Hoops Preview: #11 Tennessee at #25 Texas A&M

Another top-25 matchup awaits the 11th-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team, as the Vols are set to take on No. 25 Texas A&M on Tuesday in Bryan-College Station, Texas, at 7 p.m. ET.
Fans can catch Tuesday’s game on ESPN and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Karl Ravech (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (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 (20-7, 9-5 SEC) is coming off a week in which it split a pair of conference games—defeating No. 1 Alabama on Wednesday and falling at Kentucky on Saturday. Santiago Vescovi and Jahmai Mashack led the Vols’ comeback bid Saturday in Lexington, scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Tuesday marks a rematch of last season’s SEC Tournament championship game in Tampa, Florida, which Tennessee won, 65-50. Dating to the 2020-21 season, the Vols have won three straight over the Aggies.
Up next, Tennessee returns to Thompson-Boling Arena for one final Saturday home game this season—taking on South Carolina at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
• Tennessee leads its all-time series with Texas A&M, 11-6, dating to 1951.
• The Vols have won each of the last three meetings.
• The Vols have a 4-2 edge when the series is contested in Bryan-College Station, with wins in each of their last three visits to Reed Arena.
• Tennessee defeated the Aggies in the championship game of last season’s SEC Tournament in Tampa, Florida. See note below.
• With Tuesday’s game, Texas A&M will tie Oklahoma as the programs Rick Barnes has faced the most times as a head coach (41 times). See note below.
• Tennessee ranks sixth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (37.2), and Texas A&M ranks seventh (37.1).
• Santiago Vescovi is shooting .435 from 3-point range over UT’s last three games while averaging a team-best 16.0 points.
• The Vols remain at No. 3 in the NCAA’s NET ratings after holding steady at No. 2 from Jan. 3 through Feb. 8. Tennessee has six Q1 wins.
• Tennessee is the only team in the country that owns at least three wins over teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the NET ratings.
• In the NCAA’s initial top-16 seed projection Saturday, Tennessee was rated as the first No. 3 seed—ninth overall.
• During SEC play, Tennessee leads the league in scoring defense (59.1 ppg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.4).
• The Vols are 19-3 this season when they out-rebound the opponent.
• The Vols are entering the final two weeks of the regular season shorthanded, as starters Josiah-Jordan James (ankle) and Julian Phillips (hip) battle injuries.
• A senior and preseason All-SEC selection, James has been inactive for 11 games this season, including three UT losses.
• Zakai Zeigler’s 145 total assists lead the SEC and rank fourth nationally among underclassmen. He is on pace to log 166 assists by the end of the regular season.
• Zeigler has four points/assists double-doubles this season, which rank second in program history for a career—Rodney Woods had five from 1972-75.
• With its win over No. 1 Alabama last week, Tennessee is now one of only 17 Division I programs with at least six all-time wins over AP No. 1 teams.
• For the 13th straight week, the Volunteers own the best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country per KenPom, allowing only 86.0 points per 100 possessions.
• Tennessee owns Division I’s best field-goal percentage defense (.358) and 3-point defense (.249) along with the nation’s third-best scoring defense (56.7 ppg).
• 11 times this season, the Vols have held their opponents to 50 points or less.
• Only four teams have reached the 70-point mark against these Vols.
• Only six opposing players have scored 20 or more points against the Vols this season.
• In SEC road games, this season, Tennessee has not allowed the home team to reach the 70-point mark.
• Over the last three games, the Vols own a +9.3 scoring margin in the second half and average 42.3 points after halftime.
• Texas A&M (20-7, 12-2 SEC) has won five straight games and is coming off a 69-60 win at Missouri on Saturday.
• After starting the season 6-5 featuring losses to Murray State, Colorado and Wofford, Texas A&M has won 14 of its past 16 games.
• Currently ranked No. 28 in the NET rankings, the Aggies are 5-4 in Quadrant I games and 2-1 in Quadrant 2 games, but have two Quadrant 4 losses.
• Texas A&M returned to the AP top 25 this week for the first time since briefly making one appearance earlier this season on Nov. 14. Prior to this season, the Aggies had not been ranked since 2017-18.
• The Aggies are 13-1 at Reed Arena this season and have won nine straight home games. Texas A&M’s lone home loss came against Wofford on Dec. 20.
• Currently in his fourth season as Texas A&M’s head coach, Buzz Williams is on pace for his best season yet in College Station after the Aggies notched the program’s highest win total since 2016 last season. During the 2021-22 season, Texas A&M rebounded from a 15-10 start to finish 27-13 and record runner-up finishes at the SEC Tournament and NIT.
• Texas A&M’s top two scorers, Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford, both rank in the top eight in the SEC in scoring during conference play. Taylor IV ranks fourth with 15.6 ppg, while Radford is eighth with 14.5 ppg in SEC games.
• Taylor IV averaged 13.0 ppg in two meetings with Tennessee last season, while Radford and Henry Coleman III averaged 12.0 ppg apiece.
• The Aggies are more effective at scoring points at the free-throw line than any team in the country, leading all of Division I with 18.9 made free throws per game and ranking second with 25.1 free throw attempts per game.
• Tennessee captured its first SEC Tournament championship in 43 years on March 13, 2022, defeating Texas A&M, 65-50.
• The Vols led wire-to-wire in the win, building a 14-0 lead in the opening minutes and never leading by less than five points after that.
• Santiago Vescovi led Tennessee with 17 points on four made 3-pointers. Josiah-Jordan James contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Tournament MVP Kennedy Chandler had 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
• Super senior John Fulkerson scored eight points and had a career-high-tying 12 rebounds.
• Between Vescovi, James, Chandler and Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee made six of its first seven 3-point attempts of the second half.
• Out of the gates, Tennessee was red-hot, building a 14-0 lead by the 15:16 mark. The fast start was aided by three made 3-pointers—one each from Chandler, James and Vescovi.
• Following its slow start in which it missed its first eight shots, Texas A&M steadily climbed back into the game, responding to Tennessee’s early 14-0 lead with a 10-2 run to cut their deficit to six points
• The Aggies were unable to draw closer than six points in the first half, entering halftime facing a 29-20 deficit.
• As a head coach, Rick Barnes has faced Texas A&M 40 times, compiling a 31-9 (.775) record.
• His Texas teams went 23-7 vs. the Aggies from 1999-2015, and he also led Clemson to a 2-0 record against A&M in the mid-90s.
• The only program Barnes has faced more than the Aggies is Oklahoma (41 meetings). That mark will be tied Tuesday.
• Tennessee owns a +10.5 rebound margin in its wins this season, but it has a -2.4 rebound margin in its three losses.
• UT’s rebounding margin of +7.1 rpg ranks second in the SEC and 10th nationally. In SEC play, UT’s rebounding margin is a healthy +5.4.
• Tennessee ranks sixth in the nation in offensive rebounding, pulling down 13.5 per game. The Vols are converting those offensive boards into 13.7 second-chance points per game.
• Rebounding for these Vols has been a balanced, team effort. No Vol averages more than 5.3 rpg, but there are five averaging 4.0 rpg or more.
• Tennessee is 3-1 against this week’s AP top 10, with wins over Alabama, Kansas (neutral-site) and Texas, and a five-point true road loss at Arizona.
• The Vols’ average margin of victory in its wins over Alabama, Kansas and Texas is 11.3 ppg.
• Last week, Vols sophomore Jahmai Mashack was arguably the team’s top performer, impacting the Alabama game with his defense before posting an impressive offensive outing at Kentucky.
• Alabama star Brandon Miller was held to 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting during UT’s 68-59 win over the top-ranked Crimson Tide Wednesday.
• When guarded by Mashack, Miller was 0-for-6 from the field with four points. Against other defenders, Miller scored 11 on 4-of-5 shooting.
• While Tennessee as a team struggled offensively at Kentucky Saturday, Mashack finished with career-high totals in both points (16) and rebounds (8), scoring nine of his 16 points in the second half.

-UT Athletics

Vols G Jahmai Mashack / Credit: UT Athletics


  • Forecast
  • Currents
  • Planner