Knoxville, Tennessee Head coach Rick Barnes and his 3rd ranked Tennessee Volunteers will be looking to extend their current win streak to 12 games while avenging one of their most difficult losses of last season.
The Vols welcome in Alabama (11-5, 2-2 SEC) to Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday. It's a 2 pm tip and will be televised by ESPN2.
The Vols are now 15-1 and 4-0 in SEC play following their 19 point win Tuesday night over Arkansas. Despite the margin of victory, the head coach was not pleased with the way his team finished allowing the Razorbacks to narrow the gap late.
As for Saturday's game and the so called revenge factor for his players the coach says, "they have great memories and some things they bring up before playing a particular opponent. Alabama's a tough team for us, they have four guys that can shoot the ball extremely well, they run well. I think they know and they have enough respect for the league and if they don't, they'll find out quick enough."
KEYS FOR THE GAME:
1. IT'S MORE ABOUT TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN BUSINESS:
Coach Barnes says it's not about scoring margins and things like that, instead, it's about wanting to play well because basketball is a game of habits and if you start slowing down it'll snowball on you quicker than you imagine.
2. TRANSITION DEFENSE IS HUGE
Given the way Alabama can run the floor.
3. BALL SCREEN DEFENSE WILL BE IMPORTANT
Although you see different things every game, Alabama will have
different scheme ready for Tennessee.
4.EACH PLAYER GUARDING THEIR MAN ONE ON ONE
Vols must guard well and do a better job rebounding, an area where the Tide beat them up pretty good last season.
• Tennessee trails the all-time series with Alabama, 68-79, dating to 1914.
• The Vols have an 46-22 edge when the series is played in Knoxville.
• Tennessee has never been ranked higher than No. 4 in the AP poll (2001) for a clash against Alabama.
A WIN WOULD...
• Extend Tennessee's win streak to 12 games. The Vols' last 12-game win streak came during the 1976-77 campaign, when UT reeled off 12 straight victories from Dec. 11 through Jan. 30.
• Stretch the Vols' home win streak to 19 games, dating to last season (this is the longest home win streak of the Barnes era).
• Give the Vols a nine-game win streak in regular-season SEC games.
• The Volunteers are receiving 13 first-place votes in this week's AP Top 25 poll.
• Tennessee's SEC margin of victory through four league games stands at a robust 25 points.
• This is Rick Barnes' longest win streak since he led Texas to a 17-0 record to open the 2009-10 season.
• Tennessee is off to its best 16-game start since also starting the season 15-1 in 2007-08.
• The Vols have shot 50 percent or better in 13 games this season (and 10 of their last 11).
• Tennessee has yet to face a double-digit deficit this season.
• Six Vols currently average more than 10 points per game.
• With an average attendance of 17,677, Tennessee ranks fourth nationally.
• Junior point guard Jordan Bone totaled 124 assists in 35 games last season. He's got 101 assists through 16 games this year.
• Grant Williams leads the SEC in scoring (18.8 ppg), ranks second in field-goal percentage (.571), seventh in assists (3.9 apg) and seventh in rebounding (7.8 rpg).
• Admiral Schofield is the SEC's second-leading scorer (17.7 ppg), and is shooting .462 from 3-point range.
• Williams and Schofield both earned a spot on the 25-man Wooden Award Midseason Watch List.
• Kyle Alexander is the SEC's second-leading rebounder during conference play, as he averages 10.3 rebounds per game.
• Jordan Bowden leads the Vols and ranks third in the SEC with 19.0 points per game during league play. And he's doing it off the bench.
• Junior guard Lamonté Turner, last season's SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year, returned from a left shoulder injury just in time for SEC play. He's averaging 12.0 points per game against league opponents.
• Alabama (11-5, 2-2 SEC) has played well thus far in Avery Johnson's fourth year at the helm of the program. In conference play, UA boast wins over Kentucky and Missouri. During the non-conference slate, the Crimson Tide picked up victories against Arizona, Murray State, Penn State, Stephen F. Austin and Wichita State.
• Freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr. is a key part of the Tide's offense, leading them in scoring (14.4 ppg) and assists (2.8 apg). Lewis (26 3FG) is one of three players on the team who have more than 20 3-pointers on the season, joining John Petty (31) and Tevin Mack (23).
• Petty (10.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg) is one of the SEC's most dangerous scorers. Last year, he had 14 points and three 3-pointers to help the Crimson Tide hand the Vols their worst loss of the season.
• Donta Hall (11.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg) also had his way with Tennessee last season, posting 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. This season, he's one of the most physical post players UT will face. He has eight double-doubles in 16 games, including three during SEC play.
• Like Petty, Mack (9.3 ppg) is also a great 3-point shooter that can catch fire at any moment. Against Kentucky, he dropped 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting and six 3-pointers to fuel the Crimson Tide's upset win.
LAST MEETING VS. ALABAMA
• No. 15 Tennessee struggled to find any rhythm on offense, and its six-game winning streak was snapped by Alabama in a 78-50 loss at Coleman Coliseum on Feb. 10, 2018.
• The 28-point game was UT's worst loss of the season, as the Vols shot a season-low 28 percent (16-of-58) from the floor. In the final 10 minutes of the game, Tennessee made only one basket.
• Alabama started the second half on a 15-7 run to help extend its lead to 18 points, converting on four straight trips down the floor. The Crimson Tide had the hot hand and would never look back in the game, knocking down nine of its 12 shots before the under-16 media timeout.
• Grant Williams led the way for Tennessee with 16 points and four boards. Admiral Schofield finished with seven points and seven rebounds. Freshman Derrick Walker also added seven rebounds off the bench for UT.
• Alabama forward Donta Hall finished with a double-double, posting 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Tide owned the paint with a 50-18 scoring advantage over UT.
• The Vols began the game with a cold hand, shooting 2-of-11 from the floor compared to Alabama's 7-of-10 shooting. During the stretch, the Tide jumped out to a 17-6 lead.
• UT struggled to guard the paint in the opening frame, being outscored 26-8 by the Tide. Hall dominated down low in the first half, tallying 10 points, eight boards and two blocks to give Alabama a 37-27 lead at the break.
• Heading into intermission, UT was shooting 31 percent (9-of-29) from the field, while the Tide converted on 55 percent (16-of-29) of its shots. Schofield led UT with six points and four rebounds during the period.