March 23, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) in action against the Texas Longhorns in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Men’s Basketball Reaches Sweet 16 For Second Straight Season

The Tennessee Volunteers, a No. 2-seed, are back in the Sweet 16. However, it’s the round they’ve struggled to get past in their tournament history. Reaching the Sweet 16 a total of 10 times, the Volunteers have reached the Elite Eight just once.

That Elite Eight run came back in the 2009-10 season where the Vols were lead by Bruce Pearl. Saturday, Tennessee claimed another Sweet 16 birth after their 62-58 win over the 7-seed Texas Longhorns.

Winning Mentality

The Volunteers only trailed the Longhorns for a total of 3 minutes, 34 seconds when the Longhorns made the first basket. After Tennessee’s Jonas Aidoo converted a dunk to put them up 4-3, the Vols did not trail again.

Much like every other game, All-American Dalton Knecht was the Vols’ hero. Scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds, Knecht was the game’s highest scorer.

Poor Field Goal Percentage

Even though Knecht had 18, he shot 5-for-18 from the field and 1-8 from 3. The Vols shot the ball 10 more times than the Longhorns did, but made just two more shots.

The Vols shot 3-for-25 from 3, and a reason why they won this game was its ability to knock down free throws in timely situations.

Tennessee went 15-18 from the line, meanwhile the Longhorns went 11-12. That difference is four points, which is the same amount of points the Vols won by.

Vols head coach Rick Barnes commented on the shooting struggles after the game.

What’s Next

The Vols will face the No. 3-seeded Creighton Bluejays in Detroit, Michigan, Friday. The Bluejays are lead by Baylor Scheierman, who has scored double-digit points in every game but one this season. The Vols have three players that average double-digit points, while the Bluejays have four.

When it comes to total scoring, Tennessee averages 79.5 points per game. Moreover, Creighton averages 80.5 points per game and also reached the Sweet 16 last year. But unlike the Vols, the Bluejays advanced to the Elite Eight.

Tip-off is at 10:09 p.m.

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