#3 Tennessee Vols at Memphis Tigers
Tennessee Vols (7-1) at Memphis Tigers (5-4)
Saturday, December 15th, 2018 | 1:01pm CT
Memphis, TN | FedEx Forum | TV: ESPN2
Memphis, TN – For the first time since 2013, Tennessee Vols Basketball and the Memphis Tigers will face off on the hardwood Saturday, December 15th as part of a three-game series between the in-state foes.
The game will tip at 1:00pm CT at the FedExForum in Memphis. ESPN2 will carry the broadcast, which can also be streamed online through WatchESPN. Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp describing the action.
No. 3 Tennessee (7-1) enters the game on the heels of a 76-73 victory over then-top-ranked Gonzaga. Admiral Schofield was named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for his career-high 30 points in the performance. The senior wing knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during the final 1:20 of play, including the game-winner with 24 seconds left, to seal the win.
The last time the Tigers (5-4) played a top-3 team at home was in the memorable No. 1 vs. No. 2 game between Memphis and the Vols in 2008, when UT reigned victorious and ended the Tigers’ hopes for a perfect season. The Big Orange leads the all-time series, 44-39, but has dropped the last three meetings.
The matchup is Tennessee’s first true road game of the season, and it’s one that has been highly anticipated by fans from West Tennessee. The game is sold out and will prove to be a great test for the squad before entering conference play in a couple of weeks. However, since the start of last season, the Vols boast 15 wins away from home.
- Tennessee leads its all-time series with Memphis 14-11, dating to 1969.
- The teams have met 12 times in Memphis, with each team winning six games.
- The Vols are 44-39 all-time against current members of the American Athletic Conference.
A Win Would
Extend Tennessee’s win streak to four games. Give Tennessee four straight wins over in-state opponents, dating to last season.
Snap UT’s current three-game losing streak to Memphis. Give the Vols eight wins in their last 11 games away from home, dating to last season.
This is Tennessee’s highest AP ranking since it earned the nation’s No. 1 spot on February 25th, 2008. That ranking came after the Vols beat Memphis, 66-62, in the FedEx Forum two days earlier.
This is the first meeting since 2013, as Memphis chose to discontinue the series under former coach Josh Pastner. Rick Barnes and his longtime friend Tubby Smith (now at High Point) agreed to renew the rivalry with a three-game contract that includes a game next year in Knoxville and a clash in Nashville in 2020-21.
381 miles of I-40 separate these in-state rivals.
Fall semester exams are taking place this week at Tennessee.
As a team, Tennessee leads the SEC in field-goal percentage defense (.368), 3-point field-goal defense (.296), assists per game (21.1 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8).
According to KenPom, Tennessee ranks in the top 15 in both offensive efficiency (15th) and defensive efficiency (13th).
Tennessee has committed fewer turnovers than its opponent in all eight games this season.
Tennessee’s 21.1 assists per game rank tied for second nationally.
Grant Williams leads the SEC in scoring (19.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg) and ranks second in field-goal percentage (.574) and seventh in assists (4.6 apg). He also owns the team’s best plus-minus per 40 minutes rating at +23.16.
Reigning SEC Co-Player of the Week Admiral Schofield leads the Vols with 19 made 3-pointers this season. He has made at least one 3-pointer in each of UT’s last 14 games, dating to last season.
Guard Lamonté Turner remains sidelined with a left shoulder injury. He has only appeared in three games this season.
UT’s History vs. Penny
During his illustrious two-year collegiate career at Memphis (then Memphis State), Penny Hardaway averaged 20.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.
He starred for the Tigers during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. Memphis State faced Tennessee in each of those years, with the coach Wade Houston’s Volunteers defeating Penny’s Tigers both times.
On December 14th, 1991, Tennessee edged the Tigers, 65-64, at the Great American Pyramid. Allan Houston scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half and sank two free throws with two seconds left to lift UT to victory. Hardaway finished with 21 point and 10 boards.
On December 6th, 1992, Tennessee upset eighth-ranked Memphis State, 70-59, at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. Allan Houston led the Vols with 20 points and became UT’s second all-time leading scorer during the victory (he became No. 1 during the next game, vs. Syracuse). Hardaway led the way for the Tigers with 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Last Meeting vs. Memphis
The Vols made a furious comeback in the second half, but were unable to overcome a 21-point deficit and fell to Memphis 85-80 before 19,535 on January 4th, 2013, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Memphis was on fire from floor most of the night as the Tigers shot 56.4 while the Vols battled to cut the deficit to four with less than a minute left. But the Vols were unable to overcome the steep margin.
Jordan McRae had his best game of the season and tallied a then-career-best 26. He was one of four scorers in double-figures. Josh Richardson also had a then-career-high with 20 points and tied his career high with nine boards.
Kenny Hall had his third-career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jarnell Stokes added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Down by as many as 21 with 14:04 left in regulation, the Vols mounted a comeback. McRae canned back-to-back 3-pointers followed by a Richardson jumper to cut the deficit to 13 at 62-49 with 10:38 left. McRae’s fourth 3-pointer of the half—with 9:20 left—cut the margin to 10, 64-54, at the 9:20 mark.
The loss was Tennessee’s first of the season at home after winning the first six. It was also the Vols’ first regular-season home loss in 13 contests dating to the 2011-12 season.
Tennessee debuted new adidas orange-on-orange uniforms for its “Orange-Out.” It was just the fifth time the Vols wore orange at TBA.
Joe Jackson led Memphis with 20 points while Adonis Thomas added 18.
The Tigers’ 11 blocks were an arena record for a UT opponent (has since been broken).
Recent UT Vols – Memphis Tigers Memorable Clashes
Will Barton scored 17 first-half points to propel No. 8 Memphis to a 10-point halftime lead at the 2011 Maui Invitational, but Tennessee rode forward Jeronne Maymon in the second half to force overtime, and the Vols eventually fell in double overtime by a score 99-97 on November 22nd, 2011. Maymon drew national attention with his gutsy 32-point, 20-rebound performance. He grabbed nine offensive rebounds, shot 8-of-15 from the floor and went 16-for-17 at the free-throw line.
On January 5th, 2011, the Volunteers had their highest point total ever in the Memphis series when they defeated the 21st-ranked Tigers 104-84 (first time in the series either team exceeded 100 points). It was also the most points allowed by the Tigers in a regulation game since the 1987-88 season (112-104 loss to Virginia Tech on March 5th, 1988).
Tennessee’s win over Memphis at the FedEx Forum in 2010 snapped a 23-game home win streak for the Tigers.
When the Tigers and Vols met in Memphis on February 1st, 2008, they were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the national polls. In what was the most-watched college basketball game in ESPN history (5.28 million viewers), Tennessee toppled Memphis 66-62 to earn the program’s first-ever No. 1 ranking.
UT Vols Successful On The In-State Circuit
Tennessee has won its last three games against in-state opponents and is 9-4 vs. in-state foes under coach Rick Barnes.
Those nine wins include triumphs over ETSU (twice), Tennessee State, Vanderbilt (three times), Tennessee Tech and Lipscomb (twice).
UT Vols Logged Signature Win Over Top-Ranked Gonzaga
Admiral Schofield exploded for a career-high 30 points—with 25 coming in the second half—to lift Tennessee past No. 1-ranked Gonzaga in Phoenix on December 9th. Schofield also drained a career-high six 3-pointers.
Tennessee held the high-powered Bulldogs to 73 points. On the season, Gonzaga ranks third in the country with a scoring offense of 94.1 points per game.
Schofield became just the second Vol ever to score 30 or more points against the nation’s top-ranked team.
Grant Williams flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out with 2:30 left to play.
The win was Rick Barnes‘ first head coaching victory over the nation’s top-ranked team, and it marked Tennessee’s fifth all-time win over the nation’s No. 1 team. All-American Carl Widseth scored 32 in a triumph over No. 1 Kentucky on January 23rd, 1954).
Jordan Bone dished out nine assists (that led directly to 25 points) and also scored five points on his own.
The Bulldogs were led by Rui Hachimura (21 points, eight rebounds) and Brandon Clarke (21 points, nine rebounds).
This season marked the first time in program history that Tennessee played multiple opponents ranked in the top five of the Associate Press poll before the start of conference play. Tennessee fell in overtime to No. 2 Kansas in New York City on November 23rd before upsetting top-ranked and previously unbeaten Gonzaga.
Following the win, Tennessee was named the NABC Division I National Team of the Week, and Schofield was named the Oscar Robertson National POW.
Dating to the start of last season, Tennessee has won 15 games away from home.
That includes victories this year over Louisville and Gonzaga (both at neutral sites).