Hoops Preview: #22 Tennessee vs. Florida Gulf Coast

Hoops Preview: #22 Tennessee vs. Florida Gulf Coast

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 22nd-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball returns home Wednesday, hosting Florida Gulf Coast at Thompson-Boling Arena at 7 p.m.

Fans can catch Wednesday’s game on SEC Network+ and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Andy Brock (play-by-play) and VFL Steve Hamer (analyst) will have the call.
 
Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp describing the action.
 
Tennessee (1-1) has split its opening two games of the regular season, defeating Tennessee Tech in its season opener and falling to Colorado in Nashville.
 
The Vols and Florida Gulf Coast have never met on the hardwood, but Tennessee is 19-1 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. During the Rick Barnes era, Tennessee is also a perfect 8-0 at home against teams from the state of Florida.
 
After taking on Florida Gulf Coast, Tennessee heads to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Vols are set to play three games in Paradise Island, Bahamas—starting by facing Butler on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tennessee then will play one game apiece on Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25 before returning home.

TICKETS AND PARKING

Tickets and parking passes to all Tennessee Athletics events, including men’s basketball, are now digital and can be accessed through a mobile device to improve security and reduce the risk of ticket fraud as well as make the process more convenient for fans.

Fans will gain admission into Thompson-Boling Arena via a unique QR code which will be scanned directly from a mobile device. For quick and easy entry into Tennessee Athletics venues, fans are encouraged to download the Tennessee Athletics app from the App Store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android).

Your mobile device is the ticket on gameday. All valid digital tickets will display a moving barcode or a hold near reader (tap-and-go) icon. PLEASE NOTE: SCREENSHOTS OF TICKETS WILL NOT SCAN AT THE GATE AND WILL NOT ALLOW ENTRY!

Printed PDF tickets will no longer be issued or accepted for entry at any Tennessee Athletics venue.

The only authorized sources for tickets to Tennessee Athletics events are the Tennessee Athletics Ticket Office, AllVols.com, the venue box office where the athletic event is taking place and Ticketmaster.

A complete step-by-step guide on how to best access and use your digital tickets and parking passes, including diagrams and FAQ is available here.

TENNESSEE ATHLETICS APP

Fans are encouraged to download the Tennessee Athletics app, which now houses the Coca-Cola GBO Zone. Search “Tennessee Athletics” in the Apple or Google Play Store or use this link to download: utsports.com/app.

THE SERIES
• Tennessee and Florida Gulf Coast have never met on the hardwood.
• The Volunteers are 19-1 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The lone loss came at the hands of Austin Peay in December of 2011.
•  Rick Barnes is a perfect 10-0 as a head coach vs. A-Sun opposition but also has never faced FGCU.
• Florida Gulf Coast will become the 211th Division I program Barnes has faced during his 36-year head coaching career.
• During the Barnes era, Tennessee is a perfect 8-0 at home against teams from the state of Florida.
• A Tennessee victory Wednesday would extend the Vols’ home win streak to 19 straight games overall and to 16 straight games against non-conference foes (dating to a loss to Wisconsin on Dec. 28, 2019).
• After facing Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday, the Vols depart for the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Monday.
 
SCOUTING REPORT
• Following Sunday’s neutral-site loss to Colorado in Nashville, Vols head coach Rick Barnes stated an intent to shake up Tennessee’s starting lineup Wednesday.
• Senior starter Uros Plavsic went down with a right ankle injury three minutes into Sunday’s game vs. Colorado and did not return. His status is doubtful for Wednesday.
• Florida Gulf Coast averages 84.0 points per game under first-year head coach Pat Chambers and is shooting .384 as a team from long range.
• In FGCU’s 105-61 home win over Ave Maria (NAIA), the Eagles drained a school-record 17 3-point shots.
• Through the first two games of the season, the Volunteers are shooting just .328 from the field and .296 from 3-point range.
• The Volunteers are averaging 14.0 steals per game and are scoring 19.0 points per game off turnovers.
 
LAYUP LINES
• The Vols lead the country with an assist percentage of .810, having assisted on 34 of the team’s 42 made field goals.
• 63.3 percent of Tennessee’s shot attempts this season have been 3-pointers—that’s the highest percentage among all DI teams.
• UT’s bench is giving the Vols 36.0 points per game.
• Graduate transfer Tyreke Key has emerged early as one of the Vols’ most potent scorers, averaging a team-high 16.0 points per game.
• Key and Josiah-Jordan James are both shooting a team-best .462 from 3-point range (6-of-13), but they are the only Vols shooting better than .300 from long range.
• Senior Santiago Vescovi and sophomore Zakai Zeigler were named to the preseason All-SEC first team by the league’s head coaches. The coaches also selected senior Josiah-Jordan James as a second-team selection. All three Vols also landed on the media’s preseason All-SEC teams.
• Vescovi and Zeigler also both made the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s 50-man Naismith Trophy watch list.
 
ABOUT FLORIDA GULF COAST
• Florida Gulf Coast (2-1) is coming off a 105-61 win over NAIA Ave Maria on Sunday. The win comes after a two-game California road trip to open the season, during which the Eagles won at USC, 74-61, and lost at San Diego, 79-73. The Eagles made a program-record 17 3-pointers during Sunday’s win over Ave Maria.
• Veteran head coach Pat Chambers is in his first season at the helm of the Florida Gulf Coast program. Chambers previously served as head coach at Boston University (2009-11) and Penn State (2011-20).
• Florida Gulf Coast was picked to finish fourth in the ASUN preseason coaches’ poll as well as the preseason media poll. Junior Chase Johnston earned a spot on the preseason all-conference team.
• Johnston is in his first season at FGCU after playing the past two years at Stetson. A second-team All-ASUN selection last season, Johnston is the Eagles’ leading scorer through three games at 18.0 ppg. Johnston made a Stetson program-record 99 3-pointers last season.
• Florida Gulf Coast added four players via the transfer portal prior to this season—guards Isaiah Thompson (Purdue), Dahmir Bishop (St. Joseph’s) and Johnston (Stetson) as well as big man Sam Onu (Memphis).
• Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Florida Gulf Coast’s basketball program burst onto the national stage during the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when the No. 15-seeded Eagles upset No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State en route to a Sweet Sixteen appearance. FGCU also made the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2017.
 
BACK-TO-BACK LOSSES RARE
• Tennessee has not lost consecutive games since the 2021 postseason. And the Vols haven’t suffered consecutive non-conference losses since dropping games vs. Wisconsin (Dec. 28, 2019) and at No. 3 Kansas (Jan. 25, 2020).
 
VOLS PREPARING FOR THIRD TRIP TO ATLANTIS
• Tennessee departs Monday for its third appearance at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament at Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
• The Vols posted a fifth-place finish at the eight-team event in 2013 and then finished in third place under head coach Rick Barnes in 2017.
• This year’s field includes Butler, BYU, Dayton, Kansas, NC State, Southern Cal and Wisconsin. The Vols open against Butler on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN).
• Tennessee and NC State are on opposite sides of this year’s bracket. Tennessee associate head coach Justin Gainey starred at point guard for the Wolfpack from 1997-2000.

-UT Athletics

Vols G DJ Jefferson / Credit: UT Athletics

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