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Barnes Vols

Vols hire former Texas Coach Rick Barnes

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen

Barnes Vols

Rick Barnes will officially be introduced as the new men’s head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee in a press conference held at Pratt Pavilion at 4 p.m., on Tuesday.

Tennessee’s fortunes on the hardwood have never looked brighter, as Rick Barnes, the most decorated and accomplished head coach in school history, was handed the reins to the men’s basketball program on March 31, 2015.

The marriage of Barnes’ Hall of Fame-worthy resume — highlighted by 604 career Division I head coaching wins, the ninth-most among active coaches — and Tennessee’s world-class facilities, fervent fan base and outstanding athletic and academic resources, sets the Volunteers on a course to consistently compete for championships.

“Rick Barnes is an elite basketball coach in every respect,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart said. “Rick brings an extremely impressive track record of excellence, as well as much-needed stability, to our men’s basketball program. This is an exciting day for our Tennessee family.”

In fitting with Hart’s mantra of “comprehensive excellence,” Barnes’ commitment to his players’ academic achievement cannot be overstated. His teams have posted a perfect 1,000 score in each of the last five multi-year APR reports as well as perfect single-year APR scores every year dating to 2005-06.

Immediately prior to Barnes’ arrival on Rocky Top, he oversaw a prolific, 17-year run at Texas that included 16 trips to the NCAA Tournament.

In 28 overall seasons as a Division I head coach, Barnes has led his teams to 22 total NCAA Tournament berths, six Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and one Final Four in 2003.

He boasts coaching experience in Southeastern Conference (Alabama assistant, 1985-86), Big 10 (Ohio State assistant, 1986-87), Colonial Athletic Association (George Mason head coach, 1987-88), Big East (Providence head coach, 1988-1994), Atlantic Coast Conference (Clemson head coach, 1994-98) and Big 12 (Texas head coach, 1998-2015).

His success on the “power conference” sidelines is simply staggering. He coached Providence to three NCAA Tournament berths in six seasons. He then guided Clemson to the Big Dance three times in four years. And his 16 NCAA appearances during his 17-season stint at Texas gives him 19 tournament berths in the last 20 years.

Dating to 1995, every four-year player Barnes has coached has made at least three trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Not only do his players find themselves perennially positioned to play for national championships, but they also carry themselves with a top-25 swagger. Over the last 17 years, Barnes’ teams have spent 180 total weeks in the Associated Press Top 25, including 84 weeks in the Top 10. His Texas squad earned the program’s first-ever No. 1 national ranking on Jan. 11, 2010. And he had previously coached Clemson to a No. 2 national ranking–the highest in that school’s history–during the 1996-97 campaign.

On the flipside, Barnes has collected 96 career wins over Top-25 opponents. And his squads have toppled Top-10 teams a total of 34 times.

Nationally respected in player development, Barnes is the only coach in the nation that can claim two different National Players of the Year in the last 13 seasons (T.J. Ford in 2003 and Kevin Durant in 2007). Barnes also produced four consensus first-team All-Americans and three National Freshman of the Year honorees.

Barnes has produced 23 total NBA Draft picks, including 13 first-round selections. Durant — who refers to Barnes as “more than a coach,” but also a “father figure” — was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Durant has won an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and an Olympic gold medal.

A native of Hickory, N.C., Barnes was born on July 17, 1954. He was a standout player at Hickory High, from which he graduated in 1973. Barnes moved on to Lenoir-Rhyne College (Hickory, N.C.), where he lettered for three seasons and won the Captain’s Award for Leadership as both a junior and senior.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Lenoir-Rhyne in 1977 and was named the college’s Distinguished Alumnus in 1997. Barnes was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne College Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, 2002, and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lenoir-Rhyne on May 7, 2005.

He and his wife, Candy — who is also a Hickory native — have a son, Nick (born Oct. 3, 1984), and a daughter, Carley (born Jan. 9, 1988). Carley and her husband, Josh Lickteig, have two children: 7-year-old Avery and 4-year-old Caleb

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Tyndall Terminated

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Tyndall Terminated

Posted on 27 March 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee announced today that it has terminated its employment agreement with head men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall for cause. The decision was made based on information the university received during the NCAA’s investigation of another institution.

The university concluded that Tyndall is highly likely to be found responsible for serious (e.g., Level I and/or Level II) violations of NCAA rules that occurred during his tenure as head men’s basketball coach at another institution.

“It is disappointing that we have to take this action.” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart. “It is highly likely that Coach Tyndall will face significant penalties at the conclusion of the NCAA’s infractions process. We believe that this decision is in the best interests of the University of Tennessee.”

After going through the Bruce Pearl scandal a few years ago the Vols had to let Tyndall go. Rumor has it the former Vol’s head coach deleted emails on a Southern Miss account while he was the coach in Knoxville.

Belmont coach Rick Byrd is thought to be the front-runner for the job.

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Vols come up short against Razorbacks, 80-72

Vols come up short against Razorbacks, 80-72

Posted on 13 March 2015 by Allen


Down by 20 points at halftime, Tennessee stormed back to within four points with less than four minutes to go, but were eliminated in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals on Friday night as #21 Arkansas beat the Vols, 80-72.

Arkansas scored the game’s first 13 points and dominated the first 20 minutes, but just as Tennessee has done all season, the Vols never quit, before suffering the defeat.

Kevin Punter scored nine points in a row as the Vols cut a 67-59 deficit to 69-65 with 3:37 remaining. The Vols were within four points twice in the final four minutes, but could not complete a stunning comeback for a second night in a row.

Senior Josh Richardson had his first-career double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. Punter had 13 points.

Freshman Tariq Owens tallied a career-high seven points.

Tennessee (16-16 overall) will await its postseason fate as the brackets will be unveiled at night on Sunday, March 15.

Arkansas (25-7) will take on the winner of the match-up between #3 seed Georgia and #11 South Carolina, which was played later this evening.

SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis had a monster game with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Qualls added 20 points for the Razorbacks

Arkansas opened the game making their first five field goals to bust out to a 13-0 lead. Devon Baulkman finally ended the drought for the Vols with a 3-pointer, 4:39 into the game.

Down by 15 points, 5:20 into the game, Tennessee rallied to cut an 18-3 deficit to just seven points at 20-13 on a Robert Hubbs III 3-pointer with 10 minutes left in the half.

Arkansas built a lead of 45-25 at halftime. Portis had 18 points in the first half as the Razorback shot 51.6 from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

The Vols made only four field goals in the first half, shooting 16.0 percent. They did converted 15-of-17 free throws.

Tennessee outscored Arkansas in the second half, 47-35, but the first-half deficit was too much to overcome.

The Vols got within nine points at 57-48, by virtue of making 9-of-11 shots during a 13-2 run midway through the second half spanning more than five minutes.

Arkansas regained a 14-point lead before the Vols cut to it five points on consecutive Punter 3-pointers with less than five minutes to go, bringing the Vols within 67-62.

Tennessee got within four points on two occasions in the final four minutes, but that was as close as they would get.

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UT can’t hang with the #1 Cats

UT can’t hang with the #1 Cats

Posted on 18 February 2015 by Allen


Tennessee showed the grit and determination it has shown all season on Tuesday night. The undersized and undermanned Vols battled the top-ranked team in the nation before dropping a 66-48 decision before a sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena.

#1 Kentucky moved to 26-0 on the season — its best start in school history — and 13-0 in the SEC. The Vols fell to 14-11 overall and 6-7 in the SEC.

Junior Kevin Punter led the Vols with 14 points, while senior Josh Richardson tallied 10.

Kentucky was led by Devin Booker, who netted 18 points, despite shooting 5-of-16 from the floor and 2-of-9 from 3-point range. Andrew Harrison added 14 points.

Tennessee’s defense played havoc with Kentucky all night. The Wildcats shot just 41.5 percent from the floor including 37.5 in the second half. Kentucky made 5-of-22 3-pointers, 1-of-9 in the second half.

The Vols were within seven points for the game’s first 31 minutes. They cut their deficit to four points on three different occasions midway through the second half, bringing the crowd to a fever pitch. Punter finished a layup off a baseball pass from Richardson with nine minutes left to bring the Vols to within 48-44.

Kentucky took firm control with a 10-0 run to take the first double-figure lead of the game with less than seven minutes to go on a Karl-Anthony Towns 3-point play. The layup, which was Towns’ first attempt of the game, extended the Wildcats lead to 55-44 with 6:54 left in the game. Trey Lyles’ putback with five minutes put UK up 58-44.

Kentucky finished the game outscoring Tennessee 18-4 over the final nine minutes.

UK took its first seven-point lead on a Cauley-Stein dunk with 17:20 left in regulation at 40-33.

The Vols hung close for the first half, leading with less than three minutes to go. Kentucky hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 43 seconds to take a 35-31 lead into the locker room. The game was tied on five different occasions over the final 10 minutes as the Vols shot 54.2 from the floor with Punter leading the way with eight points.

Tennessee received big first-half contributions from unlikely sources in Devon Baulkman (6 points) and Tariq Owens (5 points). Owens had nine points total in 11 SEC games this season coming into the game.

Booker led all scorers with 11 points in the first half.

The undersized Vols outrebounded Kentucky 15-13 in the first half.

The Vols are now 4-13 all-time against the top-ranked team in the nation with the four wins coming in the last nine games vs. #1 teams, all since 1966.

Kentucky leads the all-time series 151-67. The 67 wins are the most by any opponent vs. the Wildcats all-time.

The Vols return to action on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Ole Miss. Action tips at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU and heard on the Vol Network.

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Vols thump TSU

Vols thump TSU

Posted on 28 December 2014 by Allen


The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team fell to the University of Tennessee by a score of 67-46 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday night.

The Tigers (2-11) shot 47.8 percent from the three-point line, but were turned over 15 times by the Volunteers (7-4). Tennessee held TSU to a 29.2 percent clip in the second half.

Marcus Roper led the Tigers with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Jay Harris pitched in 15 points, shooting 5-for-12 from the floor.

Kevin Punter led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and a perfect 4-for-4 from the three-point line.

TSU held a 6-4 lead at the first media timeout but Tennessee quickly stole the advantage. At one point, the Volunteers held a lead as big as 14.

The Tigers were forced to live and die from beyond the arc as the Volunteers vehemently denied any attempt in the paint.

Trailing 27-13 at the 5:36 mark, TSU used its three-point shooting to cut the deficit to thee before half. The Tigers were 6-of-11 from three-point land in the first half.

Big Blue had 8 assists, as a team, for the first 20 minutes. The season average for the Tigers is 9.6.

TSU turned the first 10 minutes of the final half into a dogfight, but Tennessee’s post defense held strong and pushed them onto the victory.

With 14:26 to play in the game, Jay Harris hit his second straight trey in a row to give the Tigers a 38-37 lead. For the next seven minutes, the Volunteers went on a 16-2 run, powered by an electric crowd, which gave them the space they needed for the win.

Having averaged 21.9 fouls per game so far this season, TSU committed just nine for the night.

The Tigers 14 assists is the most they’ve had in five contests.

TSU has lost 10-straight games.

The Tigers will fly to Fort Worth for a game at Texas Christian on Monday. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m.

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Vols SEC 2014-15 mens hoops schedule announced

Vols SEC 2014-15 mens hoops schedule announced

Posted on 15 August 2014 by Allen


Tennessee’s 18-game Southeastern Conference men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming season was announced Friday on the SEC Network.

Highlights of head coach Donnie Tyndall’s first campaign with the Volunteers include a home contest vs. Kentucky, a road game at Florida and home-and-home series with rising LSU and Arkansas programs.

Season tickets go on sale to the public Sept. 9 and can be purchased at the UT Ticket Office, by visiting or by calling 1-800-332-8657. Single-game tickets and mini packs go on sale to #GBO Insider email subscribers Oct. 9, while sales to the public begin Oct. 14.

With the launch of the SEC Network, the scheduling of midweek games has been adjusted. In addition to the traditional Tuesday night games on ESPN and ESPNU, there will also be two Tuesday games on the SEC Network. Wednesdays will feature two contests on the SEC Network, while Thursdays will highlight one game on either ESPN or ESPN2.

League play begins for the Vols Jan. 7 as Tennessee travels to Starkville, Miss., to face Mississippi State.

UT then returns home to host Alabama and Arkansas on Jan. 10 and Jan. 13, respectively.

A pair of road games follow, with contests set at Missouri Jan. 17 and at South Carolina Jan. 20.

Texas A&M handed the Big Orange a pair of heartbreaking, buzzer-beater losses last season. That series resumes Jan. 24 in Knoxville when the Aggies visit Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee plays at Arkansas Jan. 27 and then returns to Rocky Top for a Jan. 31 showdown with Auburn.

Mississippi State rolls into Knoxville Feb. 3, and the Vols then play a pair of road games Feb. 7 at Georgia and Feb. 11 at permanent rival Vanderbilt. For the first time since 1964, Georgia does not visit Knoxville.

Valentine’s Day will be date night at Thompson-Boling Arena, as UT hosts LSU Feb 14.

And after not playing in Knoxville last season for the first time since 1953, Kentucky returns to Rocky Top Feb. 17 for an ESPN “Super Tuesday” matchup. The Vols do not play at Rupp Arena this season, marking UT’s first hoops campaign without a trip to Lexington, Ky., since 1953.

On Feb. 21, Tennessee visits Ole Miss. That is followed by a home clash with Vanderbilt Feb. 26.

Tennessee’s final two-game road trip takes place Feb. 28 at Florida and March 4 at LSU.

The regular season then comes to a close March 7 in Knoxville, with UT hosting South Carolina.

The 2015 SEC Tournament runs March 11-15 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

Each of the 126 league games will be available to be seen from anywhere in the nation. ESPN or ESPN2 will televise 31 contests, ESPNU 18 and CBS Sports six. The SEC’s games on ESPN platforms are exclusively branded as the “SEC on ESPN.”

Additionally, The SEC Network will televise 58 intra-conference games while Fox Sports Net will show 13 contests.

All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and Fox Sports Net) will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

Each of the CBS Sports games will be streamed on and the CBS Sports mobile app and mobile website.

For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee basketball program, visit and follow @Vol_Hoops on Twitter and Instagram.

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Vols will play Santa Clara in Orlando Classic

Vols will play Santa Clara in Orlando Classic

Posted on 05 August 2014 by Allen


It was announced today that Tennessee will play Santa Clara in their first game in the Orlando Classic. The game will take place at noon ET on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27) at HP Fieldhouse in Orlando.

Depending on how the game shakes out UT will play either Kansas and Rhode Island in the second round on Friday. The other side of the bracket features Michigan State and Rider, and Marquette and Georgia Tech and the Championship Game will be played on Sunday, Nov. 30.

Santa Clara went 14-19 last season but did upset Saint Mary’s on the road in January. The team should be better this year with sophomore Jared Brownridge and senior Brandon Clark returing. Brownridge was the Broncos leading scorer with 17.2 points per game. Clark was right behind him with 16.9 per game.

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Vols lose Lopez add another walkon, Braxton Bonds

Vols lose Lopez add another walkon, Braxton Bonds

Posted on 29 July 2014 by Allen


It’s been a crazy few days for the Tennessee Vols basketball program. On Saturday Brandon Lopez, a walk-on Senior injured his right ACL in a pick up game and was ruled out for the 2014-15 season. Then there began to be rumblings on Sunday that Braxton Bonds would be walking on to the team. Later that night there were reports that he was listed in the student directory.

Bonds is the nephew of Barry Bonds and had previously committed to Liberty University. He is a three star point guard from CPA in Nashville who signed his National Letter of Intent in November. But now he is no longer with Liberty as the school confirmed they did give him his release earlier in the week.

It makes sense that once the coaching staff learned of Lopez’s injury it opened up a walk-on spot for Bonds. It’s a shame that Lopez was injured as he was coming into his Senior year. He had appeared in over 30 games in the last three years. It could be a blessing in disguise for the Donnie Tyndall as Bonds was teamates with highly regarded prospect Braxton Blackwell at CPA.

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McRae Among Top Scorers in NBA Summer League

McRae Among Top Scorers in NBA Summer League

Posted on 16 July 2014 by Allen


Former Tennessee basketball standout Jordan McRae is leading the Philadelphia 76ers in scoring through three games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev.

He ranks eighth in scoring among all players in the Vegas-based NBA Summer League and boasts a higher scoring average than top-10 draft picks Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum, Julius Randle and Nik Stauskas.

McRae – who was the 58th overall pick in the draft – is actually showing signs of continued development. As a senior last season with the Vols, he averaged 18.7 points on 13.8 shots per game. This summer with the Sixers, McRae is averaging 19.7 points on 12.7 shots per game.

A native of Midway, Ga., he has led or shared the team lead in scoring in each of Philadelphia’s games thus far. He is shooting .421 from the field and also averages three rebounds and two steals while playing 30.0 minutes per game. He also is shooting .815 from the foul line (22-of-27).

His best outing of the summer came during Tuesday night’s loss to Phoenix, during which he scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He was 3-of-4 from 3-point range and also had four rebounds and two assists.

McRae sustained what the Sixers reported to be a sprained left ankle late in Tuesday’s game after he hustled down the court to attempt to block a shot and got tangled up along the baseline. Philadelphia plays the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. ET (NBA TV), but McRae’s status for that contest has yet to be determined.

Former Vol forward Renaldo Woolridge (2009-12) is on the Lakers summer league roster, but he has seen action in just one game thus far.

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Eric McKnight won’t be playing for UT

Eric McKnight won’t be playing for UT

Posted on 15 July 2014 by Allen


The Tennessee basketball program got some bad news today from the SEC. Former Florida Gulf Coast forward announced in May that he was transferring to UT and received a waiver from the NCAA to do so. But the conference ruled that he would be denied a graduate transfer waiver and wouldn’t be eligible to play for the Volunteers.

Last month the SEC lifted their ban on graduate transfers but each individual had to fit certain criteria like being a good student and staying out of trouble. McKinght had been suspended by Florida Gulf Coast last year for disciplinary reasons.

UT basketball coach released the following statement this afternoon concerning the situation.

“We have been informed that Eric McKnight has been denied the graduate transfer waiver by the SEC. We pursued this issue through the proper protocol, and I respect the process. Although we are disappointed that Eric will not be joining our program, we are focused on moving forward.”

McKnight was a big part of the “Dunk City” team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. When he announced he was coming to Knoxville he was considered a big get for Coach Tyndall who was basically building a team from scratch after losing standouts Jarnell Stokes, Jeronne Maymon, and Jordan McRae.

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Stokes on fire in NBA Summer League

Stokes on fire in NBA Summer League

Posted on 12 July 2014 by Allen

Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes helped lead the Memphis Grizzlies to the championship game of the Orlando NBA Summer League, and the former Tennessee standout finished his summer with nearly a double-double average.

Stokes played in all five of Memphis’ summer league games and averaged 12.2 points and a team-best 9.4 rebounds. He finished as the league’s second-leading rebounder, behind only Kevin Jones of the Indiana Pacers (10.0 rpg).

The 6-9, 263-pound Stokes made four starts, logged nearly 27 minutes per contest and produced three double-doubles as the Grizzlies posted a 3-2 record.

The Grizzlies acquired Stokes during last month’s NBA Draft after he was initially selected 35th overall by the Utah Jazz.

Stokes’ proficiency at stuffing a stat sheet comes as little surprise to Vol fans, as the Memphis, Tenn., native posted 40 double-doubles during his three-year career on Rocky Top.

As a junior last season, Stokes tied basketball Hall of Famer Bernard King’s Tennessee single-season record for double-doubles with 22.

The Las Vegas portion of the NBA Summer League began Friday and includes three former Vols. Jordan McRae, a second-round draft pick last month, is with the Philadelphia 76ers. And former UT teammates Scotty Hopson (2009-11) and Renaldo Woolridge (2009-12) are playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.

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Grizzlies trade for UT’s Stokes

Grizzlies trade for UT’s Stokes

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Allen

Jarnell Stokes

The Memphis Grizzlies acquired the draft rights to University of Tennessee forward/center and native Memphian Jarnell Stokes, who was selected with the No. 35 overall pick in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, from the Utah Jazz for a 2016 second round draft pick, the team announced.

Stokes (6-9, 263) played three collegiate seasons at the University of Tennessee, averaging 13.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.08 blocks on .530 shooting in 29.7 minutes in 87 games. The 20-year-old leaves the Volunteers ranked fourth in school history in double-doubles (40), eighth in total rebounds (836) and 14th in blocks (94). He led the Southeastern Conference in offensive rebounding in each of his final two years in Knoxville.

A First Team All-SEC selection as a junior last season, Stokes posted 15.1 points and a conference-best 10.6 rebounds on .531 shooting in 32.4 minutes in 37 games, guiding Tennessee to three NCAA Tournament victories and a trip the the Sweet 16. He upped his averages to 18.0 points and 12.8 rebounds in four tournament games, including a 26-point, 14-rebound performance on March 21, 2014 vs. Massachusetts.

Stokes was named Second Team All-SEC after posting 12.4 points and 9.6 rebounds on .528 shooting in 28.8 minutes in 33 games as a sophomore and earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors after averaging 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds on .534 shooting in 25.6 minutes in 17 games in his first collegiate season.

A native Memphian, Stokes was an honors student at Southwind High School in Memphis and enrolled at Tennessee for the 2012 spring semester after graduating from Southwind at the mid-year mark. While in high school, Stokes was rated a consensus national top 20 prospect by (No. 11), (No. 11), (No. 11), (No. 16) and ESPNU (No. 18) and was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the state of Tennessee by and

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Sixers acquire McRae in draft day trade

Sixers acquire McRae in draft day trade

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Allen


The Philadelphia 76ers announced that they have acquired the draft rights to Jordan McRae (58th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft) and the 60th overall pick in the NBA Draft, which was later traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Both picks were acquired from the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for the 54th overall pick. McRae declared for the 2014 NBA Draft following his senior season at Tennessee.

In four years, McRae (6-6, 185) averaged 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in 33 minutes per game while shooting 42 percent from the floor. He led the team in scoring with 19 ppg his senior year and 16 ppg his junior season. He also led the Volunteers in assists with 3 apg as a senior.

McRae was named First Team All-SEC as both a senior and junior.

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Vols announce 2014 Basketball Non-Conference Opponents

Vols announce 2014 Basketball Non-Conference Opponents

Posted on 25 June 2014 by Allen


Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall announced the non-conference portion of the Volunteers’ 2014-15 schedule Wednesday.

The Big Orange will play a dozen regular-season games leading into Southeastern Conference action in January. The complete SEC portion of the schedule will be released later this summer.

Of Tennessee’s 12 pre-conference clashes, seven take place at Thompson-Boling Arena, four will be played at a neutral site and one is a true road game. The opponents include at least five teams who appeared in last season’s NCAA Tournament, at least four teams that posted a top-100 year-end RPI in 2014 and three in-state foes.

“This is a very ambitious non-conference schedule, but I think it will prepare us well for the level of competition we’ll face once Southeastern Conference play begins,” Tyndall said. “Nearly half of the teams we will face were in the NCAA Tournament last year. All of them are extremely well coached programs. I think we’ve put together a schedule our fans will be excited about, and that’s important because we are going to need our fans to be impactful for us this season – both at home and on the road.”

As announced earlier this month, Tennessee opens the regular season Nov. 14 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where it meets VCU as part of the inaugural Veterans Classic. Under head coach Shaka Smart, VCU posted a 26-9 (12-4 A-10) record last season and made the program’s fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Rams advanced to the Final Four in 2011 and reached the third round in both 2012 and 2013.

The Volunteers’ home-opener is set for Nov. 20 against Texas Southern. Led by head coach Mike Davis, the Tigers won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season.

The Tennessee football team plays host to SEC foe Missouri at Neyland Stadium two days after the Texas Southern game at Thompson-Boling Arena, so out-of-town fans can use that long weekend to see two of their favorite UT squads in action.

During the week of Thanksgiving, Tennessee takes part in the eight-team Orlando Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. The Vols will play three games at the event (Nov. 27, 28 and 30), but the bracket has yet to be announced. The tournament field also includes Georgia Tech, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State, Rhode Island, Rider and Santa Clara.

Tennessee then hosts back-to-back home games, as Kansas State comes to Thompson-Boling Arena Dec. 6 in conjunction with the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and Butler travels to Rocky Top for a Dec. 14 matchup.

K-State posted a 20-13 (8-8 Big 12) record last season and earned its fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth.

Butler made consecutive national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011 and joins Tennessee as two of only 13 programs in the nation to reach the Sweet Sixteen four times in the last eight years.

UT’s only true road game of pre-conference play takes place Dec. 17 against NC State in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack beat the Vols last season in Knoxville and then went on to reach the NCAA Tournament and finish the season with 22 wins. Tennessee’s returning players are familiar with NC State’s PNC Arena, as the Vols played – and won – a pair of NCAA Tournament games at the venue in March.

A four-game homestand in December closes out the non-conference portion of Tennessee’s schedule. During a two-week span, the Vols host Tennessee Tech (Dec. 19), Mercer (Dec. 22), Tennessee State (Dec. 27) and ETSU (Dec. 31).

Mercer posted a 27-9 overall record last season. The Bears shared the regular-season Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 14-4 league record and also won the A-Sun tournament. Their season ended with a third-round NCAA Tournament loss to Tennessee in Raleigh.

The Vols will host a pair of exhibition contests in early November. The University of Pikeville, an NAIA school located in Pikeville, Ky., visits Knoxville Nov. 3. And on Nov. 8, UT welcomes NCAA Division II opponent Lenoir-Rhyne University from Hickory, N.C.

Tipoff times and TV designations for all games have yet to be determined.

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Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24