Even the Vols admit that the gut-wrenching nature of that loss in Nashville sent their season into a downward spiral.
"Yeah, it did," junior guard Jordan Howell concedes. "It was an emotionally draining game. Duke Crews made a dunk with a couple of seconds left and we thought we had it won, so that loss really took all the energy out.
"Then, on the three-hour bus ride home, all you can do is think about what happened."
With both Vanderbilt (16-7 overall, 6-3 SEC) and Tennessee (16-8, 4-5) on the bubble for NCAA Tournament bids, a sweep of UT would give the Commodores a leg up when the NCAA bids go out. That makes Saturday's 1 o'clock meeting at Thompson-Boling Arena a big one for Tennessee.
"It's huge," Howell says. "That's the first thing Coach Pearl said in the locker room: We owe them one because they beat us on a last-second shot there. Now they're coming in here and we've got to protect our home court. That's what we're planning on doing here Saturday."
With All-American Chris Lofton slowed by a sore ankle, the Vols struggled to subdue LSU 70-67 Tuesday night. They must play better to beat a Vanderbilt team that broke their spirit with that fateful tip-in on Jan. 10.
"I think we've bounced back," Howell says, "and we plan on handing them one on Saturday."