For the seventh time in the history of its program, Tennessee will play in the NCAA tournament's round of 16. The Volunteers are just 1-6 in their previous six visits to this stage. Tennessee's lone Elite Eight trip came in 2010. The Vols, an 11th seed in this NCAA tournament will try to make it there again against second-seeded Michigan on Friday night in Indianapolis.
Here's a look back at Tennessee's history in the NCAA tournament's regional semifinals.
• Lost 53-52 to Dayton (Evansville, Ill.)
The NCAA tournament consisted of just 23 teams at the time, so Tennessee received its bid into the field by winning the SEC's regular-season title. The Vols trailed the Flyers by 11 at halftime and trimmed the lead to a basket at 50-48 with eight minutes left when the two teams tried to hold the ball, since there was no shot clock at the time. After Bill Justus tied the game with two minutes left, Tennessee intentionally fouled Dayton, who was holding for the final shot, with 24 seconds, but Ron Widby missed the potential go-ahead jumper after the Flyers hit one of two free throws.
• Lost 62-48 to Virginia (Atlanta)
The top-seeded Cavaliers, led by center Ralph Sampson, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft two years later, led just 27-26 at halftime before pulling away with a 27-4 run in the second half. Sampson scored a season-low nine points on 4-of-13 shooting with three turnovers, but the 7-foot-4 future four-time NBA All-Star blocked four shots. Dale Ellis led the eighth-seeded Vols, who beat VCU in the first round, with 13 points.
• Lost 74-69 to North Carolina (Austin, Texas)
Jerry Green's Vols carried a lead into the homestretch against the eighth-seeded Tar Heels, but a drought of more than seven minutes -- from the 7:15 mark to when there just 13 seconds left in the game -- doomed Tennessee, which led 64-57 with 4:48 left. Carolina freshman Joseph Forte scored 22 points, and Cota hit the go-ahead basket over Ron Slay as the Heels went on a 13-0 run. North Carolina beat Tulsa to reach the Final Four.
• Lost 85-84 to Ohio State (San Antonio)
Tennessee roared out to a big first-half lead on 9-of-15 3-point shooting and led 49-29 just before the break. Yet the Buckeyes, led by senior Ron Lewis (25 points) and freshman point guard Mike Conley Jr. (17) came back to tie the game at 64 and set up a thrilling finish. After Conley split a pair of free throws with 6.5 seconds left, Ohio State freshman center Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft the following June who played just 18 foul-plagued minutes, blocked Ramar Smith's winning layup attempt at the buzzer.
• Lost 79-60 to Louisville (Charlotte, N.C.)
Despite winning 29 games and the SEC regular-season title and achieving a No. 1 ranking in February, Tennessee was given a No. 2 seed in the tournament's toughest region. After beating a three-loss Butler team in overtime in the second round, the Vols were paired with Rick Pitino's Cardinals, whose length and 2-3 zone were a bad matchup for Tennessee. The Vols trimmed a 16-point first half deficit to 37-36 early in the second half before Louisville, which held Tennessee to 34 percent shooting and a 5-of-20 night from beyond the arc, took over for good with a 13-5 spurt led by Earl Clark.
• Beat Ohio State 76-73 (St. Louis)
Much like this season's run, Tennessee emerged from a 6-11 matchup by beating a tough San Diego State squad and caught a break when a 14 seed (Ohio) upset a 3 (Georgetown). Against the Buckeyes and star Evan Turner, Wayne Chism led Tennessee with 22 points and 11 rebounds in a tight back-and-forth game. Brian Williams tipped in the go-ahead points with 32 seconds left, Bobby Maze hit two free throws after an Ohio State miss and J.P. Prince blocked a 3 by Turner, who scored 31 points, at the buzzer to send the Vols to their only Elite Eight.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...