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Vols SEC Tournament Opener is Set: How to Watch, Key Stats, Predictions

2021 SEC Men’s Tournament – Quarterfinal

No. 5 Florida @ No. 4 Tennessee

Mar. 12, 2021 – 2:00 p.m. ET

Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN

The Tennessee Volunteers basketball team officially begins the 2021 SEC tournament in a rematch of their regular-season finale.

Just five days after beating the Gators in Knoxville to close the season, No. 4 seed Tennessee will take on No. 5 seed Florida in the quarterfinal round. The Gators advanced to the quarterfinal round after they defeated No. 12 seed Vanderbilt by a score of 69-63 on Thursday afternoon.

The Vols and Gators have split their series this year with both teams winning at home. The wins, though, were drastically different. The Gators took care of business in their first game of the season, running up the score on the Vols to close the game. Meanwhile, Tennessee was able to get revenge in the regular-season finale, but only after a long and hard-fought comeback.

How to Watch

    • Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET (or 25 minutes after the preceding game which will begin at Noon EST)
    • TV: ESPN
    • Online Streaming: WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN App
    • Radio (Knoxville): Vol Network
    • Postgame Show: The Voluntary Reaction on the Fanrun Radio App

Odds and Statistics

All of these odds come to you via FanDuel SportsBook. Sign up today using promo code “Blitz”.

    • Spread: Tennessee -3 (-110)
    • Moneyline: Tennessee -162/Florida +136
    • Over/Under: 133 (-110)
      • Tennessee Point Total: O/U 68 (-110)
      • Florida Point Total: O/U 65 (-110)

Previous Matchups

The Vols are 73-56 in 129 games since 1949-1950 against Florida.

Rick Barnes’ Tennessee teams have won five out of their last six games against the Gators.

  • Florida 54 @ Tennessee 65 – 3/7/2021
  • No. 6 Tennessee 49 @ Florida 75 – 1/19/2021
  • Florida 58 @ Tennessee 63 – 2/29/20
  • Florida 61 @ No. 11 Tennessee 73 – 2/9/2019
  • No. 3 Tennessee 78 @ Florida 67 – 1/12/2019
  • Florida 57 @ No. 19 Tennessee 62 – 2/21/2018

Historically, Tennessee and Florida have met in the SEC Tournament six times. The BasketVols are 2-4 in those six meetings. Most notably, Tennessee’s last SEC Tournament win against the Gators came on March 8th, 1984.

  • Tennessee 49 vs. No. 1 Florida 56 – 3/14/2014
  • Tennessee 74 vs. No. 12 Florida 85 – 3/11/2011
  • Tennessee 71 vs. Florida 76 – 3/11/1989
  • Tennessee 60 vs. Florida 67 – 3/11/1988
  • Tennessee 80 vs. Florida 74 – 3/8/1984
  • Tennessee 78 vs. Florida 62 – 3/7/1983

The Vols has been unranked in each of its six matchups against the Gators in the SEC Tournament.

Season Leaders

  • Tennessee
    • Points: Jaden Springer – 12.4 PPG, 48.4 FG%, 80.4 FT%
    • Assists: Santiago Vescovi – 3.1 APG, 2.0 TOPG, 28.9 MPG
    • Rebounds: Josiah-Jordan James – 6.1 RPG, 4.0 DRPG, 2.1 ORPG
  • Florida
    • Points: Tre Mann – 15.3 PPG, 45.5 FG%, 84.2 FT%
    • Assists: Tre Mann – 3.5 APG, 2.7 TOPG, 31.3 MPG
    • Rebounds: Colin Castleton – 5.8 RPG, 3.4 DRPG, 2.4 ORPG

Prediction: 

The SEC Tournament is finally upon us, and one of the most exciting things about the game will be the first chance to see star freshmen Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson in tournament action. Both young players have continued to elevate their play throughout the season, and have certainly carried Tennessee for multiple games down the stretch. Both players have excelled so far in the big moments and will need to against Florida for the third time this year.

The Gators leading scorer Tre Mann was a last-minute scratch against Tennessee on Sunday but will be back in the lineup on Friday. Mann will also be coming off of a huge 22-point performance in the previous round against Vanderbilt.

The key to the game is simple for Tennessee and hasn’t changed from what it has been the entire season long. Strong defense will be critical in containing Mann, and hopefully will be enough to kickstart the offense. The offense has to continue to be balanced, yet also aggressive in driving to the hoop. Tennessee dominated the boards in their last matchup, especially on the offensive end, so look to see how Florida combats that.

To me, there are four players that I think will have to step up in some combination if Tennessee wants to win: Keon Johnson, Jaden Springer, John Fulkerson, and Victor Bailey Jr. Each one brings a different offensive element to the table, and they each can create offense when they start heating up.

We know what Tennessee can look like when they play their style of game. They just need to play it for a full 40 minutes on Friday.

Tennessee 69, Florida 65

SEC Tournament Bracket

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