Tennessee basketball receives SEC Tournament title rings

Tennessee basketball receives SEC Tournament title rings

Tennessee basketball’s SEC Tournament championship rings have arrived.

The Vols received the rings after an afternoon workout at Pratt Pavilion Thursday, documented by a video and photos on social media.

At Amalie Arena in Tampa back in March, Tennessee was the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament bracket and went through Mississippi State, Kentucky and Texas A&M on the way to the title, the program’s first conference tournament championship since 1979.

The Vols beat Mississippi State 72-59 in the quarterfinals, then beat Kentucky 69-62 in the semifinal round. Texas A&M advanced to championship Sunday as the No. 8 seed, beating Florida, No. 1-seed Auburn and No. 4-seed Arkansas.

The Aggies appeared to be out of gas by the time they met the red-hot Vols.

Santiago Vescovi scored 17 points, Kennedy Chandler added 14 to go with seven assists and Josiah-Jordan James had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Chandler and Vescovi combined to shoot 8-for-16 from the 3-point line and had 12 assists between them to power the Vols. James went 3-for-7 from the 3-point line on the way to his 16 points, while John Fulkerson led the way on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds to go with eight points.

The Vols started the game on a 14-0 run, scoring the 14 points in the first four minutes, 44 seconds.

It was Tennessee’s third SEC title game appearance in the past four tournaments, following losses to Kentucky in St. Louis in 2018 and Auburn in Nashville in 2019. Before the current run, the Vols went to three tournament title games in the previous 38 years.

It was the 13th all-time SEC Tournament title game for Tennessee, with seven appearances coming between 1936-50. After winning the 1979 tournament, the Vols went to the championship game in 1991, losing to Alabama in Nashville, and in 2009, losing 64-61 to Mississippi State in Tampa.

Tennessee beat Kentucky 75-69 in overtime in Birmingham in 1979 in what had been the Vols’ latest SEC Tournament championship. That title snapped a 36-year streak, dating back to a 33-30 win over Kentucky in Louisville in 1943. Tennessee beat Kentucky 36-33 in 1941 in Louisville for its second conference tournament title, after beating Alabama 29-25 in Knoxville in 1936.

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The season ended with a 27-8 overall record, as the Vols were upset as a No. 3 seed in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to No. 11-seed Michigan.

The 2022-23 season starts November 7 against Tennessee Tech at Thompson-Boling Arena. Other non-conference games include Florida Gulf Coast, McNeese State, Alcorn State, Eastern Kentucky and Austin Peay, along with the Big 12-SEC Challenge game against Texas. The Vols will play neutral-site games against Colorado (Nashville) and Maryland (Brooklyn, NY) and will play three games in three days in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas Thanksgiving week, starting with Butler.

The SEC slate includes home games against Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri, road games at Florida, LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M and home-and-home dates with Kentucky, Auburn, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Mississippi State.

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