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Tennessee Basketball Season Preview: The Schedule

Aside from the usual struggles of dealing with the SEC schedule, this year the Vols will play three marquee non-conference games, a host of local and in-state schools, and three games in the Virgin Islands in the Paradise Jam Tournament.  Tennessee continues to put together a difficult schedule under Bruce Pearl, and this year will be no different. 

One result of the program's success is the presence of television cameras at Tennessee's games:  the Vols will play in front of a national television audience three times on CBS, and have six of their SEC contests scheduled for ESPN.  ESPN2 will pick up another three games, and all the other contests can be seen one way or another.

Here's a look at Tennessee's 2009-10 schedule, with more thoughts after the jump...


Date Opponent Time TV Notes
Fri Nov 13 vs Austin Peay 9:00PM SportSouth
Tue Nov 17 vs UNC-Asheville 7:00PM Fox Sports South
Fri Nov 20 vs East Carolina 3:30PM Fox Sports South Paradise Jam - St. Thomas
Sat Nov 21 vs DePaul/Northern Iowa 6:00PM Fox Sports South Paradise Jam - St. Thomas
Mon Nov 23 TBD TBD Fox Sports South Parasise Jam - St. Thomas
Fri Nov 27 vs College of Charleston 7:00PM CSS
Wed Dec 2 vs ETSU 7:00PM SportSouth
Fri Dec 11 vs MTSU 7:00PM ESPNU SEC/Sun Belt Classic - Nashville
Tue Dec 15 vs Wyoming 7:00PM ESPNU
Sat Dec 19 at Southern Cal 4:30PM Fox Sports South
Wed Dec 23 vs North Carolina A&T 7:00PM CSS
Thu Dec 31 at Memphis 4:00PM ESPN2
Wed Jan 6 vs UNC-Charlotte 7:00PM CSS
Sun Jan 10 vs Kansas 1:30PM CBS
Thu Jan 14 vs Auburn 7:00PM ESPN2
Sat Jan 16 vs Ole Miss 1:30PM SEC Network
Tue Jan 19 at Alabama 7:00PM ESPN
Sat Jan 23 at Georgia 5:00PM Fox Sports South
Wed Jan 27 vs Vanderbilt 7:00PM ESPNU
Sun Jan 31 vs Florida 1:00PM CBS
Thu Feb 4 at LSU 9:00PM ESPN2
Sat Feb 6 vs South Carolina 6:00PM ESPN
Tue Feb 9 at Vanderbilt 7:00PM ESPN
Sat Feb 13 at Kentucky 9:00PM ESPN College GameDay
Web Feb 17 vs Georgia 8:00PM SEC Network
Sat Feb 20 at South Carolina 1:30PM SEC Network
Tue Feb 23 at Florida 9:00PM ESPN
Sat Feb 27 vs Kentucky 12:00PM CBS
Wed Mar 3 vs Arkansas 7:00PM CSS
Sat Mar 6 at Mississippi State 6:00PM ESPN

Some additional thoughts on UT's schedule:

  • The Paradise Jam field includes Boston College, South Dakota State and St. Joseph's on the other side of the bracket, but the big fish is preseason #7 Purdue, who the Vols could see in the finals if both teams win on Friday and Saturday.  In the Vols' half of the bracket, Northern Iowa won the Missouri Valley Tournament and 23 games last year, but were bounced in the first round of the tournament by the same Purdue squad.
  • The SEC/Sun Belt Classic game with MTSU is at the Somet Center in Nashville, the first half of a double-header with Vanderbilt vs. Western Kentucky to follow.
  • The first real road trip of the season takes the Vols to Los Angeles to face our old friend Kevin O'Neill and the USC Trojans.  O'Neill can give Pearl a run for his money in terms of quotability when he wants to, so that should be a very interesting weekend.
  • The New Year's Eve game at Memphis being in the late afternoon should keep Vol fans sane - if the Vols qualify for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, it kicks at 7:30 the same night, meaning we could risk sensory overload but you won't have to choose between the two.
  • Kansas enters the season ranked #1 in both polls, but before coming to Knoxville the Jayhawks will travel to Memphis, UCLA, and play consecutive December home games with #15 Michigan and #12 California.  Will they still be atop the polls when they get here?
  • The Vols get a much easier start in the SEC schedule than they did last year, with four games against lower-half teams to open.  But the SEC East could be defined by a brutal three game stretch in February - at South Carolina, at Florida, vs Kentucky.
  • There are no off-dates in the SEC schedule this year, meaning everyone will play two games every week, typically Tue/Wed/Thu and then Saturday.