The NCAA this week approved a waiver enabling Clemson to host a men’s basketball charity exhibition game against Tennessee on Sunday, Nov. 5, at Littlejohn Coliseum, with net proceeds going toward hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Florida.
Tipoff for the exhibition is set for 12:30 p.m. ET. Admission is free, although donations to the Salvation Army’s continued hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Florida are encouraged. The game will not be televised, and there will be no video stream available.
Third-year Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes is preparing to enter his 31st season as a collegiate head coach. He spent four of those years as Clemson’s coach, guiding the Tigers to a 74-48 (.607) record from 1994-98 before being hired at Texas. Barnes led the Tigers to a school-record three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (1996, 1997 and 1998) and 13 wins over ranked opponents. Clemson climbed as high as No. 2 in the national rankings during the 1996-97 season, and Barnes’ Tigers advanced to the Sweet Sixteen that year.
While Barnes was the head coach at Providence in the early 90s, he suffered one loss to Clemson. And since leaving Clemson to take the head coaching job at Texas in 1998, he has never faced the Tigers.
Brad Brownell is entering his seventh year as Clemson’s head coach. The Tigers went 17-16 (6-12 ACC) last season and lost in the first round of the NIT. Clemson boasts an athletic roster highlighted by senior forward Donte Grantham (7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and senior guards Marcquise Reed (10.0 ppg, .400 3FG%) and Gabe DeVoe (7.1 ppg). Significant contributions also are expected from point guard Shelton Mitchell (10.8 ppg, .453 3FG%), a Vanderbilt transfer who had offseason knee surgery, and forward Mark Donnal, a graduate transfer from Michigan.
Though this exhibition result will not count toward the all-time series record, the Volunteers lead their all-time series with Clemson, 15-4, dating to 1924. However, the teams haven’t met on the hardwood since Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King led Tennessee to a 77-66 home victory—it’s third straight win in the series—in December of 1975. The Vols have only visited Clemson three times (1927, 1931 and 1937), going 1-2.
The Nov. 5 exhibition between the Vols and Tigers is the first game of a doubleheader at Littlejohn Coliseum; Clemson’s women’s basketball team hosts Belmont Abbey College for an exhibition at 5 p.m. ET.
Prior to its trip to Clemson, Tennessee hosts a home exhibition against Carson-Newman on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tipoff for that game is set for 7 p.m. ET, and it can be viewed on SEC Network+ (WatchESPN). Tickets to that, as well as all other UT home games can be purchased at AllVols.com or by calling 1-800-332-8657.
THE STORY BEHIND THE GAME
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors during an August meeting, discussed ways NABC coaches could support relief efforts in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. Within 10 days of that meeting, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. The board proposed to the NCAA that institutions be permitted to play an additional exhibition game to raise money for hurricane relief.
Based on the limited time to organize the extra exhibition game prior to the start of the regular season, the NCAA did not approve the blanket waiver the NABC requested. However, the door was left open for schools to apply for a waiver to raise money for hurricane relief through a charity exhibition game. It is suggested that the net revenue from all such games be paid to hurricane relief efforts through a bonafide agency. Proceeds from the Nov. 5 Tennessee-Clemson game will be donated to the Salvation Army’s hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Florida