Tennessee Basketball Trolls Kentucky As Wildcats Alter Uniforms

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    Zakai Zeigler records a steal against Kentucky. Photo via Tennessee Athletics

    Kentucky’s made a point of adding checkerboard to its branding profile in past years, adding blue checkerboard in its end zone design and adding a large checkerboard stripe on the side of its basketball uniforms.

    The additions made for a fun joking point in the border rivalry as the Wildcats tried to include a classic Tennessee design in their athletic department.

    After Tennessee rolled Kentucky, 73-60, inside Thompson-Boling Arena last February the Vol Hoops Twitter account had some fun, tweeting a cease and desist at Kentucky for stealing the patented Tennessee checkerboard.

    After seven months, Kentucky respected Tennessee’s request. The Wildcats released new basketball uniforms Tuesday, removing the checkerboard design and adding a pair of stripes instead.

    The Tennessee basketball Twitter, in turn, retweeted the aforementioned Tweet from February. The cease and desist troll came to the top of the timeline for the 252.1 thousand accounts following Tennessee as the Wildcats gave in to the pressure.

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    Tennessee basketball is in the midst of an unprecedented run of success against Kentucky. Rick Barnes arrival in Knoxville rejuvenated both the Tennessee basketball program and the rivalry matchup.

    Since Barnes’ arrival, Tennessee is 10-7 against the Wildcats in two seasons including a victory in the 2022 SEC Tournament Semifinals. The win moved the Vols to 2-1 on the season against their northern rival and set the stage for the program’s first SEC Tournament Championship since 1979.

    Tennessee has beaten Kentucky in each of Barnes’ seven years including multiple victories in 2018, 2019 and 2022. Barnes has been more successful against the SEC’s best historical basketball program than any other Volunteer coach.

    Since Barnes’ arrival, Tennessee is 5-2 against Kentucky in Thompson-Boling Arena, 3-4 at Rupp Arena and 2-1 in the SEC Tournament (wins in Nashville and Tampa, loss in St. Louis).

    The Vols and Wildcats are poised to be two of the SEC’s best programs again in 2022-23 with Kentucky a consistent in offseason top fives and Tennessee a consistent in offseason top 10s.

    Ryan Schumpert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. Ryan spent three years with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program before joining RTI. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.