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Tyreke Key’s Tennessee Football Connection at the NCAA Tournament

Tyreke Key
Tennessee guard Tyreke Key. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

Life on Rocky Top for Tennessee Athletics is pretty good right now. The Tennessee basketball team is heading to the Sweet 16, the Lady Vols are hosting the NCAA Tournament in Knoxville, the Lady Vols’ softball team is ranked No. 4, and the Vols’ baseball team is ranked No. 2.

The football team, in addition, is coming off its biggest postseason win since the 1998 National Championship in their second year under Josh Heupel.

After helping Tennessee defeat Duke in the second round of the March Madness tournament on Saturday, Vols guard Tyreke Key connected two of those sports during a postgame interview.

While speaking with the media in the locker room following Tennessee’s 65-52 win, Key was holding his phone in his left hand. In the back of his transparent case was an orange ticket stub. That stub was to the Tennessee-Alabama football game from Oct. 15 in Knoxville this past season.

“It was the Alabama game,” Key said while holding up his phone. “When we beat Alabama in Neyland. So I got to storm the field and I’ve literally had it in my phone since then.”

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That Alabama game was just two weeks after Tennessee basketball had begun practicing for the 2022-2023 season, which also happens to be Key’s first season with the Volunteers.

Key, a native of Celina, TN, transferred to Tennessee this past season after spending his first four years at Indiana State. The fifth-year collegiate veteran is now gearing up for the Sweet 16 in his first tournament appearance ever.

“It’s the reason I came back to college,” Key said after the win against Duke on Saturday in Orlando. “To be able to play in the tournament, like I’ve said, I couldn’t be more amazed with how the experience has been so far. To be able to go to the Sweet 16, that’s what any kid would dream of growing up. And I get to do that, I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Tyreke Key has 15 points through Tennessee’s two NCAA Tournament games against 13-seed Louisiana and 5-seed Duke. The Vols will now gear up for the Sweet 16 next weekend in New York City.

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