People searching to add fuel to the fire that is the Tennessee-Memphis college basketball series won’t find it from Volunteers coach Rick Barnes.

The 65-year-old men’s basketball coach spoke with high praise for Memphis basketball and coach Penny Hardaway on Tuesday afternoon. No. 19 Tennessee will host No. 13 Memphis at 3 pm ET on Saturday.

“I don’t know where it (the series) goes from here,” Barnes said according to Ben McKee of Rocky Top Insider. “I know this, we’re playing them now, and it’s been good for everybody.”

Barnes said that scheduling a series with Memphis in the future “is not as easy as everyone thinks,” citing prior commitments and scheduling balance for both teams as obstacles.

Barnes added that “Penny (Hardaway) has done a terrific job,” especially with all the young talent he’s had, saying “it’s not easy when you have to start with as many young players as he has.”

Hardaway is in his second season at Memphis, having led the Tigers to a 22-14 record and NIT appearance in his first season. Memphis is 8-1 to open this season.

Barnes also admitted that he and Hardaway haven’t spoken since January but also said that wasn’t unusual.

Tennessee leads the all-time series with Memphis, 15-11, and defeated the Tigers last season, 102-92.

“I just think people have tried to make something out of nothing. I have great respect for what he has gone, and I know what he means to Memphis.

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Tennessee sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020. Tennessee was the first SEC state to legalize sports betting.