AUSTIN (KXAN) — The matchup has been possible for the seven years that Rick Barnes was coaching Tennessee, but Saturday the Volunteers will meet Texas for the first time ever in the annual Big 12-SEC Challenge.
That means Barnes will coach against his former school where he led Texas to 402 wins in 17 seasons before being fired following the 2014-2015 season.
The Longhorns will host No. 18 Tennessee Saturday at 7 p.m. You can watch the game live on ESPN.
Texas head coach Chris Beard plans to honor Barnes at the Erwin Center and then go out and try to pick up a key non-conference win over the 18th-ranked Vols.
“In my personal opinion, he didn’t get the exit that he deserved,” Beard said on Thursday. “We welcome this game, and can’t wait to see coach and thank him for everything he did for Texas basketball. I know I don’t need to say this but I take pride in being one of those people in the Erwin Center that will show great appreciation to make sure that we show the class that our program is all about at Texas, and our fan base, our university, our city but I know when they introduce this really good Tennessee team, I know I’ll be right there with everybody else thanking coach Barnes in the appropriate way.”
Barnes coached at Texas from 1998 to 2015, leading the Longhorns to at least a share of three Big 12 regular season titles, 15 NCAA tournament appearances and a run to the Final Four in 2002-2003.
Texas (15-5, 5-3) is looking for its third straight win after a convincing 73-50 win at TCU Tuesday. While Barnes is expected to receive a warm welcome in Austin, that will not be the case for Beard on Tuesday when he takes the Longhorns to Lubbock. Fans have been anticipating this game since he left Texas Tech for Texas on April 1.
How to watch Tennessee vs. Texas
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Where: Frank Erwin Center (Austin)
Radio: Longhorn Radio Network