Trip to Final 4 Would be a first for Tennessee Men’s Basketball
Louisville, KY — In a year in which the Tennessee Volunteers basetball team has seen a lot of history with record setting win streak of 19 games and a record for wins in a season(31 so far). The team has been ranked first in the AP poll, another first. This is actually the eighth time the Vols have been to the Sweet Sixteen. Tennessee will play Purdue Thursday night at 7:29 p.m. (EST) at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY and game will be broadcast on TBS. A win would put Tennessee in the Elite 8.
Winning against Purdue will take a much better game than fans have seen from the Vols in the last two games. Purdue is 26-4 and won both their tournament games easily. They have outside and inside players who will make an impact. They have two players Edwards and Ryan Cline who have each made over 100 treys on the season. Tennessee has experienced a problem with limiting three point makes this year. Edwards scored 42 and 26 points against Old Dominion and Villanova. Matt Hearns will anchor the middle and at 7’3″ he is biggest center the Vols have faced this year. He has 18 points and 9 rebounds against Villanova.
Tennessee counters with five players who have double figure scoring averages over the season, Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Jordan Bone, Lamonte Turner, and Jordan Bowden. Williams is the leading scorer and rebounder at 19 poins and 7.6 rebounds.
The season has been full of highs and a few bumps along the way, so after less than inspiring performance in the tournament they have survived and now have chance to do something no other Tennessee basketball team has done, go to Final Four and win a National Championship.
For now though, making the Great Eight is the goal and Purdue is the opponent. The last time Tennessee was in this spot was back in the Bruce Pearl days in 2010. That team made the Region Finals before a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State 70-69. Many fans probably still had that memory to haunt them.
But now Tennessee has a different coach who has exceeded expectations for most Tennessee fans. Coach Rick Barnes has a chance to set a personal win total for his career with his 32nd win. Barnes had a trip to the Final 4 with Texas in 2003. Texas lost that game to Syracuse and coach Jim Boeheim. Syracuse went on to win National Championship with win over Kansas. Barnes and his Volunteer team have gone 56-14 over the last two years. The fans have been out in force to support this team. Over 19,000 per game have rooted the Vols on and many more than that will be glued to their screens to cheer own their team tonight.