A poor shooting afternoon led to Tennessee basketball losing its first game in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Connecticut Saturday 71-53 to the No. 5 ranked Villanova Wildcats. Now, the No. 17 ranked Vols have to face another ranked foe in the consolation game.
Rick Barnes will lead UT against the No. 18 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, who are under first-year head coach Hubert Davis, Sunday afternoon. UNC comes into this game on the heels of a 93-84 loss to the No. 6 ranked Purdue Boilermakers.
This game is an early test for both teams who couldn’t pull off a victory in their first game against a ranked foe Saturday. Whichever team loses this one will walk away with lots of concerns. Here is all the information you need for Tennessee basketball’s matchup.
- TV: ESPN
- Live stream: WatchESPN
- Radio: Vol Network; Tar Heel Sports Network
- Listen online: UTSports; GoHeels.com
Just like Villanova on Saturday, this is the Vols’ first meeting with UNC since 2017, a game they lost by five at home. It’s their first meeting with UNC in an early-season tournament matchup since 200. The Vols lost that one as well, 101-87.
In fact, Rocky Top is 1-10 all time against UNC and has lost all five meetings this century. That includes two early-season tournament losses in 2004 and 2006, two regular season losses in a home and home in 2016 and 2017, and then an NCAA Tournament loss in 2000.
That NCAA Tournament loss is one of the most heartbreaking losses in UT history. It was a Sweet 16 matchup where the Vols were the No. 4 seed, and UNC, which was down as a program, was the No. 8 seed. Jerry Green and Rocky Top blew a nine-point second-half lead, costing them what would have been their first Elite Eight trip in school history at the time.
When these two tipoff, it’ll be the second straight game involving a University of Tennessee athletics program being broadcast on ESPN. Just before this one, the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball program will host the Texas Longhorns on the same channel.
After this matchup, Tennessee basketball will host the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles next Friday. UNC, meanwhile, will host the UNC Asheville Bulldogs on Tuesday. The team that loses this game will likely fall out of the top 25, though, so it’s a crucial battle for both.