The Tennessee Volunteers are back in action today, set to make a trip out west. The first true road test of the year is always a challenge, no matter who the opponent is. This year, it’s a decent Colorado team.
The Buffaloes are 6-2 on the year, surviving a couple of upset scares early on. They narrowly escaped against Montana State and Brown, before eventually falling to Southern Illinois. They then lost by 12 to UCLA earlier this week.
Tennessee beat Colorado 56-47 last season in Knoxville.
“Tad does a terrific job with his teams,” Rick Barnes said this week. “They are explosive offensively. Terrific inside player that can create all kinds of problems for you. We are going to have to collectively as a team guard the way I think we are capable of. Last year, they played a lot of 2-3 zone. We will certainly expect to see that some because it has stifled us in some ways. We were up, had a pretty good lead and they fought back, which you knew they would do anyway. We are expecting to see some of that. With that said, it is about us trying to see what it is going to be like with our first real road game and seeing how we respond to it.”
Colorado is led by forward Jabari Walker, who averages 15 points per game. The 6-9 sophomore was named to the Pac-12’s All-Freshman team last season for his efforts, and has stepped into a bigger role this season.
Forward Evan Battey and guard Keeshawn Barthelemy also average in double figures.
- The wait continues for Josiah-Jordan James. Barnes was unsure of his status for this game earlier in the week as he nurses a ligament issue in his shooting hand back to full health. With how early it is in the season, Tennessee will probably play this conservatively.
- The first road test for Kennedy Chandler comes today. The five-star point guard has been fearless to this point, taking over the lead role for this team without too many issues. Road environments can be a different story, however, and it will be interesting to see how he responds. Zakai Zeigler too, for that matter.
- Inconsistent post play has been a theme for the Volunteers early in the season. We’ve seen Olivier Nkamhoua take over games, and we’ve also seen him be non-existent. Maybe it’s a matchup thing, or maybe is has to do with Tennessee’s shift to a more wide-open, three-point heavy attack. Either way, you’d like to see a little more consistency from the Tennessee bigs, so I’ll be looking for that this afternoon.
How to watch
Location: Boulder, Colorado
TV Channel: FS1
Tip-off time: 2 p.m. ET
Streaming: Fox Sports
Radio: Vol Network
Odds: Tennessee -5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See DraftKings.com/sportsbook for details.