Rick Barnes made his coaching bones by getting into a shouting match with Dean Smith during the 1995 ACC tournament.
Barnes, a longtime major Division I coach at Providence, Clemson, Texas and now Tennessee, has done well against Roy Williams but has had a mixed bag of on-court success against North Carolina.
The second-year Tennessee coach has a 7-6 mark against Williams and a 7-11 record vs. UNC.
Barnes, Williams and the Tar Heels get together again on Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn. in a matchup of top-25 teams. Tennessee (7-1) enters the game ranked No. 20 and the Tar Heels (9-1) are up to No. 7 in the AP poll.
Barnes and the Tigers actually lost the infamous ACC tournament game in Greensboro when Barnes objected to Smith demonstratively pointing and talking to Clemson’s Iker Iturbe after a hard foul on Jerry Stackhouse.
Barnes’ only win against UNC as Clemson’s coach, for four seasons from 1994 until ’98, came the year after the blowup with the Carolina legend. The Tigers beat the Tar Heels on a dunk at the buzzer in the 1996 ACC tournament in Greensboro. Barnes was 1-9 against UNC while the Clemson coach.
Barnes left for Texas after the 1997-98 season and then was in the same conference as Williams, who was Kansas’ coach through the 2002-03 season. Barnes was only 1-4 against Williams when the two were in the Big 12 together.
Then Barnes’ luck changed. In Williams’ first season at UNC, it was Barnes’ Texas team who knocked UNC out of the 2004 NCAA tournament (in the second round in Denver).
Barnes went 6-1 against UNC (and Williams) as Texas’ coach. The Longhorns won back-to-back neutral-site games in Dec. ’09 (in “Jerry’s World” in Arlington, Texas) and in Dec. ’10 (in Greensboro).
Williams and the Heels got their lone win in the series in Dec. ’11 at the Smith Center. Texas and Barnes won the next three games, in Dec. ’12, Dec. ’13 (his only win in six tries at the Smith Center) and Dec. ’15.
The two old rivals met again last December, Barnes’ first at Tennessee, with the Heels winning a tight game in Chapel Hill, 73-71.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
No. 7 UNC at No. 20 Tennessee
When: 3 p.m., Sunday
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena; Knoxville, Tenn.
TV/radio: ESPN, 106.1-WTKK