MEN’S BASKETBALL OPPONENT PREVIEW: TENNESSEE
Georgia Tech makes first trip to Knoxville since 2004 to face old rival
By Wiley Ballard
- Georgia Tech and Tennessee are set to meet for the 71st time on Dec. 3 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., Tech’s first visit to Knoxville since 2004. The series between the two former Southeastern Conference rivals is one of the oldest in Yellow Jackets’ history. Tech escaped with a 69-67 victory over the Vols last November in McCamish Pavilion.
Home arena: Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)
2015-16 Record: 15-19 overall, 6-12 in SEC (12th), 142nd in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: lost to LSU in quarterfinals of SEC Tournament, 84-75
NCAA Postseason Appearances: 20 (last in 2014)
All-time series record: Tennessee leads 42-28 (first meeting on 2/19/1921)
Head coach: Rick Barnes (entering 2nd season, 15-19)
Starters returning/lost: 1/4
Top scorer returning: Robert Hubbs III (10.6)
Top rebounder returning: Admiral Schofield (4.0)
Quick preview for 2016-17
After back to back seasons with first-year head coaches, Tennessee is happy to return Rick Barnes for his second season. On the court meanwhile, Tennessee returns very little including only one player, Admiral Schofield, who started more than half of the team’s games. Instead the Volunteers add seven scholarship newcomers, including six true freshmen. Of the team’s veterans, Robert Hubbs III is the team’s only four-year player. Other upperclassmen include junior Detrick Mostella and graduate transfer Lew Evans (Utah State).
To put the roster turnover into perspective, take a look at last year’s meeting when Georgia Tech defeated Tennessee 69-67 at McCamish Pavilion. Amazingly, of the 19 players to play in that game, only six will suit up in Knoxville on Dec. 3 (four for Georgia Tech, two for Tennessee).
Quick recap of 2015-16
Tennessee was picked to finish 12th in the SEC and did just that, going 15-19, 6-12 in Rick Barnes’ first season. The highlight of the season came in the conference tournament when the Vols won back-to-back SEC games for the first time all season, eliminating Auburn and Vanderbilt in the process. LSU downed Tennessee in the quarterfinals despite a pair of 19-point efforts from Hubbs III and Mostella. Ultimately Tennessee’s defense struggled to slow down opponents, allowing more than 80 points 14 times and finishing the season with a negative scoring margin. Individually Kevin Punter, Jr., carried the torch for Tennessee ranking second in the SEC in scoring with 22.2 points per game on his way to second team all-conference honors.
Greatest program accomplishment
2010 Elite Eight – Tennessee had a remarkable run under head coach Bruce Pearl reaching the NCAA Tournament each season in his five-year tenure. At the peak of Pearl’s power, the Volunteers fell one point shy of reaching the program’s first Final Four. After going 15-1 at home with wins over #1 Kansas and #2 Kentucky, Tennessee entered the NCAA Tournament seeded sixth in the Midwest region. The Volunteers opened the tournament with a dramatic 62-59 win over San Diego State. They then cruised to a blowout victory over Ohio securing a spot in the Sweet 16. Against Ohio State, the Volunteers used a 12-4 run late in the second half to punch their ticket to the school’s first-ever Elite Eight. In the regional final, the Volunteers again used a late run to push Michigan State to the brink, but fell 70-69 on a free throw with less than two seconds remaining. Not only did Tennessee make its first national quarterfinal in school history, the Volunteers also overcame the dismissal of its leading scorer season and additional suspensions only months earlier – making Tennessee’s magic March even more impressive. Greatest player in program history
Allan Houston (1989-1993) – Allan Houston, a Louisville native, is Tennessee's all-time leading scorer with 2,801 total points. He ranks second in scoring in SEC history only to Pete Maravich and is 13th on the all-time NCAA scoring list. Houston finished his career as the SEC's all-time leading three-point shooter with 346 treys. Averaging 22.3 points per game as a senior, he captured the SEC scoring title in 1993. Houston was named MVP of the 1991 SEC Tournament and was one of only two players in Tennessee basketball history to be a first-team All-SEC selection all four years. After college, Houston was drafted 11th overall by the Detroit Pistons. He went on to play 12 seasons in the NBA, three for the Pistons and nine for the Knicks. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard scored 14,551 points (17.3 points per game) and grabbed nearly 2,500 rebounds during his NBA career. In the 1995-96 season, he helped lead the Pistons to the playoffs and keyed the Knicks five-year playoff run in the late 1990’s. Houston averaged 19.3 points per game in the playoffs, and helped lead New York to the NBA Finals in 1999.
Place to visit on campus or in the city
Market Square – Named "the most democratic place on earth" by a local newspaper, Market Square was established in 1854 as a market place for regional farmers. Over many years, the square has evolved into a multipurpose pedestrian mall, providing a venue for events such as concerts and political rallies. The square has long served as a gathering place for activists, street performers, war veterans, and artists. In addition, it has also hosted famous performers Duke Ellington and Steve Winwood. Politicians and other activists who have given speeches at the Square include Booker T. Washington, Ronald Reagan, and William Jennings Bryan. Today, the Market Square is used year-round as a place for special outdoor events such as a seasonal farmer's market, the "Sundown in the City" concert series, and community band concerts. The Square also has a wide variety of shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars for tourists and locals alike.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its first year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.