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HomeSports#18 Tennessee Men's Basketball hits the road to face Texas Longhorns, Saturday

#18 Tennessee Men’s Basketball hits the road to face Texas Longhorns, Saturday

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The 18th-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team takes part in the 2022 Big 12/SEC Challenge Saturday, heading to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm CT.

Fans can catch Wednesday’s game on ESPN and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Jon Sciambi (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analysis), and Kris Budden (reporter) will have the call.
 
Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp calling the action. The broadcast is also available on channel 158 on Sirius, channel 190 on SiriusXM and channel 961 on the SiriusXM app.
 
Tennessee (14-5, 5-3 SEC) enters Saturday’s contest coming off a third straight win, defeating Florida on Wednesday inside Thompson-Boling Arena, 78-71.
 
In addition to Saturday being the ninth annual Big 12/SEC Challenge, it also marks Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes‘ first return to Austin, where he coached Texas for 17 seasons. From 1998-2015, Barnes posted a 402 wins with the Longhorns and is the winningest coach in program history.
 
The 2022 Big 12/SEC Challenge marks the event’s ninth year. Tennessee is 5-2 in the event, as the Vols did not take part in the inaugural challenge.

The Series

Tennessee’s all-time series with Texas dates to 1952 and is tied, 3-3.

The Volunteers won the lone meeting in Austin, upsetting the sixth-ranked Longhorns, 95-78, on December 17th, 2005.

The most recent meeting was a 97-78 Texas triumph in a matchup of top-15 teams in Newark, New Jersey, on November 24th, 2007.

Rick Barnes was the head coach at Texas for four of the six previous meetings in this series, and the teams split those four games.

It was announced in July that Texas (and Oklahoma) will join the SEC by 2025.

After Saturday, Barnes will have coached against every major-conference school in Division I except for Northwestern and Penn State.

Layup Lines – Team

The 2022 Big 12/SEC Challenge marks the event’s ninth year. Tennessee is 5-2 in the event, as the Vols did not take part in the inaugural challenge.

The Big 12 won the challenge in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2019. The SEC won in 2018 and 2021, and the series was tied in 2017 and 2020. The Big 12 has a cumulative advantage of 44-35 (.557).


Tennessee stands at No. 11 in the NCAA’s latest NET ratings. Each of UT’s five losses are Quad 1.

Tennessee ranks 16th nationally on the NCAA’s official “toughest schedule” metric.
According to KenPom, the Vols rank fifth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 88.2 points per 100 possessions.

The Vols rank among the Division I top 15 in turnover margin (+4.8, 11th), steals per game (9.9, 11th) and assists per game (17.2, 13th).

Layup Lines – Players

Santiago Vescovi has increased his team-leading 14.6 ppg scoring average to 16.4 ppg in SEC play.

Vescovi’s 3.63 3-point makes per game during SEC play lead the league.

Kennedy Chandler’s 2.17 steals per game rank second among all Division I true freshmen. And his 4.9 assists per game rank third among true freshmen nationally.

Chandler has scored (243) or assisted (216) on 32 percent of Tennessee’s total points this season (459 of 1,418).

Over Tennessee’s last three games, true freshman Zakai Zeigler is averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 boards and 2.3 assists in 23.3 minutes off the bench.

The SEC record for career games played is 152, held by Kentucky’s Darius Miller (2008-12). John Fulkerson is closing in, having now appeared in a Tennessee-record 149 career games.

About the Texas Longhorns

Texas (15-5, 5-3 Big 12) is in its first season under the direction of head coach Chris Beard, who served in the same role at Texas Tech from 2016-21.

Texas enters Saturday’s game coming off its second Quad I win of the season. The Longhorns won at TCU on Tuesday, 73-50. Overall this season, Texas has posted a 2-4 record in Quad I games.

Texas leads the nation in scoring defense this season, holding its opponents to just 54.7 points per game. The Longhorns have held eight of their first 20 opponents to 50 points or fewer.
 
The Longhorns were ranked as high as No. 5 this season in the preseason AP poll but dropped out of the AP top 25 this week for the first time all season.
 
Upon taking the Texas job, Beard added seven Division I transfers to the Longhorns’ roster: Timmy Allen (Utah), Devin Askew (Kentucky), Avery Benson (Texas Tech), Christian Bishop (Creighton), Marcus Carr (Minnesota), Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt) and Tre Mitchell (UMass).
 
With per-game averages of 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds, Allen leads the Longhorns in both categories. Allen’s 6.6 boards per game rank seventh in the Big 12, while his 2.5 offensive rebounds per game rank fourth.

In his one season at Kentucky, Askew started two games for the Wildcats against Tennessee—posting averages of 10.5 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game on 8-for-11 (.727) shooting.

In two seasons at Vanderbilt, Disu started and played in three games against the Vols—averaging 11.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest.

Barnes At Texas: By The Numbers

Rick Barnes manned the reins at Texas during an exceptional 17-year run from 1998-2015.

His 402 head coaching wins easily stand as the most in program history, with his predecessor, Tom Penders, the next closest at 208.

1 – Barnes led the Longhorns to a No. 1 national ranking on January 11th, 2010.
2 – Barnes recruited and coached two National Players of the Year at Texas (T.J. Ford and Kevin Durant).
3 – Under Barnes’ direction, Texas won three Big 12 championships (1999, 2006, 2008).
4 – Barnes earned four Big 12 Coach of the Year awards (1999, 2003, 2008, 2014).
16 – Barnes guided the Longhorns to NCAA Tournament appearances in 16 of his 17 seasons as head coach.
17 – Barnes produced 17 NBA Draft picks with Texas, including 11 first-round selections.
402 – Barnes’ 402 wins as a Big 12 head coach rank second in that league’s history behind only Bill Self (539).


Coaching Staff Connections

Tennessee associate head coach Michael Schwartz played for Rick Barnes at Texas from 1997-99. After Schwartz earned his degree in Speech Communication Studies from Texas in 1999, Barnes appointed him to a graduate assistant position, which Schwartz held from 1999-2001.

Vols’ strength coach Garrett Medenwald received his master’s degree in Kinesiology from Texas in 2016. He was mentored by Barnes’ longtime strength coach at Texas, Todd Wright, and was handpicked by Barnes to lead high-performance training efforts at Tennessee.

Two other current Tennessee support staffers Ken McDonald (2004-08) and Bryan Lentz (2010-14) also spent time on Barnes’ staff at Texas.

Texas basketball managing director Chris Ogden played for Barnes at Texas from 2000-03. Ogden was an assistant coach at Tennessee during Barnes’ first year in Knoxville (2015-16).

Texas associated head coach Rodney Terry was an assistant on Barnes’ Texas staff for nine years from 2002-11 before becoming a head coach himself.

Barnes vs. Schools On His Resume

Saturday is Rick Barnes‘ first ever head coaching matchup against Texas.

As a head coach, he is 8-10 against schools at which he once worked. He’s 3-6 vs.

Alabama, 1-1 vs. Ohio State, 2-0 vs. Providence, 0-1 vs. Clemson, and 2-2 vs. Tennessee.


Homecoming For Bailey Jr.

Saturday marks a homecoming for Tennessee senior and Austin native Victor Bailey Jr. Born in Dallas, Bailey Jr. graduated from McNeil High School in Austin in 2017.

Bailey’s mother, Olympic medalist Tonja Buford-Bailey, spent several years on the track & field coaching staff at Texas, including a stint as interim head coach in 2018.

UT Vols Seeking Gender Sweep

Earlier this season, the Tennessee Lady Vols edged the No. 12 Texas women’s basketball team, 74-70, in an overtime thriller in Knoxville.

Tennessee’s Last Meeting With Texas

Tennessee suffered its first loss of the 2007-08 campaign on November 24th, 2007, when it fell to 15th-ranked Texas, 97-78, in the championship game of the 2007 Legends Classic in Newark, New. Jersey.

The Vols led, 39-38, with less than five minutes to play in the first half, but Texas’ D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams keyed a 19-4 Longhorn run that spanned the end of the first half and the start the second. Texas led by nine at the break, 50-41.

The Longhorns came out of the locker room making just about every shot they took, making 18 of 28 field goals in the second half.

Texas finished the game shooting .636 from the field and .500 from 3-point range.

Tennessee shot .388 percent from the field and tied a school record with 16 3-point makes (16 of 33).

The Vols entered the game forcing an average of 25.4 turnovers per game, but Texas only committed 13.

Chris Lofton was named to the All-Tournament Team after leading Tennessee with 18 points. JaJuan Smith added 13 points, and Tyler Smith finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high eight assists.
 
Four Longhorns scored at least 20 points. Augustin led all scorers with 23. Connor Atchley added 22, and Abrams and Justin Mason each had 21.
 
Tennessee went on to earn the No. 1 ranking in February before advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

If It Weren’t For Tennessee, Texas Would Be “North Mexico”

There can be no doubt Texas owes a great debt of gratitude for its statehood to the fierce men from Tennessee.

Before the Alamo fell, 33 Tennesseans, the largest number of defenders provided by any state—nearly four times as many as from Texas—kept Mexican General Santa Anna’s overwhelming army at bay for 13 days against unbelievable odds.

On March 6th, 1836, the brave Tennessee Volunteers and the other Alamo defenders were overrun and breathed their last.

However, the crucial days the Volunteers slowed down the Mexican army gave another Tennessean, Sam Houston, enough time to gallop through Texas raising an army to defend what would become the Lone Star State. This army defeated Santa Anna in no small part because of the contributions of Tennessee’s Volunteers.

Volunteers vs. Longhorns: A Competitives Breakdown

In the five major ticketed team sports—men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, football, and softball—Tennessee holds a 35-27 edge in head-to-head matchups with Texas.
 
SPORT                                 VOLS-HORNS     LAST MEETING
Baseball                                    2-1                     2021 College World Series
Men’s Basketball                        3-3                     Nov. 24, 2007
Women’s Basketball                 26-16                   Nov. 21, 2021
Football                                    1-2                     1969 Cotton Bowl
Softball                                    3-5                      Feb. 14, 2020


Oklahoma, Texas To Join SEC

On July 30th, 2021, the Southeastern Conference announced that Oklahoma and Texas will become members effective July 1st, 2025, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2025-26 academic year.

The addition of Oklahoma and Texas will bring the number of SEC members to 16 beginning July 1st, 2025.

The Conference has twice previously expanded, adding Arkansas and South Carolina in 1991, followed by Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012.

The SEC was established December 8th-9th, 1932, in downtown Knoxville, and Tennessee is a charter member.

Oklahoma has been to five Final Fours in men’s basketball, most recently in 2016. Texas has made three Final Four trips, most recently in 2003 when Rick Barnes was the Longhorns’ head coach.

CvC Suits & Sneakers Week

Tennessee is 20-6 all-time in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers games dating to 2004, including a 6-4 record on the road.

Setbacks All Quality Losses

Four of the five teams that have beaten Tennessee this season are ranked in this week’s AP Top 25. The fifth, Alabama, is among the top unranked vote-getters.

Those five teams’ average NET rating = 10.0

Among the teams that have beaten UT, the worst current NET rating is No. 24 (Alabama).
All five of Tennessee’s setbacks are Quad 1 losses.


Next Up For UT Vols Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team is back home to take on another team from the Lone Star State, hosting Texas A&M on Tuesday at 6:00pm CT. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

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