The most talked about in-state match-up in a decade has finally arrived.
No. 19 Tennessee (7-1) hosts No. 13 Memphis (8-1) on Saturday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena for the second game of a three-game agreement between the two schools. Last year, the Vols beat Memphis 102-92 on the road. This year, the Tigers will be looking for revenge in Knoxville.
Tennessee is coming off a 72-69 win over then-No. 20 VCU in the Emerald Coast Classic and a 72-43 victory at home over Florida A&M. The Vols, however, haven’t played in 10 days, with their game against the Rattlers coming on December 4th.
The Tigers have won six-straight games since an 82-74 loss to then-No. 14 Oregon back on November 12th. Included in that winning streak are victories over Ole Miss and NC State. Last time out, Memphis beat UAB 65-57 on the road and trailed into the second half.
All the drama of last year’s contest has fed the war of words from both fanbases this offseason. Because of that and because of the always-heated nature of this in-state rivalry, a sold out Thompson-Boling Arena will be rocking.
Tennessee leads the all-time series against Memphis 15-11, and the Vols are 7-4 vs. the Tigers in Knoxville. UT is also 3-0 all-time against Penny Hardaway as a player and coach.
Memphis will be without two of their best players when they take the court on Saturday, however. Former No. 1 overall prospect James Wiseman is serving a 12-game suspension after taking impermissible benefits as a recruit, and former four-star shooting guard Lester Quinones is sitting due to injury.
The Tigers are led by Precious Achiuwa (13.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG) and DJ Jeffries (12.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG) in their absence. Boogie Ellis and Alex Lomax also provide scoring for Memphis.
Tennessee should be at full strength on Saturday — minus seven-footer Uros Plavsic, who still has not hear back from the NCAA about his appeal for his waiver to play immediately. The Vols are led by Jordan Bowden (13.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG), Lamonte Turner (13.8 PPG, 7.6 APG), and Yves Pons (12.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG).
Coming into today’s game, Tennessee has a 31-game winning streak at home. A victory would continue the longest home winning streak in the NCAA, and it would also give Rick Barnes his 700th career victory.
Make sure you check out the five biggest things to know about today’s match-up. Take a look at our stat comparison of the two teams, and get a full breakdown of the Tigers in the latest RTI Podcast.
If you can’t make it over to Thompson-Boling Arena, here’s how you can watch or listen to the Tennessee vs. Memphis game today.
Tip-Off: 3:00 Eastern, December 14th, Thompson-Boling Arena (Knoxville, TN)
TV: ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Dick Vitale, Kris Budden)
Streaming Online: ESPN.com or the ESPN app
Radio: Vol Network
Line: Tennessee (-7)