Vols Hosting Kansas State in SEC/Big 12 Hoops Challenge
(utsports.com) The Southeastern Conference and ESPN announced the date and matchups for the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge, presented by Sonic, Tuesday. Tennessee hosts Kansas State at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
Tip times and specific TV network designations for all SEC/Big 12 Challenge games will be announced at a later date. However, all games will be televised on an ESPN platform.
Jan. 28 is a common bye date in conference play for both leagues. Teams from each conference will host five Challenge games.
This will mark the second time in the past three seasons that the Volunteers have hosted Kansas State as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Wildcats visited Rocky Top for the 2014 Challenge, and Tennessee posted a 65-64 win on Dec. 6, 2014. That was the first time the programs ever met on the hardwood.
Tennessee’s all-time record against current members of the Big 12 stands at 11-17. Second-year UT head coach Rick Barnes—who spent 17 seasons coaching in the Big 12 before transitioning to Knoxville prior to last season—owns a 157-94 record against current Big 12 teams and is 12-11 in his career against K-State.
K-State posted a 17-16 (5-13 Big 12) record last year as veteran head coach Bruce Weber completed his fourth season leading the Wildcats.
The Wildcats were 3-1 vs. SEC opponents last season, defeating Missouri, Georgia and Ole Miss and falling at Texas A&M. Their league schedule was highlighted by a Feb. 6 home win over eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma.
Among the returners expected to play key roles for Kansas State next season are senior wing Wesley Iwundu (11.9 ppg, 3.7 apg), sophomore forward Dean Wade (9.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and sophomore guard Barry Brown (8.6 ppg, .336 3FG).
The Wildcats also will benefit from the return of point guard Kamau Stokes (9.4 ppg, .340 3FG), who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Ole Miss in last year’s Challenge game. K-State was 13-8 with Stokes in the lineup last season and 4-8 without him.
Kansas State director of athletics John Currie has occupied that position since May 2009. Prior to that, he worked more than 10 years in the Tennessee athletic department, rising to the title of executive associate AD (overseeing external operations, as well as the men’s basketball program). Currie received his master’s degree in Sports Management from UT in 2003.
Other matchups for next season’s challenge are: Texas at Georgia, Baylor at Ole Miss, Kansas at Kentucky, Texas A&M at West Virginia, Florida at Oklahoma, Iowa State at Vanderbilt, Arkansas at Oklahoma State, Auburn at TCU and LSU at Texas Tech.
Since the Big 12 has only 10 teams, the four SEC teams not participating in next season’s challenge are Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina.
TENNESSEE’S SEC/BIG 12 CHALLENGE HISTORY
2013 – Tennessee was one of four inactive SEC teams in the 2013 Challenge
Dec. 6, 2014 – Tennessee defeated Kansas State, 65-64
Jan. 30, 2016 – Tennessee lost at TCU, 75-63
Jan. 28, 2017 – Tennessee hosts Kansas State