Tennessee Basketball Receives SEC Championship Title Rings

The rings of the SEC Basketball Championship have arrived in Tennessee.

The Vols received the rings after a Thursday afternoon rehearsal at Pratt Pavilion Thursday afternoon, documented by video and photos on social media.

At the Amalie Arena in Tampa in March, Tennessee was the No. 2 seed in the SEC Championship bracket and went through Mississippi, Kentucky and Texas A&M en route to the title, the program’s first conference championship since 1979.

The Falls defeated Mississippi State 72-59 in the quarterfinals, then beat Kentucky 69-62 in the semifinals. Texas A&M advanced to the championship on Sunday as the No. 8 seed, defeating No. 1 Florida, No. Auburn and No. 4 Arkansas, seeded.

The Aggies seem to have run out of gas by the time they meet the flaming Vols.

Santiago Vesco scored 17 points, Kennedy Chandler added 14 points to start the match with seven assists, while Josiah Jordan James scored a double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Chandler and Viscovi combined to shoot 8-16 from the 3-point streak and had 12 assists between them to run Vols (26-7). James went 3-for-7 from the 3-point streak on his way to 16 points, while John Folkerson led the way on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds for an eight-point lead.

Vols started the game 14-0, scoring 14 points in the first four minutes, 44 seconds.

This was SEC’s third appearance in Tennessee in the past four championships, after losing to Kentucky in St. Louis in 2018 and Auburn in Nashville in 2019. Prior to the current round, the Vols have gone to three championship title matches in the past 38 years.

It was the 13th game ever in the SEC Championship in Tennessee, featuring seven games between 1936 and 1950. After winning the 1979 championship, the Vols went to the championship game in 1991, losing to Alabama in Nashville, and in 2009, He lost 64-61 to Mississippi State in Tampa.

Tennessee beat Kentucky 75-69 in overtime at Birmingham in 1979 in what was the last Falls SEC Championship. That title cut a 36-year streak, dating back to a 33-30 win over Kentucky in Louisville in 1943. Tennessee beat Kentucky 36-33 in 1941 in Louisville for its second title of the conference session, after beating Alabama 29-25 in Knoxville in 1936.

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The season ended with a 27-8 aggregate record, as the Vols upset as the No. 3 seed in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to No. 11 ranked Michigan.

The 2022-23 season begins November 7 against Tennessee Tech at the Thompson-Boling Arena. Other non-conference games include Florida’s Gulf Coast, McNeese State, Alcorn State, Eastern Kentucky and Austin Pei, along with a 12-SEC challenge game against Texas. The Vols will play neutral location matches against Colorado (Nashville) and Maryland (Brooklyn, NY) and will play three matches in three days of Battle 4 Atlantis this Thanksgiving week in the Bahamas, starting with Butler.

The SEC slate includes home games against Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri, road games in Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and home and home matches with Kentucky, Auburn, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Mississippi.

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