Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

Tennessee’s Season Ends As Shooting Goes Cold Against Michigan

#15 Saint Peter’s Shocks #2 Kentucky In The First Round

Tennessee’s eight-game win streak and 2021-22 season came to a close Saturday as the Vols fell to Michigan, 76-68.

The Vols’ dependence on the three-point shot proved to be their downfall as Tennessee shot two-of-18 from deep, and zero-of-seven in the game’s final eight minutes.

“We shot the shots that we practiced,” Josiah-Jordan James said. “Today just for forty minutes they didn’t go in. Credit to Michigan, they played pretty good defense. But I feel like today just wasn’t our day shooting the ball. But give a lot of credit to Michigan.”

Tennessee’s two made threes and 11% shooting from the perimeter were its worst marks of the season — even worse than the Vols’ abysmal shooting performance against Texas Tech in December.

Like James said, Tennessee got plenty of open looks from deep. James — who was five-of-seven from two-point range mostly working the midrange — couldn’t get any of his six triples to drop.

Zakai Zeigler also posted an uncharacteristic zero-of-four shooting from three-point range.

Credit Michigan for putting a massive emphasis on running Tennessee off the three-point line. The Wolverines wanted to make the Vols’ big men beat them offensively, and outside of the second half’s opening minutes Tennessee couldn’t capitalize.

“I think in college you have to have somebody, and regardless of size you have to have somebody that can go in when you have days like this, when you can’t seem to find the bottom of the bucket. You’ve got to be able to throw it in there and get fouled, put pressure on people,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “You have to have presence around the rim. And we haven’t been able to do that consistently. It came mostly from our guards penetrating and playing in that area.”

Tennessee had an abundance of success penetrating the ball with its guards. The Vols’ often scored in the 50s in games they shot poorly this season, but scored 68 Saturday thanks to the performance of Kennedy Chandler

Michigan couldn’t stay in front of Tennessee’s point guard and the five-star saved his best performance of the season for its last, tallying 19 points, nine assists and four rebounds.

Tennessee led by six at the under eight media timeout in the second half. That’s when Michigan went to a zone defense and the Vols’ perimeter woes truly showed up.

Chandler was able to still get in the paint, but Michigan’s help defense was able to beat him to the basket, forcing the point guard to dish to open shooters.

“Even though they were going zone, we kept running our offense and attacking the zone and tried to apply pressure on the defense, find the open gap in the zone,” Chandler said. “It was just kind of a war zone, honestly, but Coach was telling us to run our normal offense and keep attacking them.”

Tennessee’s defense that put opponents in mud all season, struggled against the Wolverines. Michigan center Hunter Dickinson was nearly unstoppable, scoring 27 points on 13 shots.

Perhaps the game’s most telling stat is that Dickinson — a 30% three-point shooter — made more triples than Tennessee’s whole team.

“We were glad he was shooting it from out there,” Barnes said. “We would have let him have all he wanted, we really did, because we — around the rim. But when he hurt us the most was when they did exactly what we thought they would do coming out of halftime, they would try to establish them on the block there. And, again, we knew that. And, again, did we think you we could shut him out? We didn’t, because — but we also — we had two stops there where we couldn’t rebound the ball, and that was a really pivotal time for us. He’s a hard player to guard. And two years in a row we have gone up against the big, burly post players that’s hurt us.”

Michigan’s 78 points was the most Tennessee has given up since its 90-80 win over Texas A&M on Feb. 1.

The loss ends Tennessee’s season and marks the fourth time in the Barnes’ era that the Vols have lost to a lower seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *