No. 2 seed Tennessee (29-5, 15-3 SEC) takes on No. 15 seed Colgate (24-10, 13-5 Patriot) on Friday in a first round match-up in the NCAA Tournament. The two teams have never played in the NCAA Tournament, but both have had strong seasons en route to their contest on Friday afternoon.
We take a look at some of the more interesting and intriguing numbers in Tennessee’s contest against the Raiders of Colgate in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
This year marks the second-straight season the Vols have made it to the NCAA Tournament, and it’s their 22 appearance overall in the Big Dance. Tennessee has gone 20-22 in the tournament, but they’ve found more success in the last two decades. Since 1998, Tennessee has earned 13 bids into the tournament counting this year. In their previous 12 trips since 1998, the Vols have gone 15-12 overall and have made it to the Sweet Sixteen four times and the Elite Eight once.
For Colgate, this year marks only the third time they’ve ever made it to the NCAA Tournament, and it marks the first time since 1996 the Raiders have earned a berth into the tournament. Colgate made it to the tournament in back-to-back years in 1995 and 1996 as a 16-seed both times, so they’ve yet to earn a win in the NCAA Tournament.
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has appeared in more NCAA Tournaments in his 32 years of coaching than the Vols have in their over 100 years of existence as a basketball program. This year will mark Barnes’ 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He’s gone 22-23 in his previous 23 trips to the Big Dance, but he’s 10-3 all-time when coaching a two-seed or a one-seed in the tournament.
The Vols are 2-0 all-time against 15-seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols have been a No. 2 seed twice before this season, earning that seeding in 2006 and 2008. Tennessee beat No. 15 seed Winthrop 63-61 on a last second three by Chris Lofton in 2006 and defeated 15-seed American by a score of 72-57 in 2008. Tennessee is also 2-0 all-time in the city of Columbus in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols played the first and second round there in 2007, defeating No. 12 seed Long Beach State 121-86 in the first round and No. 4 seed Virginia 77-74 in the second round. Tennessee was a No. 5 seed that year.
All-time, No. 2 seeds have only lost eight times to 15-seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The last time a No. 15 seed upset a No. 2 seed in the first round was when MTSU beat Michigan State 90-81 in 2016.
Tennessee hasn’t had a great deal of success as a No. 2 seed in their previous two times earning that seeding. The Vols are just 3-2 all-time as a two-seed, getting bounced in the second round by Wichita State in 2006 and getting blown out by Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen in 2008. The Vols’ best record as a certain seed is the No. 6 and No. 11 seed. Tennessee is 3-1 when they’ve been either of those seeds.
This year marks the fourth time the Vols have played in the South region of the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee was a four-seed in the South in 2000, a five-seed in the South in 2007, and a three-seed in the South last season. The Vols made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the South region in both 2000 and 2007, but they were bounced in the second round last year. All-time, Tennessee is 5-3 in the South.
Tennessee and Colgate have never met in the NCAA Tournament, but they’ve played in men’s basketball before. And the Raiders have actually never lost to the Vols in men’s basketball. Colgate defeated Tennessee 87-83 in 1955 and again in 1960, this time by a score of 76-73. Both games took place on neutral courts in early season match-ups. The 1955 game was played in Charlotte, North Carolina while the 1960 contest was played in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Colgate is currently riding an 11-game winning streak heading into their match-up with the Vols. The Raiders haven’t lost since February 2nd when Boston defeated them at home by a score of 76-68. Since then, Colgate is averaging 81.3 points per game while only allowing 69.8 points a game in that stretch. The Raiders finished the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and then won three-straight games in the Patriot League Tournament to win the tournament title.
The Raiders have been shooting lights out during their 11-game winning streak, and they’ve been especially on fire in their last 10 games. Colgate has hit almost half of their three-pointers over their last 10 contests, making 48.9 percent of their threes. They’ve connected on over 50 percent of their three-pointers in six of their last 10 games. The Raiders have made at least nine three-pointers in all 10 of those games and have made over 10 threes in eight of those 10 contests. The Raiders boast three different players who make at least 40 percent of their threes on the season. Rapolas Ivanauskas connects on 43.4 percent of his threes, Will Rayman makes 43.2 percent of his triples, and Jack Ferguson hits 41.5 percent of his three-pointers.