Tennessee basketball traveled to Rupp Arena and lost 54-66 to the Wildcats on Saturday.
The Vols went from being on top of the world, to once again, losing to a far inferior team. While it certainly isn’t easy playing at Rupp, I thought that the momentum that they had after beating Alabama would carry over and help Tennessee basketball get the win. Let’s take a look at three key takeaways that I have from the loss on Saturday.
Santi was by far the best player on the court Saturday. Vescovi shot almost 40% from three-point land and led the Vols’ offense throughout the whole game. After a slow first half, the senior took over in the second half with 17 points.
In my opinion, he was the sole reason that the Vols didn’t lose by 30. Santiago Vescovi helped the Vols crawl back but they ultimately fell short against the Wildcats. The lead that the Wildcats took in the first half was far too big of a hill to climb.
Hopefully, Vescovi can continue his impressive play into March, because the Vols’ offense will need all they can get to make a run deep into the Tournament.
One of Tennessee basketball’s key players, Zakai Zeigler, only played for 23 minutes on Saturday because he was in foul trouble the entire game. Normally Zeigler plays for almost 40 minutes a game so his lack of time on the court made it very difficult to get any offense going.
The refs were out to get the Vols all game long, and some of the fouls they called were extremely questionable. The Vols couldn’t play their blue blood brand of basketball because they were constantly getting called for everything. The Vols sent the Wildcats to the free throw line 35 times, which is a crazy statistic to look at.
If we take a look solely at the free throw statistic, it’s clear that the reason the Vols lost this game was that they couldn’t make a free throw. They shot 4-14, and in a game where every point matters, those 10 points would’ve helped. if they make their free throws this is a one-possession game, and the Vols likely win.