COLUMBUS, OH (WVLT)-- For the second year in a row, Tennessee men's basketball is ready to take on 15th-seed Colgate in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena in the South Region. The game tips at 2:45 p.m. ET on Friday and will be televised live on CBS.
Tennessee is 29-5 on the season. That impressive record includes a school-record 19-game winning streak, a program-record-tying three victories over top-five opponents and the second most victories in a single season in program history. The Vols spent four weeks atop the Associated Press Top 25 rankings, and for the first time in program history, UT spent the entire season ranked among the top 10.
National Player of the Year candidate Grant Williams is just the 10th player in conference history to win SEC Player of the Year in back-to-back season and was the first since Arkansas' Corliss Williamson did so in 1994 and 1995. Williams was also tabbed first-team All-SEC after finishing the regular season as the top scorer in the SEC with 19.3 points per game. He has been one of the nation's most versatile and reliable players this season, averaging 7.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and an impressive 83 percent from the charity stripe.
Senior wing Admiral Schofield earned first-team All-SEC recognition from the coaches after averaging 16.3 points per game, which ranked second on the team and fifth in the SEC, to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Jordan Bonerounded out the Vols' All-SEC performers, earning a nod on the second team by both the coaches and the AP. The junior point guard led the SEC in assists per game (6.1), ranked second in assist/turnover ratio (3.0) and seventh in field-goal percentage (.475).
After missing out on the Big Dance last year, Colgate (24-10) won the 2019 Patriot League Tournament, defending its regular-season title and punching its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. Rapolas Ivanauskas was the Patriot League Player of the Year, averaging 16.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for the Raiders.
• Colgate University is a private liberal arts college in Hamilton, New York. Enrollment is 2,982. The Raiders are members of the Patriot League.
• Tennessee trails its all-time series with Colgate, 0-2, with losses in 1955 and 1960.
• Colgate is riding the nation's sixth-longest active win streak—11 games.
• The Vols and Raiders have no common opponents this season.
A WIN WOULD...
• Give Tennessee 30 wins for just the second time in program history.
• Give Rick Barnes his third 30-win season as a head coach.
• Stand as Rick Barnes' 100th career head coaching victory in the month of March.
• This year's Vols have posted three wins over teams ranked in the AP top five. That ties the 1976-77 squad for UT's most wins over top-five opponents in a single season.
• Two of Tennessee's four losses this season have come in overtime, and all five were away from home against opponents that are seeded No. 5 or better.
• Each of Tennessee's last seven games have come against NCAA Tournament teams, and the Vols are 5-2 during that stretch. That includes two wins over top-five-ranked rival Kentucky.
• For the first time in program history, Tennessee has spent the entire season ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25.
• The Vols will finish this season with no more than six losses.
• Tennessee's final average home attendance of 19,034 ranks fourth nationally.
• Tennessee is 55-14 (.797) since the start of last season.
• Tennessee 2-2 all-time against Iowa. The most recent meeting came at the 2014 First Four in Dayton, with the Vols rallying from a 12-point deficit to defeat the Hawkeyes, 78-65 in overtime. That kickstarted a run to the Sweet Sixteen.
• Rick Barnes owns a 3-1 career record vs. Iowa.
• Tennessee trails its all-time series with Cincinnati, 1-5. The programs on Dec. 11 announced a home-and-home series that is set to start next season at UC's Fifth Third Arena.
• Barnes' only previous meeting with Cincinnati came in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, with the Bearcats beating Barnes' Texas squad, 65-59 in the first round.
• Tennessee owns a 6-8 record in NCAA Tournament second-round games. Last March, the Vols suffered a last-second loss to Loyola-Chicago in the second round in Dallas.
• Barnes is 8-6 in the second round.
• After missing out on the Big Dance last year, Colgate won the 2019 Patriot League Tournament, defending its regular-season title and punching its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. Colgate is rated 132nd in the NET rankings.
• The Raiders' (24-10) magical run began with a double-digit victory over then-first place Lehigh on national television Feb. 4. That was the start of a program-record 11 straight wins en route to the Raiders' first title in 23 years.
• Colgate vaulted into first place in the final week of the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage in the Patriot League Tournament. Colgate went 3-0 in the league tournament, culminating with a 94-80 victory over the two-time defending league champion Bison.
• Head coach Matt Langel repeated as the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the second season in a row after leading the Raiders to school records in wins (24), league wins (13) and home wins (15) and a pair of Patriot League titles. Winners of 11 in a row entering the NCAA Tournament, Colgate currently owns the sixth-longest win streak in the nation.
• Rapolas Ivanauskas was the Patriot League Player of the Year, averaging 16.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for the Raiders.
• Second-team All-League honoree Jordan Burns leads Colgate in assists (5.8 apg) while ranking second on the team in scoring (15.8 ppg) and steals (1.2 spg).
• Will Rayman became the 34th Raider in program history to score 1,000 points in Colgate's win over Nazareth on his way to averaging 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game during the regular season and earning second-team All-League recognition. The junior forward was also named to the All-Defensive Team.
• As the Patriot League's Rookie of the Year, Tucker Richardson stepped up his play during the conference slate, averaging 8.8 points, 4.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
• As a team, Colgate's biggest strength is its ability to shoot the three. For the season, the Raiders have knocked down 305 treys while shooting a 39-percent clip. They have five different players who have hit at least 40 threes this year and four who have hit 50.
• According to the NET rankings, Colgate's best wins were against Bucknell, which is 152 in the rankings. The Raiders had three matchups with Power Five teams but lost each by double digits (Syracuse, 77-56, Penn State, 76-65, and Pittsburgh, 68-54).
TENNESSEE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• The Vols are making their 22nd all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Big Orange own a 20-22 (.476) NCAA Tournament record.
• The Vols are 1-0 in the "First Four," 12-6 in first-round games, 6-8 in second-round games, 1-0 in third-round action, 1-6 in regional semifinals, 0-1 in regional finals and 0-1 in the now-defunct regional consolation round.
• This is the program's third NCAA berth in the last eight years and its second under fourth-year head coach Rick Barnes.
• Tennessee's 22 NCAA Tournament berths tie LSU for third-most among SEC teams.
• In the last dozen years (2009-2018), among SEC programs, only Kentucky (28) and Florida (17) have won more NCAA Tournament games than Tennessee (9).
VOLS vs. THE FIELD OF 68
• Prior to the tournament, the Vols played 14 games against nine different teams comprising the field of 68, going 9-5 in those contests.
• The wins came against Gonzaga (1), Kentucky (2), Mississippi State (5), Louisville (7), Ole Miss (8) and Florida (10).
• In those nine wins, five were by a margin of 10 or more points, while three of the losses were determined by six or fewer points.
• Four of UT's victories against teams in the field occurred on a neutral court, including wins over Gonzaga and Kentucky (both top-five teams).
• All five losses came against opponents who earned a No. 5 seed or better (No. 3 LSU, No. 4 Kansas, No. 5 Auburn).
• Nine of Tennessee's last 10 games have come against tournament teams, with the Vols going 5-4 in those games. However, UT won five of the last seven games, including three games played away from home.
TENNESSEE AS A NO. 2 SEED
• Tennessee matched its highest seeding ever in the NCAA Tournament, competing as the No. 2 seed for the third time in program history (2006, 2008).
• Tennessee is 3-2 all-time as a No. 2 seed.
• The last time UT earned a No. 2 seed, the Vols won their first two games before falling in the Sweet Sixteen to Louisville.
VOLS PERFECT AGAINST 15 SEEDS
• Tennessee is 2-0 against No. 15 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols most recently defeated American, 72-57, in the Round of 64 in 2008, en route to the Sweet Sixteen.
• The other game also came in the Round of 64—a 63-61 win over Winthrop in 2006.
VOLS IN THE SOUTH REGION
• This is the fourth time UT has competed in the South Region (2000, 2007, 2018).
• The Vols reached the Sweet Sixteen in two of those years while competing as the No. 4 and 5 seeds.
• Tennessee also was in the South Region last season, when it earned a No. 3 seed and advanced to the second round.
TENNESSEE'S NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY IN THE STATE OF OHIO
• Tennessee has competed in five NCAA Tournament games in the state of Ohio, going 3-2 in those matchups.
• This will be the third game in Columbus for the Vols. In the previous contests, UT advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2007 after beating 12th-seed Long Beach State, 121-86, in the first round and fourth-seed Virginia, 77-74, in the second round.
• The other three games were played in Dayton, where the Vols are 1-2. The Big Orange dropped a pair of 8/9 matchups in the first round to No. 9 seed Charlotte, 70-63, in 2001 ,and No. 8 seed Oklahoma State, 77-75, in 2009. However, Tennessee won its most recent game in Dayton, outlasting Iowa, 78-65, in the First Four to claim the 11th seed in 2014. The Vols advance to the Sweet Sixteen that year.
BARNES' NCAA RÉSUMÉ IMPRESSIVE
• Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has guided four different programs to a total of 24 berths in The Big Dance. He led Providence and Clemson to three berths each before guiding Texas to 16 tournament appearances in 17 years. This is his second straight appearance with the Vols.
• Barnes last March became the 13th head coach ever to lead four different programs to the Division I NCAA Tournament.
• Of his 23 berths prior to this season, Barnes led his teams six Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and one Final Four in 2003.
• In Tennessee's 109-year hardwood history, the Volunteers have made just 21 previous NCAA Tournament appearances (two fewer than Barnes).
• From 1995 through 2016, every player Barnes coached for four years made at least three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
POSTSEASON RUN COULD PUT BARNES IN ELITE COMPANY
• Rick Barnes has the opportunity to join an elite club this season. If Tennessee were to make the Sweet Sixteen, Barnes would become the 11th head coach to lead at least three different teams to a Round of 16 appearance (Clemson, Texas, Tennessee).
• Barnes is one of five coaches who could potentially lead their third school to the Round of 16 this season, joining Mike Anderson (Arkansas), Cliff Ellis (Coastal Carolina), Mark Gottfried (Cal State Northridge) and Bruce Pearl (Auburn).
• The 10 coaches who have led at least three different schools to the Round of 16 are: Lon Kruger (has done it with four schools), Gene Bartow, John Calipari, Frank McGuire, Ralph Miller, Rick Pitino, Bill Self, Eddie Sutton, Tubby Smith and Bruce Weber.
SEVEN SWEET SIXTEENS
• Tennessee has competed in the Round of 16 seven times in its history, five times since 2000—2000, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014.
• The Vols made their deepest tournament run in 2010, when they beat San Diego State (Kawhi Leonard), Ohio and Ohio State (Evan Turner) to advance to the Elite Eight, where they fell to Michigan State (Draymond Green).