Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe (34) heads to the bench (34) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Tennessee Basketball Set for Rematch Against Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats take the court against the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday night in the sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena. The teams currently rank second and third in the SEC, with the Cats securing one more conference win than the Vols. This will be the second time this season both teams will face each other.

Last Meeting Between Kentucky and Tennessee

On January 15th, Kentucky clinched a 107-79 win over Tennessee on their home court. The Wildcats shot 68% from the field and had 38 field goals. That’s the best shooting performance by a Tennessee opponent under head coach Rick Barnes. The Vols opened the game leading 5-4, but Kentucky followed with 10 straight points and maintained the lead for the remainder of play. In total, the Vols shot 53% from the floor.

Overall, the shooting leader for the Vols was junior Santiago Vescovi. He had 20 points and shot 70% from the field. After him was Kennedy Chandler with 17 points. For Kentucky, TyTy Washington had an impressive 28 points on 10-for-13 shooting. Sahvir Wheeler finished next with 21 points for the Cats.

Tennessee Aims to Shoot Down Kentucky

Currently, Kentucky is ranked fourth in the nation by the Associated Press. They are coming off of a six-game winning streak and are being considered for a top seed in March’s NCAA Tournament. However, the Wildcats are 5-3 in true road games this season and lost six of their last 11 games against Tennessee. On the other hand, Tennessee has won seven straight SEC games and are 13-0 at home this season. They are No. 16 in the nation and hold a four-game winning streak.

With Washington exiting Saturday’s game due to a lower leg injury, Wheeler and Oscar Tshiebwe will have to step up and assist the Wildcats. Tshiebwe is Kentucky’s leading scorer, averaging 16.4 points per game. On Saturday, he dropped 27 points and 19 rebounds for Kentucky in their win over Florida, earning him NCAA Player of the Week. He is also the nation-leader in rebounds with 15.3 boards each game. Additionally, Wheeler leads the Cats with 7.2 assists per game, the best in the SEC and third-best nationally.

On the flip side, Vescovi, Chandler, and Josiah-Jordan James will be Tennessee’s key players for the game. Vescovi is the league’s top 3-point shooter during SEC play this season, making him an All-SEC candidate. Chandler ranks 2nd nationally amongst true freshmen for steals with 2.35 per game. Finally, James reached a career-high by earning 66 points total in Tennessee’s last four games.

Tip Off

Tuesday’s game begins at 9 pm in Knoxville. Fans can catch the action on ESPN and online or on mobile devices via WatchESPN.

About Asia Cymone Smith

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