Tennessee Baseball, Basketball Team Up To Make SEC History

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It’s been a history making spring for the Tennessee athletic department. The Tennessee basketball team ended a 43-year SEC Tournament drought in March, the baseball team ended a pair of 27-year conference championship droughts — both in the regular season and SEC Tournament —and the men’s tennis program returned to the Final Four for the second straight season.

While ending long championship droughts, the Vols’ baseball and basketball program combined to make history. Tennessee became the first ever university to win the SEC men’s basketball and baseball tournament in the same season.

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The Tennessee basketball team has consistently flirted with ending its SEC Tournament drought under head coach Rick Barnes, but finally knocked down the door in his seventh season.

Tennessee beat Mississippi State, arch rival Kentucky and Texas A&M on its way to cutting down the nets at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

“You go through the ups and downs of being on the roller coaster of a college basketball season, but these guys have had the chemistry amongst themselves where they have all in so many ways stepped aside with whatever they might have as their own goals to say the biggest thing is this team and this program,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “They pull for each other and play for each other, and it’s really fun to see. I think this time of year when you talk about teams that are winning, I think that’s probably the common denominator with most of them.

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball defended its regular-season title and avenged last season’s SEC Championship game loss to Arkansas.

The Vols swept through their conference foes in Hoover, beating Vanderbilt, LSU, Kentucky and Florida on the way to the tournament championship.

Tennessee improved to 4-0 on the season against rivals Florida and Vanderbilt — with zero of the eight games taking place at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

“Then there was also a couple situations in the game where if you look at the box score, it looks like it was one-sided but it was not,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said. “There was moments in that game, there was a lot of moments, and our guys responded during those moments in quality fashion, and a lot of those were on defense.

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Not only did Tennessee win the men’s basketball tournament and baseball tournament, they dominated them. Vol baseball joined the 2000 LSU team as the only team to never trail in the conference tournament.

Tennessee basketball trailed for just 1:07 in the SEC Tournament, falling behind Mississippi State for 12 seconds and Kentucky for 55 seconds early in those two contests.

To add to Tennessee athletic’s SEC Tournament dominance during the 2021-22 school year, the Lady Vol soccer team never trailed on their way to winning the 2021 SEC Tournament.

Tennessee baseball won its four games by an average of 6.25 runs while Tennessee basketball won its three games by an average of 11.67 points.

Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.