ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WATE) - It’s the calm before the storm for Tennessee as the Vols seek to create chaos on Friday at 7 p.m. ET for Mississippi State in the SEC Quarterfinals in St. Louis.
Instead of playing in the first or second round, as the Vols have done the last two seasons, Tennessee kept it loose with a shootaround at the Scottrade Center this morning, with aspiring Governor of Mississippi Admiral Schofield showcasing his range.
Schofield, who combined to average 24.5 points and 7 rebounds per game against Mississippi State and Ole Miss this season, admitted he was restless soaking up a double-bye.
"I don't really like it to be honest with you," Schofield said before practice at Webster University. "I'd rather be playing right now. But it's a blessing to have a double-bye, get some extra rest, but we're just focused on ourselves like we have all season."
After torching the Bulldogs for 24 points and 7 rebounds on Feb. 27, Schofield looks ready to roll for Friday’s rematch against Mississippi State, a game Tennessee won in Starkville by 22 just over a week ago. As orange started to filter into St. Louis, Vol fans look optimistic about what lies ahead.
"Coach Barnes has done an excellent job, and he's brought this team a long way, and he's gonna open a lot of people's eyes," Watertown, Tenn. resident Rick martin said.
What Barnes is looking for in his team’s play is the same edge and intensity they’ve played with virtually all season, an easy ask considering the stakes.
"This is a whole new season now," Barnes said. "The regular season is over with, and they realize that every game from here on out is a championship game."
History is on Tennessee's side in the tournament. The Vols are a 2-seed for just the fourth time in conference Tournament history, the same seed they were when the Vols last won a league tournament title in 1979. The Vols also plan to honor Howard Wood as their SEC basketball legend. Wood was a member of that same championship tournament team.