Tennessee Vols basketball coach Rick Barnes had plenty to say on Monday while discussing UT’s game against Memphis on Saturday that was canceled due to the Tigers’ COVID-19 issues.

Barnes, like most Tennessee fans, wasn’t thrilled with how the cancellation went down on Saturday. Fans were already in the arena when Memphis decided they didn’t have enough players to play the game.

On Monday, while discussing the events of Saturday, Barnes threw some subtle shade at Memphis on three different occasions.

  1. Rick Barnes points out Tennessee’s vaccination rate

Barnes noted early in his press conference on Monday that 15 of the Vols’ 17 players are vaccinated.

“Fifteen of our 17 players are vaccinated, 88 percent,” said Barnes. “That includes every single one of our rotational players. Our guys want to play.”

The “88 percent” is an obvious shot at Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway, who earlier this season said that around 90 percent of his players were vaccinated. That clearly wasn’t the case. On Sunday, Hardaway said he may have “misspoke” while discussing the Tigers’ vaccine situation.

2. Rick Barnes plays the SEC card

There are plenty of folks — myself included — who feel like Memphis should’ve got an L in the win/loss column on Saturday for the way the events unfolded. Barnes seemingly agrees.

“We know in the SEC, you either play or you forfeit,” said Barnes.

3. Tennessee is willing to play with a limited roster

Memphis said they canceled the game on Saturday because they didn’t have enough players to play.

Maybe that’s true. But Tennessee wouldn’t have made the same decision. According to Barnes, they would’ve found someone in the student body to play if necessary.

“If we only would’ve had four guys that were not able to play in that situation, if we’ve got seven guys, we would get somebody out of the student body if we had to,” said Barnes. “I think it’s the right thing to do for fans. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

You can always count on Barnes to tell it like it is.

And It’s obvious from his comments that there’s no love lost between Tennessee and Memphis.

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