The University of Tennessee men’s basketball team finished the regular season on a high note as they march into postseason play. After starting with seven straight wins, Tennessee’s went 10-7 over the last 17 games.
The Vol’s strong second half performance on senior night beat Florida 65-54. Senior John Fulkerson led the way with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and seven rebounds. When asked if the Vols could build on their powerful second half showing, Fulkerson said that they could.
“Absolutely, that’s what we’ve been talking about,” Fulkerson said. “This last week that we’ve had off, we’ve had our best practices of the year… and now is the time that it counts. We’ve really found our identity this last week, and we went out there and showed that today.”
The confidence-boosting win cemented Tennessee’s place as fourth in the conference standings, giving the Vols a crucial first round bye in the upcoming SEC tournament. The tournament will be held in Nashville, Tennessee from March 10-14.
However, there are many different rules and regulations compared to past years, due to COVID-19. Fans will be allowed, but only up to 20% capacity of the arena. This means about 3,400 fans will be able to attend. Face coverings and clear bags are also a part of the requirements to enter the stadium.
Fans or no fans, the Vols have struggled to put successful performances together consistently for the majority of the season. The competition will get stiffer as the team dives into March, and there is not much room for error now. Consistency will be vital for the Vols to get far in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.
“I thought [the players’] attitudes were terrific this week, we got locked back into some things and got healthy… just getting everyone on the same page this time of year is all you can ask for,” head coach Rick Barnes said.
The Tennessee Volunteers will match up against Vanderbilt, Texas A&M or Florida on Friday at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN to kick off the postseason.
Edited by Ashley Depew and Christian Knox
Featured image from TNJN Archives