Vols Basketball Will Face Rick Barnes Old Team in Texas For SEC/Big 12 Challenge

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(utsports.com) The 10 matchups for the 2022 Big 12/SEC Challenge were announced Wednesday, and Tennessee will be traveling southwest to face the Texas Longhorns on Jan. 29.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes—who is entering his seventh season at the original UT—spent 17 seasons leading the Longhorns program before transitioning to Rocky Top. A member of the Longhorn Hall of Honor, Barnes guided Texas to more than 400 wins, four Big 12 Championships, 16 NCAA Tournament berths and the program’s lone Final Four appearance in the modern era in 2003.

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In addition to the Barnes connection, the game also has significance for rising senior Vols guard Victor Bailey Jr. and associate head coach Michael Schwartz. Bailey Jr. grew up in Austin and graduated from McNeil High School, while Schwartz played for Barnes at Texas and later spent four years on Barnes’ staff there.

The Vols and Longhorns have met six times previously on the hardwood, with the series deadlocked at 3-3. The programs collided for four consecutive seasons from 2004-05 to 2007-08, with each team winning twice. Tennessee won the lone meeting in Austin, posting a 95-78 victory in December of 2005.

Tennessee’s all-time record against current members of the Big 12 stands at 15-18. Barnes owns a 161-95 record against current Big 12 teams but has never faced the Longhorns as a head coach.

The SEC won last year’s challenge, 5-4, as one game was canceled due to COVID protocols. Tennessee’s home win over Kansas was the SEC’s clinching triumph. The Big 12 leads the all-time challenge, 4-2-2.

The Vols are 5-2 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, as UT did not take part in the inaugural event.

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

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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.