Another opponent on Tennessee’s 2019-20 schedule is set, according to Jon Rothstein. The Vols, appearing in another November tournament, will face the Florida State Seminoles to open the Emerald Coast Classic.
That leaves Purdue and VCU as the second matchup.
Sources: Florida State will play Tennessee and Purdue will face VCU in the first round of the 2019 Emerald Coast Classic.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 4, 2019
The winners of each game will move on to face each other, while the losers will do the same. Either way, Tennessee will face two quality opponents during this tournament.
Tennessee was bounced from the NCAA Tournament last season by Purdue, which lost star guard Carsen Edwards to the NBA Draft this offseason. The Vols, of course, were hit much harder, losing Admiral Schofield, Grant Williams, Jordan Bone and Kyle Alexander.
Florida State earned a No. 4 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 before losing to Gonzaga. It was the Seminoles’ third straight appearance in the big dance under Leonard Hamilton.
Tennessee now for sure adds Florida State to a non-conference slate that already features Washington, Wisconsin, Memphis and Cincinnati. That could prove to be a tough challenge for what is suddenly a very inexperienced frontcourt.
Rick Barnes will have to transition from a Grant Williams led offense to a guard-centered offense. Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner will return for one more season, along with the addition of five-star guard Josiah James. The performance of those three will go a long way in determining what Tennessee basketball can do in what should be a bit of a rebuilding year.