The Cats and the Volunteers are tied this season, with each team bringing home a decisive victory on their home court in front of an arena packed full of fans. But the season is far from over, and it’s easy to assume Saturday’s matchup won’t be the last one for these two teams. Assuming the SEC Tournament goes according to plan (i.e. pending any massive upsets), we’ll probably get a Kentucky vs. Tennessee Round Three in Nashville. Nick Richards is even more confident.
“We will definitely see them again,” Richards said after the game. “Obviously, we will end up seeing each other in the SEC tournament. It will be a good battle and the rivalry is great. We’re going to see them again soon.”
Rocky Top was at its peak Saturday afternoon, with scarce amounts of blue peaking through rows and rows of that horrible orange. That atmosphere combined with Reid Travis’ absence and a meltdown of Kentucky’s offense led to a lopsided loss for the Cats.
“I thought both atmospheres were just electric. You look at it, again, from our standpoint. We played better here, and I’m sure John Calipari would say the same thing, they played better there,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “They will go back and it will make them better. They will get better, because we have gotten better defensively since the Kentucky game in Rupp Arena.”
Tennessee’s Grant Williams also weighed in on the possibility of a rematch.
“It would be fun if there was a rematch. You expect to play guys like that in Nashville and the [NCAA] tournament. You never know when we’ll see them again, but I feel like we will and again, it’ll be another crazy environment,” Williams said. “If you’re a competitor, you love to play in it. You’re going to be excited, you’re going to be ready to go. Last year, we played them three times. Hopefully, it’s the same this year.”
Remember, the Cats didn’t get a win over the Volunteers until their trip to the conference tournament last season. So yes, hopefully it is the same this year.