Rick Barnes will make his return to Hilton Coliseum next January.
The former Texas coach will lead his Tennessee Volunteers squad into Ames on Jan. 27, 2018 for the Big 12/SEC Challenge, the leagues announced on Thursday.
The Volunteers finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 16-16 record in Barnes’ second season at the helm and completely missed the postseason, but will have a roster full of returning players.
Tennessee’s team was composed of 13 freshmen or sophomores and only two seniors, plus they’ll had a handful of new faces, four JUCO or high school recruits and a graduate transfer, to the fold.
Sophomore Grant Williams will be back after a freshman season that saw him finish second on the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game and lead the team in rebounding with 5.9 boards per game. Junior Admiral Schofield is also back after averaging 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season.
The team’s biggest addition will be Howard graduate transfer James Daniel, who led the nation in scoring in 2015-16 with 27.1 points per game. He missed the majority of last season after what was initially thought to be a sprained ankle turned out to be a chipped bone in his left ankle.
Tennessee also adds four-star French forward Yves Pons, who was rated as the No. 128 prospect in the 2017 class. He’s joined by three-star prospects Vincennes C.C. guard Chris Darrington, 6-foot-10 New Jersey center Zach Kent and 6-foot-8 Kansas forward Derrick Walker.
The Volunteers finished the season ranked No. 57 on KenPom.com.
The other matchups of the Big 12/SEC Challenge are Kentucky at West Virginia, Texas A&M at Kansas, Baylor at Florida, Oklahoma at Alabama, Mississippi at Texas, Oklahoma State at Arkansas, Texas Tech at South Carolina, TCU at Vanderbilt and Georgia at Kansas State.
For the third straight year, all games will be played on the same day on the ESPN family of networks.