The highlight of Penny Hardaway’s first season as Memphis head coach has come and gone as the Tigers coach continues to live in the shadow of Rick Barnes and his Tennessee program.

While No. 3 Tennessee is off to a 15-1 start to the season, which included a 102-92 win at Memphis back on Dec. 15, Memphis is struggling to an 11-6 start, good for third place currently in the American, Hardaway is still talking about playing the best basketball program in the state.

During a Wednesday appearance on ESPN morning show “Get Up!,” Hardaway was asked to discuss his relationship with Barnes following his first meeting against the Tennessee coach.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect of Coach Rick Barnes,” Hardaway said on the show. “We had a situation here in Memphis with a rivalry game and you know it’s going to be heated, you’ve had those games with Michigan State before, I’m sure so you know when you get into that game it’s going to be high tempers and a lot of competitiveness and after the game I didn’t feel like he gave my team a fair understanding of what we were trying to do.

“He was kind of mocking the NBA and our coaching staff and I really didn’t like that. I have the utmost respect for him but I couldn’t let him do my team like that.”

You may recall after the Tennessee-Memphis game, Hardaway accused at least one Tennessee player of bailing up his fist during the game near the Memphis sideline. That was proven to be inaccurate. Hardaway also claimed Tennessee’s bench cleared and ran at the Memphis bench during the game, which was also inaccurate.

Here is Hardaway’s clip from the show where he discusses Tennessee. It’s interesting that he briefly stumbles through his comments when discussing Barnes — read into that what you will.

Tennessee is set to host Memphis next season, which should be an interesting matchup following the first of the three-game series between the two programs.