No. 5 Tennessee (4-0) will face-off with No. 2 Kansas (4-0) in a huge early season match-up on Friday night in the NIT Season Tip-Off Finals.
The Vols took Louisville’s best effort on Wednesday night, and they finally pulled away late for a 92-81 victory over the Cardinals. Kansas trailed Marquette 47-38 at halftime but roared out to a 22-0 run to start the second half and won 77-68.
That’s how these two teams got here. And now they’ll be playing each other for the fourth time ever.
Tennessee is just 1-2 against Kansas all-time, but their lone win against the Jayhawks was a big one. The No. 11 Vols downed No. 1 Kansas 76-68 in Knoxville on January 10, 2010 just shortly after Tennessee faced major off the court drama with the arrest of star player Tyler Smith and a few other Vols.
Kansas would avenge that loss a few years later, beating Tennessee 82-67 in an early season tournament in Orlando in 2014. No. 14 Tennessee fell to an unranked Kansas squad 92-85 in January of 2009 in the first meeting between the two schools.
When the two teams face-off tonight, there will be a combined 1,323 wins on the court between the respective head coaches. Kansas’ head coach Bill Self has won 658 games in his 26 years of coaching, and Tennessee’s Rick Barnes has won 665 games in his 32 years as a head coach. The two faced-off for many years in the Big 12 when Barnes was still the head coach of Texas.
The Jayhawks come in shooting lights-out from three, making 47.3 percent of their threes on the year. Despite giving up 81 points to Louisville on Wednesday, the Vols enter with one of the better defenses in college basketball, allowing only 60 points per game through four games.
Tennessee forward Grant Williams has eclipsed the 20-point mark in three of his first four games, and guard Lamonte Turner returned for the Vols on Wednesday after missing the first three games. He scored 13 points and hit three threes off the bench in 25 minutes.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s match-up. And here’s all the information you need to watch or listen to No. 5 Tennessee’s game against No. 2 Kansas.
Tip-Off: 9:00 Eastern, November 23rd, Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)
Streaming Online: WatchESPN.com or ESPN app
Radio: Vol Network (99.1 FM or 990 AM in Knoxville/surrounding areas)
Line: Kansas (-4)