While the football has been a bit of a disappointment so far, there is some exciting news for Rick Barnes and Tennessee basketball.
Tennessee found out on Wednesday that they will face the Kansas Jayhawks in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 30. This will be the third season in a row where the Vols and the Jayhawks will faceoff. Kansas defended its home court last season where they won 74-68. Kansas also defeated the Vols in the 2018 NIT Preseason Tip-Off Championship 87-81 in OT.
Tennessee owns a 1-4 all-time record against Kansas that dates back to 2009. This will be the first time Kansas has played in Thompson-Boling Arena since 2010, where the Vols defeated then No. 1 Kansas 76-68.
The Vols’ all-time record against Big 12 opponents is 14-18. Barnes has a 160-95 record against Big 12 teams and has seven wins against the Jayhawks. Barnes was asked various questions by the media on Wednesday.
When asked about the Vols hosting Kansas, Barnes went on to say:
“Well, we’re excited about having a chance to play Kansas again. We had a really good game against them a year ago. I guess my disappointment is that they won’t be able to get the full Thompson-Boling experience where it would be sold out as we normally expect it to be. At this point, we haven’t figured out the issues yet and we don’t know at this point what we’re going to be allowed to do with our arena. We obviously don’t feel like it’s going to be anywhere near what we know Thompson-Boling to be like, but as time goes on who knows what will happen.”
Barnes was absolutely right about about Tennessee having a good game against the Jayhawks last season. Yves Pons had a career day where he shot 8-14 for 24 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and three blocks. John Fulkerson had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
With the returns of Pons, Fulkerson, Santiago Vescovi and the additions of Jalen Springer and Keon Johnson, this should be an exciting matchup. Thompson-Boling Arena may likely not be at full capacity, but there is one thing for certain: Tennessee-Kansas will be one of the best college basketball games of the season.
If you want to watch Barnes’ full press conference from Wednesday, click on the link below: