UT seeks first win against Butler
The second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers will meet the seventh-seeded Butler Bulldogs in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 1:30 p.m. CDT Sunday, March 23, at BJCC Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The winner of the game will advance to the East Region Semifinals in Charlotte, N.C., where they will play Thursday, March 27.
UT advanced to the second round with a 72-57 victory over 15th-seeded American Friday. JaJuan Smith led the Vols with 19 points while Wayne Chism added 16 and Tyler Smith had 14. Tennessee recorded 12 steals off 22 American turnovers and shot 48.9 percent from the field.
The Vols are making their 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including their third in a row. Tennessee is 12-16 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and have advanced to the second round of the tournament in each of the last three years.
Tennessee is 3-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament second round games, including a 1-1 mark under the direction of Bruce Pearl.
Bruce Pearl is leading his 14th team to the NCAA Tournament in 16 seasons as a head coach. Pearl owns a 22-12 career record in the tournament, including a 4-2 mark in three appearances at Tennessee.
UT’s No. 2 seeding ties for the highest in school history. Tennessee also received a No. 2 seed in 2006.
Tennessee’s 30 wins this season have eclipsed the previous school record of 26 set in 1999-2000. The Vols reached the 20-win milestone faster than any team in school history. UT’s 14 SEC wins are its most ever in a 16-game conference schedule.
Tennessee and Butler have two of the top scoring backcourts in the nation. UT’s Chris Lofton (2,107) and JaJuan Smith (1,361) have combined for 3,468 career points. Butler’s A.J. Graves (1,786) and Mike Green (1,622) have combined for 3,408 points.
Chris Lofton’s 106 career points in the NCAA Tournament rank second in UT history. Dale Ellis (1980-83) holds the school record with 116 in eight games. JaJuan Smith ranks fifth in school history with 83 points in the NCAA Tournament.
UT has been outrebounded by an average of 12 rebounds over the last two games. Arkansas (3/15/08) held a 34-22 advantage on the boards and then American (3/21/08) outrebounded the Vols 39-27.
Tyler Smith logged 36 minutes of action against American (3/21/08). That is the most minutes played by a Vol this season.
Chris Lofton’s five points against American (3/21/08) tied his season low and were just the seventh time this season he had been held to less than 10 points. The Vols are 7-0 in each of the games where he has not reached double-figure scoring.
JaJuan Smith is averaging 19.2 points over his last five games. He is shooting 58.3 percent (35-of-60) from the field and 48.6 percent (18-of-37) from 3-point range during that stretch.
Bruce Pearl coached his 500th career game Friday against American in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
UT’s 613 assists this season are the most in school history, breaking the school record of 546 (in 35 games) set in 2006-07.
UT’s schedule is ranked as the most difficult in the nation by kenpom.com.
Tennessee’s 30 wins this season are the most in school history.
UT’s 14-2 league record earned the school its ninth regular season SEC title. It is UT’s first conference crown since 1999-2000 and the first outright (no ties) title since 1966-67. The Vols won their second SEC Eastern Division championship in the last three seasons and their fourth overall.
Tennessee’s 14 SEC wins are the most since the league went to divisional play in 1991-92. It is the most UT has ever had in a 16-game conference schedule.
For the first time since SEC divisional play started in 1991-92, UT posted a 6-0 record against the West.
Bruce Pearl’s 76 wins in his first three years at Tennessee are the most by a Tennessee coach in his first three seasons in Knoxville.
UT has won 14 games away from home this season (14-4).
Tennessee has outrebounded 12 of its last 16 opponents and owns a +3.7 rebounding advantage during those games. The Vols are averaging 13.9 offensive rebounds during the stretch.
Only six Vols have fouled out of Tennessee’s first 34 games despite having a player record their fourth foul 55 times.
Tennessee is averaging 21.7 points per game off turnovers this season (739 points in 34 games).
Tennessee’s 82.6 points per game are leading the SEC for the third consecutive year. Pearl’s teams have led their league in scoring 15 of his 16 years as a head coach.
Tennessee is the only team in the SEC that does not have a player ranked among the league’s top 30 in minutes played. UT has eight players averaging at least 14 minutes per game.
Tennessee has forced an average of 18.3 turnovers off an SEC-best 9.4 steals per game this year.
UT leads the SEC with 18.0 assists per game.
Six different players have led the Vols in scoring this season.
UT’s home attendance has grown for the third consecutive year. The Vols are averaging 20,267 fans per game, up from 19,661 last season.
Tennessee is 45-2 at Thompson-Boling Arena since the start of the 2005-06 season.
UT has a 32-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 23-0 in non-conference home games under Bruce Pearl.
Bruce Pearl is 15-7 against ranked teams while at Tennessee.
The Vols have made at least one 3-pointer in 353 consecutive games.
Under Bruce Pearl, UT is 69-6 when leading or tied with five minutes left in the game.
UT is 50-5 when scoring 80 or more points under the direction of Bruce Pearl.
Tennessee has an all-time record of 1,421-907-2 in its 99th season 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 245-86 in its 21st season in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols have winning home records in 18 of their 20 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 fourth time in 2006-07.
UT In The NCAA Tournament
The Vols are making their 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament ... It is their third straight appearance and the seventh in the last 11 years ... Tennessee has a 12-16 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament.
The Vols are 3-5 all-time in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and have won two of their last three second round contests. The Vols defeated Virginia 77-74 in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
UT’s No. 2 seeding ties for the highest in school history. The Vols were also a No. 2 seed in 2006.
Tennessee is 0-2 all-time against No. 7 seeds, losing to Wichita State in 2006 and West Virginia in 1989.
Bruce Pearl In The NCAA Tournament--
Bruce Pearl is leading a team to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time in 16 years as a head coach ... Pearl owns a 22-12 career record in the NCAA Tournament ... He led Southern Indiana to a 16-8 NCAA Tournament record that included an NCAA Division II national championship in 1995 and a runner-up finish in 1994 ... He has a 6-4 record in NCAA Division I Tournaments ... Pearl has lead his team to the round of 16 in two of the last the last three years ... In 2005 he directed UW-Milwaukee to the Sweet 16 and repeated the feat at Tennessee in 2007.
Vols In Birmingham--
Tennessee has a 7-5 all-time record when playing in Birmingham ... Each of the Vols’ games in the city have been part of postseason competition ... UT has played nine SEC Tournament (4-5) and two NCAA Tournament (2-0) games in Birmingham.
Looking At Butler--
Butler advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with an 81-61 victory over South Alabama Friday afternoon ... The victory improved the Bulldog’s record to 30-3 on the season ... Although Butler is seeded seventh in the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs are ranked 11th by the Associated Press and 10th by ESPN/USA Today ... Butler won the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles ... Mike Green and A.J. Graves were first team all-conference selections while Matt Howard was a second team all-league pick ... Green was named the Horizon League Player of the Year and Howard took home newcomer honors.
The Butler Series--
Butler has won both previous meetings between the schools ... Last year Butler upset the 22nd-ranked Vols 56-44 in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York City ... The Bulldogs pulled off an 81-66 upset over fifth-ranked Tennessee Dec. 20, 1958, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis ... Tennessee is 2-3 against current members of the Horizon League with wins over Cleveland State and UW-Milwaukee and losses to Butler and Detroit Mercy.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information