Tennessee Vols morning report: Kellie Harper recaps OT win vs. Arkansas

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Welcome to February. The Tennessee Vols are set for a big week in football with National Signing Day set for Wednesday, and they racked up multiple commitments Tuesday that we have and will continue to discuss. Meanwhile, basketball remains in full swing.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with continuing coverage of a huge women’s basketball victory Monday night. We’ll discuss the press conferences that took place after the game. Pressers in men’s basketball happened as well, and we’ll cover those too.

Beyond the press conferences and game recaps and previews, a men’s and women’s basketball player each are on separate awards watch lists. We’ll touch on those too, and we’ll close with previews in baseball and softball. Let’s dive in with basketball, though.

Rick Barnes, Victor Bailey Jr. talk week ahead – Ben McKee, VolQuest

Coming off their heartbreaking 52-51 loss on the road to the Texas Longhorns this past weekend, the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team dropped to No. 22 in the AP Poll and remained No. 20 in the Coaches Poll. As they get set to host the Texas A&M Aggies at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Rick Barnes and Victor Bailey Jr. spoke Monday. Barnes discussed UT’s offense. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“I mean turning down shots and then free throws play into that some too. I mean there is no doubt about it. When you miss those one-and-ones. They are critical, those are critical misses; but two-shot fouls you miss those. And you couple those with the fact that you turn down shots that turn into bad possessions. And you throw some turnovers in there. That is how most people get runs going.”"

Bailey, meanwhile, talked about the difficulties he’s gone through this season, seeing limited minutes and battling injuries. Here’s how he described it.

"“It’s really important to me that we win games and that we are successful. Our guys work really hard, and I want to see that work paid off, so whatever I have to do and whatever mindset I have to have to make us successful that is all I really care about.”"

Kellie Harper, players recap Arkansas win – Maria M. Cornelius

After a bad loss at the Auburn Tigers last week knocked the Tennessee Lady Vols down to No. 7 in the AP Poll Monday, they responded with a 13-point second half comeback for an overtime win over the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kellie Harper, Jordan Horston, Rae Burrell and Sara Puckett spoke after the game. Harper discussed her team’s resiliency. Here’s a bit of what she said.

"“I would prefer we don’t put ourselves in the position to demonstrate our feisty resilience. I think that’s the thing about this team. You know, they’re proud of that. They’re proud of their toughness. They’re proud of their resilience. They’re not going to give up. I think sometimes we do wear on people.”"

Horston, who led in scoring once again, talked about what this game meant for confidence. This is how she described it.

"“We went into the game already knowing that we had to bounce back. We couldn’t sit and dwell on the past, because if we did that, then we would not have learned our lesson. I feel like everyone was locked in and brought great energy.”"

Burrell, who had a season-high 21 points, discussed what appears to be her return to elite play. Here’s what she said about it.

"“I feel like I had to step up to the plate and knock down hard shots. I feel like my teammates were putting me in great positions to help me knock them down.”"

Puckett, who hit two three-pointers and got 10 rebounds off the bench, talked about her contributions. This is what she said the team needed from her.

"“Rebounds were the main thing. That’s what we kind of drilled this week in practice since the Auburn game. I just really focused on boxing out the best I could and going after every rebound I could. That’s what they were telling me, and what I was truly focused on during the game.”"

Kennedy Chandler named to Bob Cousy Award Watch List – HoopHallAwards.com

On Monday, Tennessee Vols men’s basketball freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler was one of 10 finalists named to the Bob Cousy Award Watch List. The award will be trimmed to five at some point in late February.

"A Basketball Hall of Famer since 1971, Mr. Cousy wanted to continue both his legacy and ensure that the best point guards in the collegiate game are appropriately recognized. Since 2004, the Cousy Award has both recognized some of the games’ best players and students."

Jordan Horston on Wooden Award Watch List – WoodenAward.com

Despite not being one of the top 25 players on the watch list back in early January, Tennessee Lady Vols guard Jordan Horston found herself on the top 20 list at the end of the month. The award goes to the top player in men’s and women’s college basketball.

"The Big Ten and SEC leads all conferences with five selections on the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 each, followed by the Big 12 and Pac-12 with three each, the ACC with two selections, and the ASUN and Big East with one selection each.The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Women’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s."

Two baseball Vols named preseason All-Americans – BaseballAmerica.com

Sophomore pitcher Blade Tidwell and junior outfielder Jordan Beck of the Tennessee Vols baseball team were named Baseball America Preseason All-Americans. Tidwell earned First Team, and Beck earned Third Team.

"Baseball America annually polls major league teams to vote for its Preseason All-America team, asking that they make their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential. In the past, the Baseball America Preseason All-America team has been a predictor both of the first round of the draft and of team success."

Softball picked fourth in SEC – SECSports

The Tennessee Lady Vols softball team received one first-place vote in the SEC preseason coaches’ rankings and were picked fourth overall for the 2022 season. They are behind the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators and Arkansas Razorbacks.

"The Crimson Tide received seven first-place votes and 138 points to lead the preseason poll. Florida collected three first-place votes and 131 points to finish in second place. Arkansas earned two first-place votes and 124 points to take third place, while Tennessee garnered one first-place vote and 103 points to place fourth."