Knoxville,Tenn. (WVLT)-- Rick Barnes and company are rockin' their way through
this season's schedule, but earlier today the team announced
an interesting update to the next two years worth of action.
Tennessee has signed a two-year, home-and-home contract with Cincinnati. The Vols and Bearcats are set to meet each of the next two seasons. UT will play at Cincy next December with the
Cats returning the favor the following year.
The Vols will play at Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena on Dec. 18 next season, and the Bearcats are set to visit Thompson-Boling Arena on Dec. 12, 2020. Fifth Third Arena underwent an $87 million facelift prior to this season. From Knoxville, Cincinnati is a four-hour drive north on I-75.
Tennessee trails its all-time series with Cincinnati 1-5, dating to 1952. The teams met in consecutive seasons in the early 1990s, with the Bearcats sweeping both games. The Vols' lone win in the series came at home on Dec. 10, 1956.
Mick Cronin is in his 13th season as head coach at Cincinnati, and he has led his alma mater to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last eight seasons—one of only six coaches in the nation to have done so. He was named the 2018 Sporting News Coach of the Year and also was a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy National Coach of the Year Award after guiding the Bearcats to a 31-5 (16-2 AAC) record last season.
This year, Cincinnati is off to a 9-1 start with non-conference wins over Ole Miss, UNLV and Xavier. The Bearcats are receiving votes in both major top-25 polls.
Tennessee owns a 44-39 all-time record against current members of the American Athletic Conference. Vols head coach Rick Barnes is 20-18 against AAC opposition. His Texas Longhorns fell in his only previous meeting with Cincy (2012 NCAA Tournament).