The 40-minute aerial attack ended with the longest faces in the season.
Memphis alley-ooped, slam-dunked and highlight-reeled its way to a 69-51 mauling of Tennessee's men's basketball team last Jan. 4.
"I told them in the locker room that we got bullied — that's not Tennessee basketball," UT point guard Trae Golden said afterward. He leaned against a wall, arms folded in disgust.
A year to the day, Tennessee and Memphis are set to meet again. The wound of last season's lashing is healed over, but it's still there, even if the Vols would prefer not to admit it.
"Uh, I don't remember that game," junior guard Jordan McRae said earlier this week with a smirk shaped like a sickle.
UT will look to erase those unacknowledged memories tonight (TV: ESPN2, 8 p.m.).
In the latest inception of the Vols-Tigers rivalry, the two will clash at Thompson-Boling Arena in front of a coordinating crowd decked out for a player-requested "Orange-Out."
"It's a big game, man," said McRae, who is averaging 12.8 points per game over UT's four-game winning streak.
To be exact, tonight is a big game pairing profoundly different programs.
Tennessee (8-3) is unilaterally dependent on its defense, a unit ranked 16th nationally with only 56.4 points allowed per game. No opponent has scored 70 on UT this season. Only six have posted more than 60.
Memphis (9-3), meanwhile, boasts a giddy-up-and-go attack averaging 74.0 points per game and shooting 47.2 percent from the field.
The Vols will look to find a happy medium in an unfriendly game of cat and mouse.
"You want to play fast, but you want to keep it in moderation," McRae said. "If you play a little too fast, you get sucked into what they want you to do."
"With any team, you want to control the game, play your style, whatever that is," added UT coach Cuonzo Martin. "For us, we need to keep those guys out of transition because that's when they're at their best."
While memories of last year linger like bad breath for the Vols, sophomore Jarnell Stokes enters tonight with scars left by off-the-court ammunition.
"You're a hillbilly now!" Tiger fans yelled in his direction last year at FedExForum.
Stokes is the only Vol from Memphis. He picked Tennessee over his hometown Tigers (who were without an available midyear scholarship) just a few weeks before the teams met last January. Sitting behind the Vols' bench sporting orange, Stokes took verbal haymakers.
"That was a reality check that it was all business," Stokes said this week. "Once you leave, you're not welcomed anymore at home."
No one knows if the sophomore, or any of the other Vols, will make a return trip to the Forum next year.
In a developing game of "he said, he said," Memphis athletic Tom Bowen surprisingly painted a divergent picture of the future of the Vols-Tigers rivalry than that of coach Josh Pastner. Since 2011, Pastner has adamantly said he won't renew the series contract after an existing eight-year, home-and-home agreement expires tonight.
"We will not play Tennessee as long as I'm the head coach and I'm doing my scheduling," Pastner said Monday.
Reports emerged Thursday to the contrary. "We are re-evaluating everything," Bowen told The Commercial Appeal, adding that playing the Vols is "important for us."
Regarding tonight's game, Pastner said, "I want to say this: Friday's game is not the national championship. I've made that point very clearly. It's two good teams who want to win the game, but no matter what, after the game is over, we both start league play."
Indeed, the Vols will open SEC play hosting Ole Miss next Thursday, while Memphis begins its final year in Conference USA against East Carolina next week.
But first, it's Tennessee-Memphis. With an uncertain future, the rivalry will continue in the present.
"There's a lot of buzz about this game," Stokes said. "People think it can go either way. That's a good thing."
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn