UT Vols get Kansas State rematch in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

UT Vols get Kansas State rematch in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

May 25th, 2016 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes argues a call with an official during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, March 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Photo by Mark Humphrey

Gallery: Vols get Kansas State rematch in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

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KNOXVILLE — Tennessee's basketball program isn't getting much variety from the annual SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

The Volunteers will play Kansas State at home for the second time in three seasons as part of the event, the Southeastern Conference announced Tuesday.

Tip times and television designations for the 10 matchups scheduled for Jan. 28 will be announced later.

Tennessee edged Kansas State 65-64 on Dec. 6, 2014. The Vols led by double digits until KSU's barrage of 3-pointers in the final minute narrowed the final margin. Josh Richardson led the Vols with 17 points, and Tennessee forced 22 steals in the win.

Kansas State went 17-16 overall and finished eighth in the 10-team Big 12 last season, its fourth under coach Bruce Weber. The Wildcats were 3-1 against SEC opponents with victories against Georgia, Ole Miss and Missouri and a loss at Texas A&M. They also beat eventual Final Four team Oklahoma at home.

Kansas State returns four of its top six scorers from last season, and point guard Kamau Stokes will be back after missing the final 12 games with a knee injury. The Wildcats were 13-8 with him and 4-8 without him.

Tennessee is 11-17 against current members of the Big 12 and lost at TCU last year.

Second-year coach Rick Barnes, a veteran of the Big 12 from his tenure at Texas, is 12-11 against Kansas State.

SEC teams are 10-20 against the Big 12 in the previous three years of the Challenge.

The Wildcats join Tennessee's strong nonconference schedule. In addition to premier games at North Carolina and against Gonzaga in Nashville, the Vols will play in a loaded Maui Invitational field with the Tar Heels, Oregon, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Georgetown and Oklahoma State. Tennessee also hosts Georgia Tech and opens with UT-Chattanooga.

Tennessee has yet to release its finalized 2016-17 schedule.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.