In December of the 2018-19 college basketball season, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team held off a high-scoring Memphis Tigers team on the road in Memphis, defeating their in-state foes 102-92 in front of a packed house in the FedExForum. The game provided plenty of fireworks, but it was comments and actions after the game that made headlines.
During the game, there was a minor altercation during a timeout in the closing minutes of the match-up. Tennessee’s Jordan Bone and the Tigers’ Alex Lomax and Jeremiah Martin were all whistled for technical fouls during the exchanging of words, but no physical altercations took place during the incident.
After the game, Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway claimed that Tennessee’s players started the incident, alleging that UT’s players had their “fists balled” and were ready to fight.
“Alex (Lomax) is a kid that’s not gonna talk trash, so obviously Jordan Bone said something to him disrespectfully,” Hardaway said about the incident on the court. “He protected himself by, you know, saying something back. Then Jeremiah (Martin) jumped in and said something to Jordan Bone, and the referee tech’d Jeremiah.
“I said (to the ref) that the entire Tennessee team ran over to fight. You know, their entire team emptied the bench to run over. They weren’t coming over because it was a timeout. You could visibly see guys with their fists balled, talking trash to our guys or whatever.”
Just a couple days later, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes responded, not taking kindly to Hardaway’s allegations. Hardaway himself then reacted to Barnes’ response by calling Barnes “low class” and reiterating that the film of the game would make Barnes “eat those words” about the accusations being false.
All the on-court play and off-court antics helped re-spark the heated rivalry between Tennessee and Memphis, and the two will play again this upcoming season, this time in Knoxville. And Tennessee’s social media team is already playing off last season’s drama to drum up interest in this year’s match-up.
The official Tennessee basketball Twitter account started a thread looking at UT’s non-conference schedule through use of memes. Tennessee officially announced the entirety of UT’s non-conference schedule earlier in the week, and the Twitter thread was a way of discussing the schedule and having a little fun.
The thread started off innocently enough with some generic memes and funny, light-hearted jabs at schools like Murray State and Purdue. But the most retweeted and talked about tweet was the one referring to Memphis.
After knowing the history between Hardaway and Barnes, the tweet is self-explanatory. You can view the tweet for yourself below.
Dec. 14 / Memphis pic.twitter.com/75afwlFl1X
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) August 9, 2019
The Vols and Tigers will tip-off in Knoxville on December 14th in what will likely be a sold out Thompson-Boling Arena. The tip-off time for the game will be announced at a later date.
Tennessee and Memphis will play a third time the following season, but it will be in the mid-state for a neutral site match-up. The Tigers and Vols will be playing in Nashville for the third and final game of this three-game series that was agreed to a couple years ago.