Vols basketball notebook: Wisconsin series set; Schofield, Williams candidates for Wooden Award

Vols basketball notebook: Wisconsin series set; Schofield, Williams candidates for Wooden Award

January 10th, 2019 by Gene Henley in Breaking News

Tennessee's Grant Williams had 22 points and another double double against the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest at Thompson-Boxing Arena Saturday afternoon. / Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey

Updated at 6:49 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, with more information.

Tennessee's Admiral Scholfield, shown during a game against Eastern Kentucky in November at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, has struggled on offense in the Vols' past two contests, hard-fought wins against Alabama and Vanderbilt.

Tennessee's Admiral Scholfield, shown during a game against...

Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey

KNOXVILLE — Since arriving in Knoxville four years ago, Tennessee men's basketball coach Rick Barnes and his staff have worked hard to find quality nonconference games.

Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Wake Forest have littered the Volunteers' schedule outside of Southeastern Conference competition in recent seasons. Tennessee will host Memphis and travel to Cincinnati in nonconference games next season, and on Wednesday afternoon the program confirmed it will play in the Emerald Coast Classic in November in Niceville, Florida, along with Florida State, Purdue and Virginia Commonwealth University.

On Thursday, the Vols announced a two-game, home-and-home series with Wisconsin, a program Barnes is familiar with from his 17 seasons as the head coach at Texas. The Vols will host the Badgers on Dec. 28, then play in Madison on Nov. 11, 2020.

"I've always had a lot of respect for Wisconsin," Barnes said Thursday afternoon at Pratt Pavilion. "We had that series while we were at Texas. They have a great basketball following. You look, they're always one of the top teams in the country with attendance. It's a great atmosphere to go into."

Barnes went 1-3 against the Badgers while leading the Longhorns, winning in 2009 after losses in 1999, 2000 and 2008. The Vols lost 74-62 to Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 21, 2016.

Wooden Award candidates

Tennessee senior guard Admiral Schofield and junior forward Grant Williams were two of the 25 players named to the watch list for this season's John R. Wooden Award for the national men's college basketball player of the year.

The two rank first and second in the SEC in scoring, Williams with an average of 18.8 points per game and Schofield with 18.0. Williams ranks eighth in the league in rebounding at 7.8 per game and is seventh in assists at 3.9. Schofield averages 6.2 rebounds — 13th in the league — and is third in 3-point shooting at 44.9 percent.

Tennessee was one of three schools to have multiple players on the list, joining Duke (R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson) and Nevada (Jordan Carolina and Caleb Martin).

The Wooden Award All-American team will be announced in conjunction with the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight round on March 30-31, with the winner announced during the ESPN College Basketball Awards show on April 12.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.