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Barnes: Tennessee to play Kansas or West Virginia in Big 12/SEC Challenge

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Another loaded non-conference schedule on deck.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Wright State vs Tennessee Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One thing Tennessee doesn’t do is shy away from stout non-conference opponents on the basketball court. The Vols typically play one of the toughest out of conference schedules in the nation. According to Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes, that’s not about to change this season.

Barnes told reporters on Tuesday night at Tennessee’s Atlanta Big Orange Caravan stop that his Vols will likely host West Virginia or Kansas this year as a part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. That would match what has typically been the rule of this event, which tries to place similar caliber teams against each other.

Tennessee traveled to Iowa State last year in the Big 12/SEC challenge, coming away with a 23 point victory over the Cyclones. Considering Tennessee’s SEC regular season title last year and the current hype that’s starting to generate for this year’s squad, it’s logical that the Vols will take on one of the Big 12’s best teams.

“We will play either Kansas or West Virginia in the Big 12/SEC Challenge,” Barnes said. “We will play one of those at home, so that’s going to be another great home game for us.”

Add that game to the non-conference list which already features Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga and Memphis. Tennessee will also be taking part in the 2018 NIT Tip-Off tournament, which features Kansas, Louisville and Marquette.

Expect Tennessee to have another loaded resume entering the month of March in 2019.