Tennessee basketball gears up for SEC Tournament play

Vols claimed the conference title in Tampa in 2022.
Vols claimed the conference title in Tampa in 2022.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 11:04 PM EST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee basketball arrived in Nashville Wednesday morning, gearing up for the SEC Tournament with hopes of defending their title.

Their season-long goal now has a few more hurdles in its way. There’s no Zakai Zeigler in the lineup, and the Vols failed to clinch a double-bye after falling to Auburn to close the season.

Zeigler has been a force for this team, accounting for 161 assists, and filling that void will be a challenge.

Coach Rick Barnes said that’s why they have to look at this extra game as a positive as it gives them a little more time to mesh before the NCAA Tournament.

To prepare for Thursday Barnes said they rewatched film throughout the season, focusing on how fine the line is between winning and losing.

This serves as a good reminder for a team that struggled in areas on defense that it hadn’t in a long time.

Santiago Vescovi said they’ll rely on their experience in Tampa to keep them ready in Nashville.

“We really didn’t get ahead of ourselves and look forward. We were just playing one game at a time and I think if you want to win it and do the same thing again, we’re going to have to have the same mindset. This time we’re going to have to play one more game than we did last time, but I think it’s going to help us get more rhythm heading into the tournament,” said Vescovi.

The Vols will take on Ole Miss Thursday at 3:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.