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Tennessee basketball: Vols to open regular season against VCU

Tennessee's coach Donnie Tyndall will open his first season with the Volunteers against Shaka Smart and VCU.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers are looking to start their regular season off with a bang, after it was announced that the Vols will face off against the VCU Rams on Friday, November 14th at 6:30 p.m. EDT on a neutral court in Annapolis, Maryland. That game will kick off the beginning of a double-header as a part of the Veterans Classic at the U.S. Naval Academy. The second part of the double-header will feature Michigan State and Navy at 9 p.m. Both games will be featured on CBS Sports Network, setting up a big stage for the four teams.

Under Smart, VCU finished 26-9 (12-4 A-10) last season and made the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive time. The Rams reached the Final Four in 2011 and made it to the third round in 2012 and 2013. Smart has elevated the program to new heights and now Tennessee's first-year head coach Donnie Tyndall will get a shot at one of the top programs the past couple of years. Tyndall is making his debut as head coach against the Rams and will no doubt have a challenge against VCU.

Tennessee is 4-0 against VCU all-time, dating back to 1981. The most-recent meeting was a 77-72 win in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York City in November of 2010. Each of UT's last nine coaches won their first regular season game with the Volunteers, and Tyndall will look to continue that streak of success.

Some other notable non-conference games this season include Butler (home), Kansas State (home) and NC State (away). The Vols will also join Georgia Tech, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State, Rider, Santa Clara and Xavier in the eight-team Orlando Classic - previously called the Old Spice Classic - from Nov. 27-30.