in every game this season, and UT's backups have also outscored the opponents' non-starters by at least 20 points in each of the last three games ... The Vols are leading the battle of the benches 302-127 this season (33.6 ppg to 14.1 ppg)

Vols Top-Rated SEC Team in RPI

Through the games of Dec. 17, Tennessee had an RPI rating of No. 35 according to TheHoopsReport.com ... UT is the highest-rated team in that site's RPI listing and has already faced teams currently rated first (Gonzaga), 11th (Temple) and 14th (Georgetown).

Smith Records Program's First Triple-Double

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 ... Said UT coach Bruce Pearl after the game: "He's probably the most productive player I've ever coached."

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 25.0
Wayne Chism 55.6 73.8 18.2
J.P. Prince 55.7 70.6 14.9

 

 

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