The Vols, 21-12 and seeded No. 9 in the East Region, will face Oklahoma State, 22-11 and seeded No. 8, Friday at Dayton, Ohio. The Cowboys are on a roll, having won eight of their last 10 games, including an upset of sixth-ranked Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament.
Like Auburn, which beat UT in the regular season, and Mississippi State, which beat UT in Sunday's SEC title game, Oklahoma State starts four guards and relies on quickness and tenacity to offset a lack of height. In addition, the Cowboys rank No. 5 nationally in 3-point baskets, averaging 9.5 per game.
OSU's 3-point marksmanship failed it in Saturday's Big 12 Tournament semifinals, however. The Cowboys missed their first 16 trey attempts and finished 4 of 24 from beyond the arc in a 67-59 loss to No. 14 Missouri.
Oklahoma State reached the conference tournament's semifinals by trouncing Iowa State 81-67 in Round 1 and upsetting Oklahoma 71-70 in Round 2. James Anderson sank the tying and winning free throws with 2.3 seconds left to lift the Cowboys in that one.
Oklahoma State's only other loss in its last 10 games was in the regular-season finale, an 82-78 squeaker to Oklahoma in Norman.
Anderson, a 6-6 195-pound guard, is OSU's leading scorer at 18.6 points per game. Byron Eaton, a 5-11 215-pound guard, follows at 14.1. Terrel Harris, a 6-5 190-pound guard, is third at 13.8 points per game. Each of the three has started all 33 games for the Cowboys. The other starters are 5-10 165-pound guard Keiton Page (8.9 points per game) and 6-6 215-pound forward Marshall Moses (6.6 points per game).
Sixth man Obi Muonelo, a 6-5 215-pounder, averages 12.6 points per game. Anthony Brown, a 6-6 225-pounder, provides some depth on the interior.
OSU's two tallest players, 6-11 sophomores Scott Warner and Teeng Akol, are relegated strictly to mopup roles.
Muonelo is OSU's leading rebounder at 7.3 per game, followed by Moses (5.9), Anderson (5.8) and Harris (4.8). Eaton leads the Cowboys in assists (182) and steals (72).
In spite of Saturday's woeful shooting performance vs. Missouri, Oklahoma State is hitting a hefty 38.4 percent from 3 as a team. Anderson is sinking 41.0 percent beyond the arc, followed by Page (40.7), Muonelo (40.1) and Harris (35.7).