The Tennessee basketball team will hit the court in just under three weeks as the 2020-2021 season begins. The anticipation for this season has hit a fever pitch as the Vols bring an explosive team to the court.
After an awkward off-season full of testing, quarantines, and individual workouts, the Vols are now working towards meeting the high expectations.
Jon Rothstein has reported that the Vols will play Gonzaga on December 2nd in Indianapolis. This game was originally scheduled to be played in Madison Square Garden, part of the “Jimmy V Classic.”
The Vols are opening the season with the “Volunteer Classic.” Tennessee will host Charlotte on November 25th. This will be a part of the “Multi-Team Event” which includes VCU. The Vols will play them on the 27th.
Tennessee and VCU were originally supposed to play in the Charleston Classic, but that Orlando bubble was popped by ESPN.
The Vols will play Cincinnati on December 12th and host Appalachian State on December 15th.
The rest of the non-conference schedule includes Tennessee Tech, USC Upstate, and Kansas.
The SEC Schedule has been released for the Vols.
Dec 30th: @ Missouri
Jan 2 Alabama
Jan 6 Arkansas
Jan 9 @ Texas A&M
Jan 12 @ South Carolina
Jan 16 Vanderbilt
Jan 19 @ Florida
Jan 23 Missouri
Jan 26 Mississippi St.
Jan 30 Kansas
Feb 2 @ Ole Miss
Feb 6 @ Kentucky
Feb 10 Florida
Feb 13 @ LSU
Feb 16 South Carolina
Feb 20 Kentucky
Feb 24 @ Vanderbilt
Feb 27 @ Auburn
Mar 3 Georgia
Regarding the 2021 signing class, “Stockrisers” reported that 5 star PG Kennedy Chandler will sign his NLI next Saturday.
On the court, this will be a very deep group for Rick Barnes. The addition of E.J. Anosike sounds like it will be key for the Vols around the basket. Tennessee held a scrimmage this past Saturday, and Barnes was very complimentary of the transfer while speaking with the Knoxville QB club.
“We scrimmaged on Saturday, in terms of a guy understanding his role, E.J. was far and away the best on the court.”
Barnes also had this to say of Anosike.
“Now he’s starting to figure out more and more, getting himself in the kind of shape he needs to be in. He’s a guy that really wants to do the things he needs to be doing. The other day he played his role better than anyone out there.”
Rick Barnes isn’t the only one to be complimentary of E.J., as Santiago Vescovi sang his praises last week during a zoom session.
“Talking about E.J [Anosike], he’s a unit. You cannot stop him going to the rim. I would rather move to the side rather than staying in front of him. He’s super strong, and he’s really good at crashing the glass and getting offensive rebounds. He’s also good at having the ball—he can read the defense, and he can make good passes.”
The University of Tennessee sent out their ticket guidelines for the season on Thursday, as they will have an 18% seating capacity for home games, about 4,000 fans.
This has been an ongoing discussion around the conference, with other schools starting to release their guidelines. According to an email sent out from their president, Kentucky has reportedly set its capacity at Rupp Arena at 15%. We should start seeing the rest of the conference schools start releasing their plans soon. This will make “Home Court Advantage” very interesting around college basketball this season.
Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer also released a statement within the universities release.
“Despite having gone through a similar process for football earlier this fall, the reality that we will be unable to welcome all of our ticket holders into Thompson-Boling Arena this basketball season remains saddening,”
Fulmer understands how difficult ticketing will be this season.
“There’s no easy way to adjust to the circumstances we find ourselves in. But we’ve been thoughtful and deliberate in attempting to offer attendance opportunities to as many of our season-ticket holders as possible while also maintaining the safest arena environment possible.”
Season ticket holders who have opted in will start receiving emails on November 10th. Tennessee made it clear in their release that tickets will likely end up being in different locations.
But, along the lines of football, deciding not to accept tickets this season will not hurt their status for the next season. This was included in today’s release.
“Regardless of one’s decision to opt-in or out for this season, everyone who purchased 2020-21 basketball season tickets will retain their status as a season-ticket holder along with their seats of choice when the 2021-22 renewal process begins.”
The Vols will continue to prepare for the 2020 season, on and off the court, as inch closer to the opener.
One thing is for sure, Tennessee has an opportunity to be a championship team. Nobody will be looking past the Vols this season.
All images courtesy of Tennessee Athletic Communications and Andrew Ferguson.