On Saturday morning, Vol fans and various media members were already filing into Bridgestone Arena when the announcement came that the Tennessee-Memphis basketball game that was scheduled for 11 a.m. local time had been canceled due to “COVID-19 protocols within the Memphis program.”

As of publishing, there have still been no further details given for the shocking cancellation and I don’t expect that there ever will be. We don’t know what exactly happened with Memphis and COVID but for starters, it’s pretty suspicious that they knew nothing of these issues until one hour before tipoff.

I don’t know about every sporting event that has been canceled due to COVID but I’m not sure I remember a single one since probably March 2020 that was canceled within an hour prior to when the game was set to begin. Why did this discovery from Memphis come so close to game time?

Also, there’s this fun little factoid that adds to the mystery…

So, Memphis’ players went to an alumni party the night before the game, something concerning COVID came of that and now the game is conveniently canceled. It’s a pretty extreme move so I have to assume that the Memphis COVID protocols are fairly stringent.

Except, there’s this tweet from Tennessee congressman Steve Cohen from after the game’s cancellation…

Aw yes, the Tigers have COVID protocols so serious that their star freshman forward is out and about taking pictures with extremely short politicians.

This is obviously absurd. At a minimum, Memphis owes Tennessee a full explanation of the situation. Did Emoni Bates not attend the aforementioned party and has he somehow escaped protocols? Were some of Memphis’ best players going to have to sit out so Tigers coach Penny Hardaway got scared and canceled at the literal last minute?

Something is truly fishy here. And with that in mind, until Memphis is transparent and provides an adequate explanation for why they had to cancel and yet have players out taking pictures with fans, this should be a forfeit for the Tigers and count as a win for Tennessee.

This three-game series with Memphis has been filled with shenanigans from Penny and his program, so, I guess we shouldn’t be that surprised. In a way, this is really the perfect cherry on top of the whole thing.

Featured image via Calvin Mattheis and Justin Ford/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK and Steve Cohen on Twitter