GTMBB Preview: Tennessee

Georgia Tech travels to Tennessee for its first road game of the season, as the Vols lead the all-time series 44-28. Tech looks to grab its first win against Tennessee since 2015, when the Jackets defeated the Vols 69-67. This is the third in a series of previews of the Yellow Jackets’ non-conference opponents.

  • Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Conference: Southeastern Conference (SEC)
  • Home arena: Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)
  • 2017-18 Record: 26-9, 13-5 in SEC (Tied for 1st)
  • Postseason: Lost to Loyola Chicago in Round of 32 in NCAA Tournament, 63-62
  • NCAA postseason appearances (Last): 21, (2018)
  • All-time series record: 28-44
  • Head coach: Rick Barnes (Fourth season)
  • Starters returning/lost: 5/1
  • Top scorer returning: Grant Williams, F, 6-7 (15.2)
  • Top rebounder returning: Admiral Schofield, F, 6-5 (6.4)

Quick preview for 2018-19

Preparing for his fourth season, 2018 SEC Coach of the Year, Rick Barnes led the Vols to a 26-9 campaign and a regular season title. Barnes hopes to repeat that feat this season as his starting five from last year return to the hardwood.

The reigning 2018 SEC Player of the Year, Grant Williams makes his return, as the rising junior led the team in scoring last season with 15.2 ppg. Entering his senior season, Admiral Schofield, second-team All-SEC selection will return to Tennessee’s starting lineup. Schofield also led the Vols in rebounding last season with 6.4 boards per game.

Quick recap of 2017-18

In just his third year at Tennessee, Rick Barnes led a squad picked to finish 13th in the preseason league standings to the 2018 SEC Championship game and a regular season title. The Vols started off their season winning five consecutive games, including a 78-75 victory over No. 16 Purdue. Throughout the season, Tennessee appeared in the AP Top 25 poll for 15 straight weeks, reaching as high as No. 13. Tennessee took down Kentucky twice in the regular season, however the Vols were thwarted by the Wildcats in the SEC Championship title game 77-72. Despite the loss, Barnes and the Vols earned a trip back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. Tennessee grabbed a No. 3 seed in the Big Dance and proceeded to dominate Wright State in the first round, 73-47. Their season came to end when March Madness Cinderella, Loyola-Chicago slid past the Vols 63-62 in the Round of 32.

Greatest Program Accomplishment

In 2010, Tennessee reached the Elite Eight for the first time in program history and since then is the furthest the Vols have advanced in the NCAA Tournament. The 2009-10 squad sported a 28-9 overall record and went 11-5 in SEC play. The Vols fell just short of the Final Four, losing to Michigan State by a single point at 70-69.

Greatest player in program history

Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y. Bernard King played for the Vols’ from 1974-77 and goes down as one of the best small forwards in program history. King ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list with 1,982 points in 76 games. King was also three-time SEC Player of the Year (1975-77) and a First, Second and Third Team All-American selection. He owns the best season scoring average in Vols’ history with 26.4 ppg, including the most career 30-point games with a total of 26.

King was taken in the first round of the 1977 NBA Draft as the No. 7 overall pick to the New York Nets, the second-highest pick in Tennessee history. During his professional career, King played for the Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards, formerly known as the Washington Bullets. The Tennessee alumni became a four-time NBA All-Star and received two-time All-NBA First Team honors. His success earned him a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013 and his No. 53 jersey was retired by Tennessee.

Place to visit on campus or in the city

Near Tennessee’s campus is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which includes a section of the Appalachian Trail that has world renowned diversity of plant and animal life. Downtown Knoxville is a short five minute commute from UT which is home to multiple historic concert and performance venues.

 

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