June 4, 2021
UConn and Tennessee extend Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Revival Series
Renewed rivalry between the Lady Vols and the Huskies allow new stories to be added to illustrious history
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Basketball fans rejoice: two of the most iconic college basketball programs will continue their long-standing rivalry for at least the next two seasons. UConn and Tennessee have scheduled future match-ups for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. The Huskies will host the Lady Vols next season and UT will host UConn in 2022-23.
The two teams, who have won 19 of the last 26 national championships, used to schedule games each season through the late 90s and early 2000s until 2007. After 13 long years, the rivalry resumed in 2020 and will continue through the foreseeable future as part of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Revival Series.
The Lady Vols, led by Kellie Harper, have eight national titles and 22 Final Four appearances to their name. Tennessee finished the 2020-21 season with a 17-8 overall record and ranked No. 13 in the nation. UT’s season was ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by No. 16 Michigan.
Last season’s Lady Vol star Rennia Davis was drafted No. 9 overall in the WNBA Draft to the Minnesota Lynx. UT will now turn to All-SEC Second Team Rae Burrell to lead Tennessee. Burrell averaged 16.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest in 2020-21 and was recently ranked No. 24 on ESPN’s Top 25 players for the 2021-2022 season.
The Huskies, led by Geno Auriemma, have won 11 national championships and reached their 13th straight Final Four last season. The team ended the year ranked No. 1 with a 28-2 record. UConn fell in the Final Four to No. 3 Arizona.
UConn welcomes back nearly every player from last year’s roster in addition to the No. 2 ranked incoming freshmen class. The national spotlight will be on Paige Bueckers once again, as the basketball world looks to see how she will follow up her breakout freshmen year. Bueckers racked up multiple accolades last season, including the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, AP Player of the Year, USBWA Player and Freshman of the Year, and First Team All-American to name a few. She is ranked No. 3 on ESPN’s Top 25 players for 2021-22.
Connecticut holds a 15-9 all-time record versus Tennessee, winning the last match-up by a narrow 67-61 margin back in January. The history of UConn/UT usually tells the story of the team’s Hall of Fame coaches: Auriemma and the late Pat Summitt, who passed in 2016. This renewed rivalry allows those stories to continue to be shared while opening the door for new triumphs and accomplishments to be added to this fairytale book.