No. 18 Tennessee vs. Memphis Canceled Due to Tigers' COVID-19 Issues

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2021

MEMPHIS, TN - FEBRUARY 6: Penny Hardaway, head coach of the Memphis Tigers looks on from the sideline against the East Carolina Pirates during a game on February 6, 2021 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated East Carolina 66-59.  (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

The University of Memphis announced Saturday's men's basketball game against the University of Tennessee has been canceled because of COVID-19 issues within its program.

The matchup between the Tigers and the 18th-ranked Volunteers, dubbed the Nashville Showcase, was scheduled to take place at Bridgestone Arena.

Memphis snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday with an impressive 92-78 upset over No. 6 Alabama. It was an important resume-building win for head coach Penny Hardaway's group.

The Tigers' matchup with the Vols was one of just three games against ranked opponents left on their schedule. Without it, they only have their two conference matchups with No. 14 Houston remaining, unless another team makes a surge from The American.

Depending how the rest of their season plays out following a 6-4 start, not getting an opportunity to take down the Volunteers could prove costly in their efforts to earn an NCAA tournament bid.

Meanwhile, UT was already on the court warming up for Saturday's game when word came down of the cancellation:

wvlt @wvlt

Vols walk off in disbelief after learning of the postponement of their showdown with Memphis. Team will scrimmage for the fans that are here at Bridgestone Arena <a href="https://twitter.com/wvltrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@wvltrick</a> <a href="https://t.co/nJUAPSXjVA">pic.twitter.com/nJUAPSXjVA</a>

The Vols are off to a promising 8-2 start highlighted by a win over then-No. 18 North Carolina in late November.

Tennessee's schedule gets tougher over the next few weeks as it prepares to host No. 8 Arizona on Wednesday before traveling to face the aforementioned Crimson Tide on Dec. 29.

With Saturday's cancellation, the Volunteers will continue to hold a 15-12 advantage in the all-time series between the in-state rivals.