Tennessee Vols morning report: Rick Barnes, Josiah-Jordan James talk Kentucky

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Now we’re in the heart of college basketball season, and with the way the Tennessee Vols have been playing on the men’s side, every game is about to get more crucial. It obviously starts today in what will likely be their biggest regular season matchup remaining.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with coverage of the UT men’s basketball program getting set for tonight’s matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats. We’ll have a separate preview of the event itself, but a press conference leading up to it makes it in this post.

Beyond that preview, a softball award based on this past weekend’s games to open the season earned coverage. We also have a preview of a huge SEC event in another sport, an update on the women’s soccer schedule and continuing coverage of a men’s golf event. Let’s start with the men’s basketball news, though.

Rick Barnes, Josiah-Jordan James preview KentuckyBen McKee, VolQuest

In the midst of a seven-game SEC winning streak, the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team moved up to the top 16 in both polls. They will host the Kentucky Wildcats, top five in both polls, Tuesday night. Rick Barnes and Josiah-Jordan James previewed the matchup Monday. Barnes discussed what UT learned from its 107-79 loss at UK back in January. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“The way we turned the ball over and allowed them to score a lot off turnovers, you’re not going to win basketball games anywhere doing that. Transition defense is also important because they play as fast as any team does in the country.”"

James, meanwhile, talked about the way this week in general will test Rocky Top, as after Kentucky, they visit the Arkansas Razorbacks, another top 25 team, on Saturday. This is how he described the situation.

"“Every next game is our biggest game of our season. I would have said that about Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, or any other game that we have had this year. The next game against Kentucky is the biggest game of our season and then looking forward against Arkansas this weekend, it will be another really big test.”"

Ashley Rogers recognized by SEC – SECSports

With 0 runs allowed and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched over three games as the Tennessee Lady Vols won all four games they played to open the season this past weekend, Ashley Rogers was recognized by the Southeastern Conference. She earned SEC co-Pitcher of the Week honors with Shelby Lowe of the Auburn Tigers.

"Tennessee’s Ashley Rogers, a senior right-hander from Athens, Tenn., recorded two wins and a save for the Lady Vols at the Felsberg Invitational. Rogers started the 2022 season with a complete-game, one-hit shutout over UNC Greensboro."

Golf moves up to third in Puerto Rico Classic – Dan Harralson, VolsWire

On the second day of the Puerto Rico Classic, the Tennessee Vols men’s golf team moved up one spot. They enter the final day behind only the Oklahoma Sooners and Georgia Bulldogs. You can see the full leaderboard here.

"No. 8 Tennessee shot 20-under as a team during second round play Monday at the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.Tennessee’s 20-under score in the second round is tied for the second-best round in the 29-year history of the Puerto Rico Classic."

Swimming and diving set for SEC Championships – Katie Yatooma, UT Daily Beacon

Tuesday marks the start of the 2022 SEC Championships for Swimming and Diving. The Tennessee Vols will host the event, which is set to last through Saturday.

"The College Swimming Coaches Association of America released its updated rankings prior to the meet, and the Vols are ranked No. 17 in the nation behind fellow SEC schools Florida, Georgia and Missouri. The Lady Vols are ranked No. 3 in the country and are at the top of the SEC."

Soccer spring schedule announced – UTSports

The Tennessee Lady Vols soccer program’s 2022 spring exhibition schedule was announced by head coach Brian Pensky Monday. UT’s slate will last from March 5 to April 23.

"The slate features five matches, including two at Regal Soccer Stadium, road trips to Racing Louisville (NWSL) and Indiana, and a neutral site matchup against Virginia Tech at ETSU.Tennessee looks build off of a historic 2021 campaign in which the team captured an SEC East Divisional Championship, an SEC Tournament Championship, and advanced to the NCAA Round of 16."