The Vols are in the middle of making school history this season, and so is Vanderbilt. But both programs are making history in completely different ways.
No. 1 Tennessee (16-1, 5-0 SEC) is the top team in college basketball for only the second time in school history. They’re currently riding a 12-game winning streak — the fourth-longest winning streak in program history — and have their best record to start a season since 2007-08.
Vanderbilt, meanwhile, can’t find a way to win.
The Commodores (9-8, 0-5) have started out the SEC season losing five-straight games. It’s the worst start to conference play in school history for Vanderbilt.
The last time Tennessee was ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, they promptly went on the road to Nashville and lost 72-69 to No. 18 Vanderbilt. The Commodores would love to make history repeat itself, but this Vandy squad isn’t playing nearly as well as that 2007-08 team was.
Vanderbilt has a lot of talent on their team, but they haven’t played well as a unit since losing five-star point guard Darius Garland to a season-ending injury in the first month of the season. The Commodores were 4-0 before Garland’s injury and lost in the game he suffered his injury in (77-75 to Kent State).
Since then, the Commodores have gone 5-7 overall and have yet to win an SEC game.
Vanderbilt is led by former five-star Simisola Shittu now that Garland is out. The heralded freshman is averaging 13.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. Saben Lee is the only other Vandy player averaging double digits in scoring, producing 12.4 points a game. He also averages 3.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds per contest.
The Vols are averaging the second-most points per game in SEC play, scoring 87.6 points per game in conference play. Vanderbilt has averaged the fewest points per contest against SEC foes, scoring just 61.4 points per game against SEC competition.
Tennessee has won four of their last five games against Vanderbilt, including two-straight wins on the road against the Commodores. The Vols have won 10-straight SEC regular season games dating back to last season, and they’ve won five-straight games against in-state opponents.
Here’s everything you need to know about today’s match-up. And if you can’t make it to the game, here’s how you can watch and listen to the Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt game.
Tip-Off: 7:00 Eastern, January 23rd, Memorial Gym (Nashville, TN)
Streaming Online: WatchESPN.com or ESPN app
Radio: Vol Network (99.1 FM or 990 AM in Knoxville/surrounding areas)
Line: Tennessee (-8.5)