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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was a huge crack in the Tennessee basketball locker room Thursday and in the hallways of the Spectrum Center.

An NCAA staff member came out moments later with a foam board with a picture of Charlotte’s bracket pod on it. The “Tennessee” plaster was crooked and had a cracked run across the board.

what happened?

“An honest mistake,” said Tennessee senior walk-on Colin Coyne.

No. 2 seed Tennessee felt good after an 83-49 win over No. 15 St. Peter’s — so good that Coyne went straight into the bracket that teams always post their names after.

“Every time I saw that board, I thought it was billboard-type material,” Coyne said. “I found out the hard way.”

How the bracket broke in the Tennessee locker room

Dalton Knecht initially denied involvement in the board break. Josiah-Jordan said it was James. James explained that it was Coyne who was in the opposite corner of the cramped locker room.

“He really smashed it,” guard Santiago Vescovi said. “He smashed that thing.” He took it literally, he did what he had to do.”

The Vols (25-8) also dominated St. Peter’s (19-14) from start to finish. They will face No. 7-seeded Texas (21-12) on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, CBS) in Detroit to advance to the Sweet 16.

Tennessee did this by being the offensive lineman from the start. He regularly checked into Jonah’s Aidoo to make sure he was there early. Knecht was a knock-down shooter as always, and Zeigler was the engine of it all. Vescovi hit a pair of 3-pointers. Tobe Awaka played well inside.

The Vols were elite defensively. The only criticism James could think of was the need to minimize changes. UT had 15.

In the opener, when Coyne had a chance to get into the game, he was dominant enough to run off the back end. Then he heard his name called. He heard it again in the locker room to put the “Tennessee” plate into the next round.

I was just told to slap him,” Coyne said. I put it down a bit.”

Tennessee had a proper game before facing Texas for a spot in the Sweet 16

The Vols have spent the first 48 hours since losing to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament.

“We know Nashville isn’t as good as we want it to be so we have to come out and focus, be more aggressive and be physical,” Knecht said.

Preview: Tennessee Basketball vs. Texas in March Madness: Predictions for the 2024 NCAA Tournament

Jacobs said last week’s exercises were all about accountability. Vols coach Rick Barnes reiterated the same message he preached after the MSU loss: The next 40 minutes could be the last. The Vols didn’t want that. After two games of losing form, they challenged each other to bring the fight back.

He scored in the first game.

Vescovi can tell Tennessee he’s ready before he leaves the locker room. It was energy and fun to play.

“That’s the kind of effort we need every night if we want to keep playing,” Vescovi said.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @by Mike Wilson. If you enjoy Mike’s cover, Consider digital subscription It allows you to access it all.