Final Four bound? Tennessee's start to SEC play reaching historic level of excellence
When it comes to Southeastern Conference play, Tennessee isn’t messing around this season.
It would be understandable if No. 3 Tennessee overlooked Arkansas heading into Tuesday night’s game, the Volunteers were a 14-point favorite after all, but instead of taking it easy, the team scored 55 points in the first half and went on to beat the Razorbacks 106-87 in front of a packed Thompson-Boling Arena crowd.
Tennessee had five players score double-digit points, had 19 assists on 30 made baskets and out-rebounded Arkansas to improve to 15-1 on the season and 4-0 in conference play.
The Vols have now beaten Georgia 96-50, Missouri 87-63, Florida 78-67 and Arkansas 106-87 to start conference play. According to Elias Sports, Tennessee is just the third major conference team over the last 20 seasons to outscore their first four conference opponents by 100+ points. The other teams over the previous 20 seasons to accomplish that feat: Duke in 2000-01 and Florida in 2012-13.
Duke went on to win the national title after going 35-4 in 2000-01 while Florida went 29-8 and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2012-13.
The big question for Tennessee is how far they can carry this momentum once they advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Tennessee men’s basketball program has not won the SEC Tournament since 1979 and has never advanced to the Final Four.
Duke (2000-01)@Vol_Hoops is the 3rd major conference team over the last 20 seasons to outscore their first four conference opponents by 100+ points. (via @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/cIomm8O1YR
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 16, 2019