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Tennessee basketball vs Purdue, Elite 8

DETROIT − Santiago Vescovi watched Tennessee basketball beat Creighton in a training room at Little Caesars Arena on Friday.

That was part of a nightmare stretch this week for Vescovi, who is battling the flu as the Vols battle to get to the program’s first Final Four. He is hoping he is on the back end of the illness and will be able to play as Tennessee faces Purdue on Sunday.

“I’m going to try to play,” Vescovi said Saturday. “I want to play and I want to be with the guys. The flu has been kicking my tail.”

Vescovi will continue to be evaluated leading up to No. 2 Tennessee (27-8) facing No. 1 Purdue (32-4) on Sunday (2:20 p.m. ET, CBS) at Little Caesars Arena with a spot in the Final Four on the line.

Vescovi is averaging 6.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season.

Will Santiago Vescovi play for Tennessee basketball vs Purdue in Elite 8?

Vols coach Rick Barnes said Saturday he expects Vescovi will be ready to go for Tennessee against the Boilermakers two days after the guard felt like he “couldn’t do anything like physically” to play against Creighton.

Vescovi has been dealing with aches, fever, chills and a lack of energy. But he found a burst of energy watching Tennessee beat Creighton 82-75 to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in his career.

“That really got my blood going,” Vescovi said. “I think the guys did a great job and it was really fun to watch.”

Vescovi missed a game for the fourth time in his career out of 152 games. He had played in a program-record 148 games with 144 starts.

Vescovi had started every game this season for Tennessee and the Vols had started the same lineup for 28 straight games. Jahmai Mashack started in Vescovi’s place against Creighton.

Santiago Vescovi has been a staple for Tennessee basketball for five years

Vescovi is averaging 10.4 points per game in his career and shooting 37.3% on 3-pointers.

Vescovi became the Tennessee leader in career steals with 212 after he tallied three against Texas in UT’s 62-58 win in the second round in Charlotte. He is one of two players to make more than 100 3-pointers in a season. He hit 102 as a junior in 2021-22. Chris Lofton did it three times. He also ranks third in school history in 3-pointers with 325, trailing Lofton’s 431 and Allan Houston’s 346.

The Uruguayan guard is one of two players in Tennessee history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.

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