Vols ready for Longwood Lancers as March Madness gets under way Thursday

Published 1:27 am Wednesday, March 16, 2022

CONTRIBUTED BY UT ATHLETICS
As Tennessee readies for their opening round showdown with the #14 seed Longwood Lancers, here a breakdown of that game and a look ahead for the Vols as the tournament will be crowning a National Champion at its completion.
The No. 3 seed Tennessee basketball team begins NCAA Tournament play Thursday in Indianapolis, taking on No. 14 seed Longwood as part of the South Region at 2:45 p.m. ET inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
THURSDAY’S MATCHUP
• Founded in 1839, Longwood University is a public college located in Farmville, Virginia. With an enrollment of 4,800, the Lancers are members of the Big South Conference.
• Tennessee has never previously faced Longwood, but the Vols are 28-0 all-time vs. current members of the Big South Conference.
• Rick Barnes also has never faced Longwood as a head coach, but he, too, is unbeaten against Big South teams (23-0).
• Longwood is riding the nation’s fifth-longest active win streak—eight games.
• The Vols and Lancers have two common opponents this season. Tennessee won home games against Presbyterian and USC Upstate. Longwood also was perfect against those intraconference foes, beating Presbyterian once and USC Upstate twice.
STORYLINES
• Tennessee is riding a seven-game win streak and has won 12 of its last 13 contests.
• The Volunteers captured their first SEC Tournament championship since 1979 last weekend in Tampa.
• True freshman Kennedy Chandler was named SEC Tournament MVP.
• The Vols played an NCAA-best (tied) 18 Quad 1 games this season, winning 11. Only Kansas has more Quad 1 wins (12).
• Tennessee stood at No. 7 in the NCAA’s selection NET ratings. Each of UT’s seven losses are Quad 1.
• According to KenPom, the Vols rank third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 86.2 points per 100 possessions.
• Tennessee’s scoring defense of 66.4 ppg in SEC play was the best in the league. The Vols have held 10 of their last 12 opponents to fewer than 65 points.
• The Vols are 7-7 against this year’s field of 68. See Page 3 for more.
SATURDAY SCENARIOS
• Tennessee has never faced Colorado State. The Vols are 12-3 all-time against current members of the Mountain West Conference.
• Rick Barnes is 3-1 as a head coach against Mountain West opposition, with no meetings against the Rams.
• Tennessee’s all-time series with Michigan is tied, 5-5. That includes two NCAA Tournament clashes, both won by the Wolverines (2011 and 2014). The 2014 meeting took place in the Sweet Sixteen at Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium.
•  Barnes has faced Michigan only once as a head coach, as his Texas squad fell to the Wolverines in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee.
•  Barnes is 30-31 all-time against current members of the Big Ten.
• Tennessee owns a 7-8 record in NCAA Tournament second-round games.
•  Barnes is 9-6 in the second round.
TENNESSEE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• The Vols are making their 24th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Big Orange own a 22-24 (.478) NCAA Tournament record.
• The Vols are 1-0 in the First Four, 13-7 in first-round games, 7-8 in second-round games, 1-0 in third-round action, 1-7 in regional semifinals, 0-1 in regional finals and 0-1 in the now-defunct regional consolation round.
• This is the program’s fourth NCAA berth under seventh-year head coach Rick Barnes.
• Tennessee’s 24 NCAA Tournament berths tie LSU for fourth-most among SEC teams.
• Since 2010, among SEC programs, only Kentucky (31) and Florida (19) have won more NCAA Tournament games than Tennessee (10).
VOLS vs. THE FIELD OF 68
• Prior to the tournament, the Vols played 14 games against 10 different teams comprising the field of 68, going 7-7 in those contests.
• The wins came against Arizona (1), Auburn (2),  Kentucky (2), Arkansas (4), LSU (6), and North Carolina (8).
• The average margin of victory in those seven wins was 9.1 points.
UT HOOPS HISTORY IN INDIANA
• Tennessee’s first collegiate basketball appearance in the state of Indiana came on Dec. 20, 1958, when the fifth-ranked Vols suffered an 81-66 loss to Butler at Butler Fieldhouse (now Hinkle Fieldhouse).
• The Vols own a 3-9 all-time record in Indiana: 1-5 in Indianapolis, 2-3 in Evansville and 0-1 in West Lafayette.
• Tennessee has played six NCAA Tournament games in Indiana, going 2-4 (1-3 in Indy).
• In the 1982 NCAA Tournament, Tennessee defeated Southwestern Louisiana (the Ragin’ Cajuns) before losing to Virginia at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Then in the 1983 NCAA Tournament, Tennessee beat Marquette before falling to Louisville at Roberts Municipal Stadium in Evansville. In the 2014 Sweet Sixteen, UT dropped a 73-71 contest to Michigan at Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium. The attendance of 41,072 at Lucas Oil stands as the largest crowd ever for a Tennessee basketball game. And most recently, the Vols fell to Oregon State in a first-round matchup last year at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indy.
• Rick Barnes‘ previous NCAA Tournament head coaching experience in Indiana occurred in 2005 —when his eighth-seeded Texas Longhorns fell to ninth-seeded Nevada at Indy’s RCA Dome—and last year’s Oregon State first-round game.
TENNESSEE AS A NO. 3 SEED
• Tennessee is competing as a No. 3 seed for just the second time in program history.
• Tennessee went 1-1 as a No. 3 seed in 2018. The Vols defeated Wright State before falling to Loyola Chicago at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
VOLS IN THE SOUTH REGION
• This is the fifth time UT has competed in the South Region (2000, 2007, 2018 and 2019).
• The Vols reached the Sweet Sixteen in three of those NCAA Tournaments, competing as the No. 4 seed in 2000, the No. 2 seed in 2007 and the No. 2 seed in 2019.
BARNES’ NCAA RÉSUMÉ IMPRESSIVE
• Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has guided four different programs to a total of 26 berths in The Big Dance. He led Providence and Clemson to three berths each before guiding Texas to 16 tournament appearances in 17 years. This is his fourth appearance with the Vols.
• Barnes in 2018 became the 13th head coach ever to lead four different programs to the Division I NCAA Tournament.
• Barnes has led his teams to seven Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and one Final Four, in 2003.
• In Tennessee’s 112-year hardwood history, the Volunteers have made just 24 NCAA Tournament appearances (two fewer than Barnes).
• From 1995 through 2016, every player Barnes coached for four years made at least three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
VOLS-LANCERS CONNECTIONS
• What are the odds that Tennessee and Longwood both would feature players from Helsinki, Finland? Oddly enough, Volunteers junior Olivier Nkamhoua (injured) and Lancers sophomore Jesper Granlund both hail from Finland’s capital.
• The Freshman of the Year in Longwood’s conference (Big South) is the son of first-year Tennessee assistant coach Justin Gainey. Jordan Gainey scored 16 and 13 points in USC Upstate’s two losses to Longwood this season.
TRIO HONORED BY SEC COACHES
• Three Vols garnered SEC postseason honors from the league’s head coaches, announced March 8.
• Junior guard Santiago Vescovi earned a spot on the All-SEC first team, while freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler was a second-team selection.
• For the second straight season, two Vols landed on the SEC All-Freshman Team, as Chandler and Zakai Zeigler made the eight-man squad.
• Zeigler also was selected to the five-man SEC All-Defensive Team, becoming only the fourth Vol ever to earn that honor.
ALL-TOURNAMENT ACCLAIM
• Three Vols were voted to the five-man SEC Tournament All-Tournament Team in Tampa, Florida.
• True freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler was named Tournament MVP after averaging 14.7 points and 5.0 assists with a 5.0 assist/turnover ratio.
• Junior wings Josiah-Jordan James (14.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Santiago Vescovi (12.0 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.0 spg) also earned All-Tournament acclaim.

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