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Vols set for neutral-site showdown vs. Gonzaga

The next chapter in the non-conference rivalry has been set for Dec. 2 in Indianapolis.
Vols and Zags set to meet on Dec. 2nd
Vols and Zags set to meet on Dec. 2nd(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 3:17 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Tennessee-Gonzaga series has provided several classic showdowns since the programs first met in 2007, and the next chapter in the non-conference rivalry has been set for Dec. 2 in Indianapolis.

The early-season slugfest between the preseason No. 1-ranked Zags and the 12th-ranked Volunteers will be played at Indy’s Bankers Life Fieldhouse as part of ESPN’s Jimmy V Classic doubleheader. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The night’s second matchup features No. 2 Baylor against No. 8 Illinois.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Jimmy V Classic will be contested without fans in attendance. Indianapolis also is the site of this season’s Final Four in April. This will be the seventh all-time meeting between Tennessee and Gonzaga, and the sixth at a neutral site. In the most recent meeting, the Volunteers upset the top-ranked and previously unbeaten Zags in Phoenix on Dec. 9, 2018.

The Vols and Bulldogs have previously met in Seattle (2007 and 2015), Orlando (2008), Nashville (2016), Phoenix (2018) and once in Knoxville in 2009.

Gonzaga leads the series, 4-2. At least one of the teams has been ranked in the AP top 25 for five of the previous six matchups. Shortly after coach Rick Barnes was hired at Tennessee in the spring of 2015, he and Zags head coach Mark Few scheduled a two-game, neutral-site series that saw the Vols travel to Seattle (Key Arena) in December of 2015 before the Bulldogs came to Nashville (Bridgestone Arena) in 2016. Gonzaga won both contests.

In addition to its thrilling upset-win in 2018, Tennessee’s other win in the series was an 82-72 victory in Seattle on Dec. 29, 2007. At the conclusion of the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, Gonzaga owned a 31-2 record and the nation’s best percentage (.939).

The Bulldogs also led the country in scoring offense (87.4 ppg) and scoring margin, winning their games by an average of 19.6 points per game.

Gonzaga is the only program in the country to have reached 30 wins in each of the last four seasons. The Zags extended their active, Division I-leading streak of regular-season conference titles to eight in 2019-20.

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