Hoops Central: #17 Tennessee vs. Florida State

Credit: UT Athletics

NICEVILLE, Fla. – No. 17 Tennessee men’s basketball travels south to Niceville, Florida to take part in the 2019 Emerald Coast Classic. The Vols will match up with Florida State in their semifinal game, with tipoff slated for 7 p.m. ET inside The Arena at Northwest Florida State College. The contest will be aired on CBS Sports Network.

Friday’s game will be available through CBS Sports Network or online through cbssports.com/watch/cbssportsnetwork/ after entering your cable providers information. Brad Johansen (play-by-play), Steve Lappas (color) and Justin Miller (sideline reporter) will have the call.

Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear John Wilkerson (play-by-play) and Bert Bertelkamp (color) describing the action.

Last time out, the Vols took care of business against Chattanooga, using a suffocating defensive performance to walk away with a 58-46 victory on Monday night. Seniors Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner, each recorded their first career double-double’s, just one game after both players entered UT’s 1,000-Point Club. Bowden dropped 13 points and pulled in a career-high 12 rebounds, while Turner tallied 17 points and 12 assists with just one turnover.

This will be the ninth all-time meeting between the Vols and Seminoles, with the most recent matchup coming in 1989. Tennessee currently leads the all-time series between the programs at 5-3.

A win would improve the Vols record to 6-0, marking their best start to a season since 2010-11, when Tennessee began the year with seven consecutive victories.

Up next, Tennessee will take on either Purdue or VCU on Saturday at 4 or 7 p.m. ET. A win would place the Vols in the championship game at 7 p.m. ET, which can also be seen on CBS Sports Network.

THE SERIES
• Tennessee leads its all-time series with Florida State, 5-3. The teams haven’t met since 1989. The series is tied, 1-1, when contested at a neutral site.
• Tennessee is 112-99 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. That includes a four-game win streak dating to December 2017.
• Rick Barnes is 4-4 all-time vs. FSU. All eight meetings came when Barnes was the head coach at Clemson (1994-98). Barnes is 73-74 against all current members of the ACC.

A WIN WOULD…
• Leave Rick Barnes‘ two wins away from recording his 700th career head coaching victory.
• Give Tennessee a 53-14 record as a ranked team during the Barnes era (AP rankings).
• Extend Tennessee’s win streak over ACC foes to five games.

STORYLINES
• The Vols are riding a three-game win streak over opponents from the Sunshine State spanning the last two seasons
• Tennessee’s returning players are familiar with FSU big man Dominik Olejniczak. He spent the past two seasons at Ole Miss, where he averaged 2.0 points and 1.0 rebound in three games against the Vols (all UT wins).
• Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton has ties to Pat Summitt and the University of Tennessee system. See note on Page 4.
• Coached by current Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee defeated Florida State, 23-16, in the Fiesta Bowl to claim the 1998 BCS National Championship.
• Former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke is now the QB coach at Tennessee. He led the Seminoles to the 1999 BCS National Championship and won the Heisman Trophy the following season.

LAYUP LINES
• Tennessee is ranked No. 17 in this week’s AP poll and No. 16 in the current coaches poll.
• Other than the SEC Tournament in March, this week marks the only time this season Tennessee will play on back-to-back days.
• Tennessee leads the SEC in blocks per game (6.8 bpg), assists per game (18.8 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.5).
• The Vols have assisted on 70.7 percent of their made field goals this season. That assist percentage ranks second in the nation, trailing only Texas Tech.
• Bob Cousy Award candidate Lamonté Turner ranks second among Division I players with 9.2 assists per game, trailing only Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton (10.3 apg).
• Josiah-Jordan James leads the Vols and ranks 11th in the SEC with 7.2 rebounds per game. He is the top-rebounding freshman in the league.

ABOUT FLORIDA STATE
• In this week’s AP Top 25 poll, Florida State was the top vote-getter among unranked teams.
• Following a season-opening loss on the road at Pitt, Florida State has gained momentum as it is currently riding a five-game win streak. The most notable of those wins came on the road at Florida in FSU’s second game of the season.
• The Seminoles are coming off a record-breaking 2018-19 season during which they won a program-best 29 games, advanced to the championship game at the ACC Tournament and saw their season extend to the second week of the NCAA Tournament.
• The Noles are led by senior guard Trent Forrest, who is second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and steals (1.6 spg) while leading FSU with 4.6 apg. Forrest came into the year primed to carry the load on offense after the Noles lost NBA Draft picks Mfiondu Kabengele (13.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Terance Mann (11.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg) who accounted for nearly 25 points of offense per game.
• With the loss of two NBA picks, freshman Patrick Williams is expected to fill those holes immediately. Williams was ranked as a five-star prospect and the No. 2 player in the state of North Carolina. He is currently second on the Seminoles in blocks (0.8 bpg) and third in rebounds (3.8 rpg) while also averaging nearly 11 points per game (10.83 ppg).
• Founded in 1851, FSU is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Florida
• Notable FSU alumni include late actor Burt Reynolds and Leonard Skinner, the namesake of the legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

LAST TIME VS. FLORIDA STATE
• Tennessee’s seven-game win streak came to an end at the Tallahassee Civic Center, as the No. 14 Florida State Seminoles defeated the Vols, 101-90, on Jan. 15, 1989.
• It was UT’s first road loss of the season after starting 5-0 away from Thompson-Boling Arena under head coach Don DeVoe.
• Greg Bell paced Tennessee with 20 points, as he was 5-for-10 from 3-point range. Dyron Nix and Ian Lockhart each scored 16, and Clarence Swearengen added 15. Ron Taylor came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in just five minutes of action.
•  FSU raced to a 50-28 lead with 2:32 left in the first half, but the Vols rallied to close the gap to 51-38 at halftime. Tennessee came within six points in the second half, at 77-71 with 6:44 to play, but could get no closer.
• FSU’s Tony Dawson led all scorers with 30 points, and teammate George McCloud added 29.

HAMILTON PLAYED, COACHED IN TENNESSEE
• Longtime Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton has multiple ties to the Volunteer State.
• Hamilton played college basketball at UT-Martin from 1969-71. He was the program’s first black player and earned a degree in Physical Education.
• Part of Hamilton’s time in Martin coincided with the playing career of Skyhawks women’s hoops star Pat Summitt (1970-74). Hamilton and Summitt were inducted into the UTM Hall of Fame together in 1983.
• Hamilton’s coaching career began at Austin Peay, where he served as a graduate assistant from 1971-73 and then as a full-time assistant from 1973-74. He earned a Master’s in Physical and Health Education from APSU in 1973.
• Hamilton also has experience coaching in the SEC, as he was an assistant at Kentucky from 1974-86.

BARNES CLOSING IN ON 700TH CAREER COACHING WIN
• Rick Barnes is three wins shy of logging his 700th career victory as a college head coach.
• With 697 Division I wins to his credit, he ranks seventh among active head coaches. He would become the 22nd head coach ever to log 700 Division I wins.
• He is seven victories away from recording his 100th win at Tennessee.

BOWDEN & TURNER IN SYNC WHEN IT COMES TO MILESTONES
• In Tennessee’s fourth game of the season—a 76-41 win over Alabama State on Nov. 20—Jordan Bowden and Lamonté Turner each scored their 1,000th career point.
• Then, five days later in UT’s fifth game of the year—a 58-46 victory over Chattanooga—Bowden and Turner each recorded their first career double-double in the same game. Bowden finished with 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while Turner tallied 17 points and 12 assists.

LEADING THE SEC
• Lamontè Turner leads the SEC in assists per game with 9.2 apg. The next closest SEC player is Vanderbilt’s Saben Lee, with 7.0 apg.
• Turner’s 315 career assists lead all active SEC players.
• As a team, Tennessee leads the SEC in blocks per game (6.8 bpg), assists per game (18.8 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.5).

 

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