Vols Hogs WINNING on Signature Saturday
We warned you about this winning phenomenon that was about to sweep over SECJams on Mondays, and today we bring you the fifth. There are a lot of factors we consider before giving out this award each week. They include the following; magnitude of the story, the impact on the community, the impact to the university, and most importantly did the program, university, or person WIN.
This week’s award will be given to two universities for major upsets over ranked teams both at home. On what we deemed CBS Saturday, The Arkansas Razorbacks beat #19 Michigan at home 66-64. Later that afternoon it was the Tennessee Volunteers who beat #11 Connecticut 60-57 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Razorbacks did everything they had to do to beat Michigan on Saturday. The game was played before a sold out crowd in Bud Walton Arena, and marked the first sellout in three years. In the crowd was former coach Nolan Richardson and the team played like teams that were coached by Richardson. It moved the baby Hogs to 14-0 on the year at Bud Walton Arena and 14-5 overall.
It was a team led by freshman B.J. Young who had 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists on the day. The Hogs came out of the gate like a team with something to prove jumping to a 46-33 lead at half shooting 50 percent from the field.
The lead did not last long as Michigan came back to close the margin with two separate runs led by Zack Novak and his three point shot. Novak finished the game with 17 points, but it was not enough to beat the Hogs on Saturday.
It was another signature win for first year coach Mike Anderson, and second over a ranked team this year.
Following the Hogs on CBS was the Tennessee Volunteers under first year coach Cuonzo Martin. For Martin and his Vols, it also marked the second win over a ranked team at home, and a huge signature win for what he is doing at the University of Tennessee. The 60-57 win came in front of the 20,000 plus screaming fans in attendance at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Tennessee faithful were in full effect as Joe D'Ambrosio the Connecticut play-by-play announcer posted on twitter “No building in the @BigEastConf as loud as Thompson Bolling Arena #UConn#Tennessee”. Yes, he misspelled Thompson-Boling Arena, but we will forgive him after the complement.
It also marked the first start for the fabulous freshman Jarnell Stokes. Stokes joined the Volunteers on January 9th after graduating high school early from Southwind High School in Memphis, Tennessee. It was an unbelievable first start for Stokes who finished the game with his first career double-double. The freshman led the team with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Connecticut did not go away without a fight as Jeremy Lamb finally played like Coach Calhoun has been wanting. Lamb finished with 23 points and was an essential part of the Huskies getting back into the game late in the second half. It was the sharp shooting of Lamb and Napier, and the missed free throws from the Vols that left the door open for the Huskies.
At the end of the day Senior Cam Tatum, finished his best game of his Tennessee career hitting one of two free throws to give the Vols a three point lead, which was enough to win the game. Tatum has been the most Jekyll and Hyde player during his career at Tennessee, and the senior finally had the game Tennessee fans have been hoping for with 15 points and 3 assists.
This game was a key for Coach Martin, whose hard nose defense is beginning to win over the fans on Rocky Top. It was a step in the right direction for the program, and a potential last gasp at a NCAA Tournament berth in March.
It was a huge day for the SEC to show off their basketball prowess to the rest of the country with two big upsets over non-conference opponents. Congratulations goes out to both first year coaches on signature wins, and being deemed this week’s WINNERS.