KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A pair of reigning conference champions face off at Thompson-Boling Arena on Friday night when No. 6 Tennessee plays host to Louisiana for a 7 p.m. ET tip on SEC Network +.
MORE INFO GAMEDAY TIMES & BROADCAST INFO Opponent: Louisiana Ragin’ CajunsTipoff: Nov. 9, 7:01 p.m. ETVenue: Thompson-Boling ArenaWatch Online: SEC Network+ (WatchESPN)Radio: Vol NetworkOnline: Live Audio | Live Stats RELATED LINKS Buy Tickets Game Day Information SEC Clubhouse Follow @Vol_Hoops TENNESSEE Roster Schedule 2018-19 Stats Game Notes (PDF) LOUISIANA Roster Schedule 2018-19 Stats Game Notes (PDF) THE LATEST FROM THE VOLS Vols Cruise to Season-Opening Win Over Lenoir-Rhyne, 86-41 Tennessee Tops Tusculum in Exhibition, 87-48 Vols Earn Highest AP Preseason Ranking Ever at No. 6 Basketball Single-Game Tickets on Sale Tuesday; Promotions Schedule Unveiled Walk-Through Metal Detectors in Use at Thompson-Boling Arena Tickets are available at AllVols.com. Also, as part of Tennessee Athletics’ Salute to Service Weekend, current military members and veterans may present a Military ID or DD 214 at Gate C, Gate E or the ticket tent located on Phillip Fulmer Way prior to entering Thompson-Boling Arena for complimentary admission for themselves and any immediate family members.
Tennessee (1-0) opened the season with a victory, topping Lenoir-Rhyne 86-41 on Tuesday night. All five starters finished the game in double figures, led by Jordan Bone’s 18 points. Kyle Alexander chipped in a career-high 16 points while tallying four blocks in the contest.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (1-0) come to Knoxville off a 121-80, season-opening win over the University of the Virgin Islands. The reigning Sun Belt Conference champions had six players in double figures, led by a pair of 19-point performances from JaKeenan Gant and Malik Marquetti. As a team, ULL shot 67.1 percent from the field (including 58.3 percent from three) while forcing 22 turnovers.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (1-0) enter Friday night’s matchup in Thompson-Boling Arena with aspirations to improve upon an impressive 2017-18 campaign.
Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Bob Marlin led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a record-breaking year as Louisiana won a school-record 27 games and earned its first outright Sun Belt Conference regular-season title since the 1999-2000 season. The Ragin’ Cajuns won 20 of 22 games from December through February while dominating the league statistics, finishing as the league leader in 10 categories, including scoring offense (83.2), field-goal percentage (.464), free-throw percentage (.761) and assists (17.4).
While first-team All-Sun Belt Conference players Frank Bartley and Bryce Washington graduated, the Ragin’ Cajuns return three starters, including Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year JaKeenan Gant (13.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.3 bpg).
With nine upperclassmen on the roster and three transfers from “Power Five” programs, Louisiana has the experience and talent to once again compete for a Sun Belt title in 2018-19 and will offer a good early-season test for the Volunteers.
In their season opener against Virgin Islands, the Ragin’ Cajuns were lights out from the floor, knocking down 67 percent of their shots in a 121-80 victory. Gant finished with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 25 minutes of action. Senior guard Marcus Stroman, a transfer from South Carolina, was on the cusp of recording a triple-double with 10 assists, eight points and eight rebounds.
TENNESSEE RETURNS TO NIT SEASON TIP-OFF THIS MONTH
Tennessee will make its fourth all-time appearance in the NIT Season Tip-Off later this month. The four-team field consists of the Vols, Kansas, Louisville and Marquette, taking place in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Barclays Center.
Tennessee opens play with a matchup against Louisville on Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. ET. The other side of the bracket features a contest between Kansas and Marquette. The winners and losers of each game on Nov. 21 will meet two days later on Nov. 23.
In its last NIT Season Tip-Off appearance, UT won the 2010 championship with victories over VCU and Villanova.
The Vols also appeared in the 1992 and 2006 NIT Season Tip-Offs. The Big Orange defeated Rutgers before falling to Seton Hall in 1992. In 2006, UT suffered losses to Butler and North Carolina at Madison Square Garden.
Both Tennessee (No. 6) and the Jayhawks (No. 1) enter the season ranked in the top 10 of the AP preseason poll. If the two teams were to face off and the rankings hold, the game would mark UT’s fifth contest against a top-10 non-conference foe during the last three seasons.
SCHOFIELD, WILLIAMS APPROACHING 1,000-POINT MILESTONE
Senior wing Admiral Schofield and junior forward Grant Williams enter the season less than 100 points away from eclipsing the 1,000-point mark for their careers.
A total of 48 Vols have accomplished that feat during their time on Rocky Top, with Robert Hubbs III being the most recent addition to the 1K Club in 2016-17.
Schofield (960 points) and Williams (933 points) could both reach the milestone within the first month of the season. The last time a UT duo achieved the feat in the same season was during the 2013-14 campaign, as eventual NBA Draft picks Jordan McRae (1,521 points) and Jarnell Stokes (1,129 points) joined the club while helping lead Tennessee to a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
All-time, UT has had 10 duos reach 1,000 points in the same season, including Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King in 1975-76.
Along with this year’s All-SEC duo, junior guard Lamonté Turner also could surpass 1,000 career points this season. At 644 career points, the 2018 SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year needs just 356 points to reach 1,000. Last year, Turner finished the season with 381 points. If all three were to eclipse the mark, it would mark the first time a Tennessee trio has done so in the same year.
SCHOFIELD, WILLIAMS NAMED TO NAISMITH WATCH LIST
Tennessee’s All-SEC duo of Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams continued garnering preseason recognition Monday, as the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced its watch list for the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy Men’s Player of the Year.
Tennessee was one of 11 schools to have multiple players on the list, including Duke, Gonzaga, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Villanova and Virginia. The Vols could also potentially face 13 players named to the list during the regular season.
WILLIAMS TABBED TO WOODEN AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST
Grant Williams racked up his third preseason national player of the year consideration, as the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s announced its Preseason Top 50 Watch List.
Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the most prestigious honors in college basketball, the Wooden Award All American Team™ and Most Outstanding Player Award.
The Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2019 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s during the ESPN College Basketball Awards on Friday, April 12, 2019.