Vols Basketball Hosting Kansas as Part of SEC/Big 12 Challenge

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(utsports.com) Tennessee learned Wednesday that it will host Kansas at Thompson-Boling Arena as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in January.

The eighth annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge features 10 games played on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in a matchup of two premier college basketball conferences.

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This marks the third straight season the Vols and Jayhawks will meet. Kansas successfully defended its home court in last year’s challenge—despite a career-high 24 points from returning senior Yves Pons—and the Jayhawks also defeated UT in overtime at the 2018 NIT Season Tip-Off championship game in New York City.

Tennessee owns a 1-4 all-time record vs. Kansas, dating to 2009. The first-ever meeting took place at Allen Fieldhouse, with KU claiming a 92-85 victory. The Vols avenged that loss the following season by upsetting the top-ranked Jayhawks at Thompson-Boling Arena on Jan. 10, 2010. The five meetings have been decided by an average of 8.4 points.

Tennessee’s all-time record against current members of the Big 12 stands at 14-18. Sixth-year UT head coach Rick Barnes owns a 160-95 record against current Big 12 teams and has led his teams to seven wins over Kansas.

In 2020, the SEC and Big 12 shared the challenge title, with both leagues earning five wins. Over the last four years of the challenge, each conference has won 20 games.

All challenge games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Start times and network designations will be announced at a later date.

An adjusted-seating ticket plan for Thompson-Boling Arena is currently in development, and details will be communicated soon.

TENNESSEE IN THE SEC/BIG 12 CHALLENGE
Dec. 6, 2014 in Knoxville – Tennessee 65, Kansas State 64
Jan. 30, 2016 in Fort Worth – TCU 75, Tennessee 63
Jan. 28, 2017 in Knoxville – Tennessee 70, Kansas State 58
Jan. 27, 2018 in Ames – Tennessee 68, Iowa State 45
Jan. 26, 2019 in Knoxville – Tennessee 83, West Virginia 66
Jan. 25, 2020 in Lawrence – Kansas 74, Tennessee 68

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.