Knocking off No. 1

With No. 1 ranked Kentucky coming to Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday night, how about a history lesson.

Tennessee has had 16 encounters with No.l ranked teams. Ten were against Kentucky, including the first nine, between 1949 and 1966. The others: South Carolina (1969), Florida (2007, 2014), Ohio State (2007), Memphis (2008) and Kansas (2010).

Kentucky, on Tuesday, will be only the second No. 1 to play Tennessee in Thompson-Boling Arena. The other was Kansas.

Here’s a look at Tennessee’s four wins over No.1 teams:

1966: On the final day of the regular season, the Vols upset Kentucky 69-62 in Armory-Fieldhouse. “Rupps Runts” would finish 27-2, their only other loss to Texas Western in the NCAA championship game. The Vols finished 19-8.

1969: On the opening day of the 1969-70 season, Ray Mears went to South Carolina and knocked off Frank McGuire’s top-ranked Gamecocks, 55-54. UT finished 16-9. South Carolina went 25-3 and won the ACC title at 14-0. The Gamecocks finished No. 6.

2008: The 2nd-ranked Vols beat No. 1 Memphis 66-62 in FedExForum in what was ESPN’s most-watched college basketball game ever. Tennessee became the new No. 1 but lost at Vanderbilt in its next game. The Vols finished 31-5, won the SEC title and lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16. Memphis went 38-2, its only other loss to Kansas in the NCAA title game.

2010: UT stunned Kansas 76-68 in early January, a week after suspending four players, including starter Tyler Smith. Tennessee went on to a 28-9 record (with all the suspendees except Smith returning) and lost to Michigan State in the Elite 8. Kansas finished 33-3, was the NCAA tournament’s No. 1 overall seed but was upset by Northern Iowa in the second round.

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