6 things to know about Tennessee’s game at Auburn

Orange & White Nation
Mississippi St Tennessee Basketball

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes yells to his players during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi State on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

It’s the final game day of the regular season for the Tennessee basketball team and here are six things you need to know.

1) The game is at Auburn at noon (ET) and you can catch it on ESPN and Vol Radio. Dick Vitale is the ESPN analyst for the game (adjust volume as necessary).

2) If Tennessee wins, it will be in the first time in school history the Vols have won back-to-back SEC regular-season championships. A win would give Tennessee 28 wins, the second most in program history, and 16 conference wins for just the second time ever. It would be the most wins for coach Rick Barnes since 2010-11 at Texas.

Related: LSU suspends head men’s basketball coach Will Wade

3) Auburn (10-7 in conference play and 21-9 overall) has three straight wins, including an emotional win in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Tuesday following the devastating tornadoes near the school on Sunday. Auburn center Austin Wiley, who has missed the last three games may see limited action. Probably not a game changer, but he averages 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.

“But Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU are one more step up, in my opinion, from all the other really good teams in the league. We will have to play, by far, our best game of the year to win. By far,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl told AL.com.

Pearl will have his Tigers up for a spoiler role in their final home game of the season.

4) Auburn, however, hasn’t been a ranked opponent since Jan. 6, 2018, we repeat, January 2018. And Tennessee has held opponents to just 39 percent shooting from the field, ninth-lowest for Division I NCAA teams.

5) What’s on the line: “Obviously, it’s a big game, but I think all games are big at this time of year for everybody because you’re trying to get your momentum and start playing consistent at a high level,” Barnes said.

6) Barnes on the possibility of winning back-to-back SEC championships: “It would be great, but we have to go out and do it. This time last year we were playing at home, and now we are going into a senior night, where that team just came off a huge win against their rival. We have been in this all year, and we know what we are going into. They want to be apart of a championship team again, and it is right there for them, but they are going to have to go play really well.”
 

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