Courtesy / UT Athletics


Courtesy / UT Athletics

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The sixth-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team travels to the Lone Star State for the second time this season, facing Texas A&M Saturday night at Reed Arena. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET.




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 #6 Vols Race Past LSU, 88-68Zeigler Among 15 Tabbed to Naismith Defensive POY Watch ListVols Check in at Sixth in National Polls#5 Vols Knock off #10/8 Kentucky, 103-92, at Rupp ArenaKnecht Chosen for Julius Erving SF of the Year Midseason Top 10 List
Fans can catch Saturday’s game between the Vols (17-5, 7-2 SEC) and Aggies (14-8, 5-4 SEC) on ESPN. Tom Hart (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 Steve Hamer describing the action.

Tennessee posted its second straight wire-to-wire triumph with an 88-68 decision Wednesday night against LSU at Food City Center. Fifth-year guard Dalton Knecht paced all scorers with 27 points for the Vols. Junior guard Jordan Gainey scored a season-high 18 points in the victory. His six made field goals tied a season high, as did his three assists and three steals.

• Prior to dropping a 68-63 road decision last season (2/21/23) in a top-25 matchup, Tennessee had won three in a row against Texas A&M, all by double digits.
• This is the seventh time in the last eight meetings UT is ranked. It went 5-1 in the prior six, including 5-0 with the Aggies unranked.
• The Volunteers’ last win over Texas A&M was a 65-50 result on 3/13/22 in Tampa, Fla., in the SEC Tournament title game, giving UT its fifth crown and first since 1979.
• After going 25-10 (15-3) last season and, for the first time since 2018, reaching the NCAA Tournament, Texas A&M was voted second in the SEC preseason poll.
• Junior guard Wade Taylor IV, the SEC Peseason Player of the Year, is the Aggies’ leader in both points (19.7) and assists (3.6) per game, the former of which is fourth in the SEC.
• Texas A&M (31-10) is one of three teams Rick Barnes has beat 30- plus times, along with Texas Tech (33-5) and Baylor (30-9). The Aggies are the only one he has beat at multiple schools (three).

• Tennessee is averaging 83.5 ppg in its 10 contests since the turn of the new year. The only other times in the last 15 years (2009-24) the Volunteers have averaged 83.5 ppg in a 10-game span in a single season were 15 concurrent streaks over the first 24 contests of 2018- 19, during which they went 23-1 from 11/6/18-2/13/19.
• The Volunteers are averaging 83.1 ppg through nine SEC games, the midpoint of the conference slate. The only other instance in the last 24 seasons (2000-24) in which they put up 83-plus ppg over nine single-season SEC contests were four concurrent streaks over the first 12 outings of league play in 2018-19, from 1/5/19-2/16/19.
• Zakai Zeigler’s 17-point, nine- assist, five-steal showing versus LSU (2/7/24) was the sixth by an SEC player in the last 16 seasons (2008-24), joining outings by Dru Smith, Tremont Waters (twice), Tyler Ulis and John Wall. His 22 assists in the last two contests are the most in back-to-back regulation SEC games since Jared Harper on 2/3/18 and 2/7/18.

• Dalton Knecht is seventh among Power Six players in scoring this season at 20.2 ppg. His 15.8 ppg career average leads the SEC and is ninth among Power Six players. He is one of five DI players—the only other in a Power Six league is Zach Edey—averaging 20.0 ppg this year who also did so last year.
• Knecht scored 234 points in the last eight contests (29.3 ppg). The only other Power Six players to hit that mark in the last decade (2014-24) are Markus Howard (2019-20 & 2018-19), Trae Young (2017-18) and Buddy Hield (2015- 16). Knecht is the only DI player in the last 19 years (2005-24) to do that without averaging over 1.0 turnover per game.
• If Knecht records 16 points at Texas A&M, he would be the seventh SEC player in the last 13 seasons (2011-24) to hit that mark in at least nine straight league games, joining Cameron Thomas (2020-21), Immanuel Quickley (2019-20), J.J. Frazier (2016-17), Sindarius Thornwell (2016-17), Jamal Murray (2015-16) and Ben Simmons (2015-16).

• Over the past four seasons (2020-24), Tennessee leads all SEC teams with 18 AP top-25 wins, tied with Illinois for sixth nationally and four more than any other SEC program (Alabama has 14). It also paces all SEC schools in AP top-10 victories with eight, placing co-sixth nationally alongside Purdue and Texas. UT’s five AP top-five wins in that spanlead the SEC and are tied with Arizona, Gonzaga and Michigan State for the most of any team in the country.
• The eight AP top-10 triumphs during that time are: #1 Alabama (2/15/23), #3 Kansas (11/25/22), #3 Auburn (2/26/22), #4 Kentucky (2/15/22), #5 Kentucky (3/12/22), #6 Arizona (12/22/21), #10 Texas (1/28/23) and at #10 Kentucky (2/3/24).
• Over the last four seasons (2020-24), Tennessee has played a league-high 32 games against AP Top 25 opponents, going 18-14 (.563). The Vols are the only SEC team, regardless of number of games, with a winning record against ranked foes during that span, while Auburn’s .474 (9-10) mark is second.
• Tennessee (32) and Alabama (31) and Arkansas (30) are the only SEC teams to play 27-plus ranked foes since the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

• Over the last seven seasons, dating back to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, Tennessee paces all SEC teams in postseason wins (15), while placing a close second in both total victories (161) and winning percentage (.722). In that span, the Vols have claimed a pair of SEC titles, winning the regular season in 2018 and the tournament in 2022.
• In that same seven-year stretch, the Vols are one of only two SEC schools with an overall winning percentage of at least .700, alongside Auburn (.726) and Kentucky (.700). No other team is at even .650 in that time.
• In SEC play over the same seven-year period, Tennessee (79-37; .681) is second in the league in both victories and winning percentage, trailing just Kentucky (80-37; .684). Only Auburn (76-42; .644) and Alabama (73-45; .619) also have 70-plus wins.
• Over the last three seasons only (2021-24), UT owns a 69-24 (.742) overall record. That is good for the most victories and the best winning percentage of any SEC team in that span.

• The Volunteers have posted 20-plus assists nine times this season, including in eight of the past 14 contests. They have 25-plus twice this season, with a high of 27 against George Mason (12/5/23).
• Tennessee has a 61.7 percent assist rate that ranks No. 13 nationally, per KenPom, through 2/7/24.
• Last season, Tennessee placed second nationally, per KenPom, with a 66.2 percent assist rate. It also logged a 64.9 percent mark in SEC play.

• Tennessee has played 189 games as a ranked team in the AP Poll under Rick Barnes, posting a stellar 141-48 (.746) record. Over 65.0 percent of the Volunteers’ games since Barnes arrived in 2015-16 have come with the team ranked in the AP Poll.
• Furthermore, UT owns a 120-43 (.736) record while ranked in the AP top 20 during Barnes’ tenure, an 89-30 (.748) mark while in the top 15, a 69-21 (.767) ledger while in the top 10, a 30-9 (.769) tally while in the top five, a 17-2 (.895) record while in the top three and a 7-1 (.875) mark while at No. 1.
• The Vols are 24-20 (.545) in top-25 matchups under Barnes, including 18-13 (.581) with both teams in the top 20, 10-7 (.588) with both in the top 15 and 7-5 (.583) with both in the top 10.

• At Mississippi State (1/10/24), Dalton Knecht (28) and Zakai Zeigler (26) became the first Vol duo with 25-plus points in a game since 11/24/15, when Armani Moore (29) and Kevin Punter Jr. (26) did so against Army West Point. That is the only other occurrence at UT in the last 19 seasons (2005-24).
• Knecht and Zeigler also became the first teammates to score 25-plus in an SEC road game since 2/6/21 when Ole Miss’ Romello White (30) and Devontae Shuler (26) did so at Auburn.
• It then happended again in Tennessee’s victory at #10/8 Kentucky (2/3/24), as Josiah-Jordan James and Zakai Zeigler each scored 26 points.

Courtesy / UT Athletics

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