Tennessee Basketball Notes - Louisiana Game

Dec. 26, 2008

Game 11: Vols Face Louisiana in Final Game of 2008

Quick Facts

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C 4 Wayne Chism
F1 Tyler Smith
G 32 Scotty Hopson
G 25 Josh Tabb
G 3 Bobby Maze
C 00 Colby Batiste
F 1 Tyren Johnson
F 33 Chris Gradnigo
G 22 Travis Bureau
G 55 Ryan McCoy

UT Aims for 37th 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 held on to defeat a veteran Belmont squad 79-77 on Dec. 20 at Thompson-Boling Arena. Vols junior Tyler Smith scored a season-high 23 points in the triumph.
  • Junior guard J.P. Prince, the Vols' third-leading scorer (11.3 ppg), did not play at Temple (Dec. 13), vs. Marquette (Dec. 16) or vs. Belmont (Dec. 20) after injuring his ankle during practice Dec. 12. His status for the Louisiana game is questionable.
  • Tennessee owns a 21-3 all-time record against current members of the Sun Belt Conference, including a 9-0 mark during the Bruce Pearl era.
  • Louisiana and Memphis are the only two non-conference teams that Tennessee has played in each of Pearl's four seasons on Rocky Top (this season included).
  • Through the games of Dec. 21, the Vols were ranked eighth nationally in scoring, 13th nationally in rebounding margin and 10th nationally in assists per game.
  • 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. This is UT's last game of 2008.
  • The Vols are looking to extend their 36-game homecourt win streak, which is the longest in school history and the third-longest active home win streak in the nation. See Page 5 for more on the streak.
  • 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. 26, Tennessee led the SEC in scoring (84.1 ppg) while ranking second in rebounding (42.3 rpg) and third in assists (18.3 apg).
  • UT remains the highest-ranked Southeastern Conference team in the national polls (No. 16 AP; No. 21 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 10 games this season.
  • Tennessee is 49-2 at Thompson-Boling Arena since the start of the 2005-06 season.
  • UT has a 36-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 27-0 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 365 consecutive games.
  • Under Bruce Pearl, UT is 78-6 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 1,430-910-2 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 249-86 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 Louisiana Series

Tennessee leads the all-time series with Louisiana 7-1, dating to 1966 ... The Vols hold a 4-0 edge in Knoxville and are 3-0 against the Ragin' Cajuns during the Bruce Pearl era ... Louisiana and Memphis are the only two non-conference teams that Tennessee has played in each of Pearl's four seasons on Rocky Top (this season included) ... The Vols have twice defeated UL in the NCAA Tournament (1982 and 2000) and also boast a win over the Cajuns in the NIT (1985) ... UT's lone loss in the series was a 79-78 double-overtime loss in the 1985 Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans, La. ... Tennessee is riding a four game win streak in the series.

Noting Louisiana

The school prefers to be referred to simply as "Louisiana," with the abbreviation "UL" used in subsequent references (not "Louisiana-Lafayette" or "ULL") ... The Ragin' Cajuns were picked by the Sun Belt head coaches to finish third in the league's West Division in head coach Robert Lee's fifth season in Lafayette ... "Top to bottom, this is the best roster of any team I've been a part of in my nine years," Lee said before the season ... Last year, with the nation's third-youngest team, Louisiana posted a 15-15 (11-7 Sun Belt) record to tie for first place in the Sun Belt's West Division ... Sophomore forward Chris Gradnigo (10.7 ppg) was a preseason thirdteam All-SBC selection ... Gradnigo led the Ragin' Cajuns in scoring as a true freshman last season, averaging 9.6 points per game ... Junior point guard Ryan McCoy is a key newcomer to this season's team and has averaged 9.4 ppg and 3.0 apg ... Forwards Emmanuel Adeife and Lamar Roberson, both transfers from UNLV, saw action for the first time in a Cajuns uniform Dec. 13 against Louisiana College ... The pair had to sit out the season's first six games because they transferred between semesters last season and weren't eligible to play until grades were posted for the Fall 2008 semester ... Louisiana has held its opponents below 80 points in regulation in 34 consecutive games ... The Cajuns average 6.4 blocks per game ... Sophomore guard Travis Bureau leads the team with 16.8 ppg ... 13 of the 17 players on UL's roster hail from the state of Louisiana.

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 three of the last four games ... The Vols are leading the battle of the benches 325-147 this season (32.5 ppg to 14.7 ppg).

Vols Top-Rated SEC Team in RPI

Through the games of Dec. 24, Tennessee had an RPI rating of No. 33 according to TheHoopsReport.com ... UT is the highest-rated SEC team in that site's RPI listing and has already faced teams rated 13th (Gonzaga), 26th (Georgetown) and 29th (Temple).

Vols Riding School-Record 36-Game Home Win Streak

Tennessee's 36-game home winning streak is the longest in school history ... The last team to leave Knoxville with a win was Kentucky after an 80-78 decision on March 1, 2006 ... The Vols were 16-0 at home each of the last two seasons and 4-0 on Rocky Top this season ... In his fourth season at UT, Bruce Pearl is 49-2 in Thompson-Boling Arena ... Tennessee's 36-game streak is the third-longest active streak in NCAA Division I. Active NCAA Division I Homecourt Win Streaks

Team Streak
1. BYU 53
2. Notre Dame 43
3. Tennessee 36
4. Kansas 31

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 72.2 22.2
Wayne Chism 55.6 73.8 18.2
J.P. Prince 55.7 70.6 14.9





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