Just like with football, Tennessee’s basketball program will attempt to checkerboard their venue when the Florida Gators come to town.
Tennessee announced on Sunday that the match-up between the No. 1 Vols and Florida Gators on Saturday, February 9th will be a “Checker TBA” game in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Spread the word.
Saturday → #CheckerTBA.
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) February 3, 2019
Last season, Tennessee did a “Checker TBA” game when the Vols hosted the reigning National Champions, North Carolina. The Vols led for a large portion of their game against the No. 7 Tarheels, holding a 38-32 advantage at halftime. But North Carolina would storm back in the second half and ended up winning 78-73.
Tennessee also checkered Thompson-Boling Arena years ago in the Bruce Pearl era.
Checkering a venue at UT may have actually started with the basketball team years ago, but it was the football team that made it popular and a new “tradition” at Tennessee. The football Vols checkered Neyland Stadium for the first time back in 2014 when Florida came to Knoxville. The Vols lost that game by a score of 10-9.
For the next several seasons, Tennessee would have an annual “Checker Neyland” game. The Vols did it against Oklahoma in 2015 and lost in double-overtime. In 2016, they did it again against Florida, and this time UT defeated the Gators 38-28. The 2017 “Checker Neyland” game resulted in the worst loss in Neyland Stadium history, as the Vols fell 41-0 to Georgia.
This past season, fans elected not to participate in a “Checker Neyland” game.
No. 1 Tennessee is set to tip-off against Florida at 4:00 Eastern on Saturday, February 9th. The two teams have already played once this season, and the Vols defeated the Gators 78-67 in Gainesville.