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Tennessee players talk about rematch with UK, mock idea that they are “scared”

Saturday can’t get here fast enough.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks ago, the Tennessee Volunteers rolled into Lexington as the No. 1 team in the land.

They limped away after a 17 point loss to the Kentucky Wildcats as they saw their NCAA Tournament stock falling and the doubt start creeping in about how good they actually are.

With both teams coming into the rematch on Saturday after narrow victories to inferior teams, you would have to think that the Vols are fully focused on avenging their loss in Lexington.

When asked about the match-up after their chaotic win over Ole Miss, Tennessee stars Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield seemed confident about having Kentucky come to Knoxville.

As he was dodging trash hurled at him from the Ole Miss crowd on his way off the court on Wednesday, Williams had this to say about a rematch with Kentucky:

“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun environment. We get to play them again and it’s going to be competitive. Hopefully, Reid and them get to play, everybody gets healthy, so it’ll be a talented game.”

Keep in mind that neither Schofield or Williams have ever lost to Kentucky in Knoxville, as the Cats have not won there since 2015. While their confidence certainly has a firm foundation, they also sound a little salty about Kentucky’s reaction to beating the Vols in the first game.

When asked again about Saturday’s game by reporters at Ole Miss, Williams was helped out by Schofield, who just happened to be walking by. In response to a question about being eager to avenge the loss, Schofield said, “Hopefully we’re not scared of PJ this time.”

You may remember from a year ago that Grant Williams admitted that PJ Washington was in his head a little bit in Knoxville last season. After defeating Tennessee on February 16th this year, Tyler Herro indicated that Washington may have a permanent residence there.

“I think they’re scared of him, honestly,” Herro said in a post game interview. “Scared of PJ. I think a lot of people are scared now that he’s scoring like his is and doing what he’s doing.”

Schofield’s obvious shot at that comment prompted a follow-up question for Williams’ response to the notion that he is scared of PJ Washington.

“It made me laugh,” Williams said. “Tyler said it after the game, I just laughed. I have a respect for PJ. I respect the world out of him. He’s talented.”

While neither Tennessee player showed any disrespect to Kentucky players, it is obvious that they took offense to Herro’s comments.

Herro, coming off of a career game of 29 points against the Arkansas Razorbacks, normally plays his best in hostile road environments. How will he respond to these remarks when the whistle blows in Knoxville? We will find out Saturday at 2 pm EST.