Basketball season has officially arrived. Opening night is here, and Tennessee will get things going against Tennessee Tech at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday night.
Rick Barnes might have one of his best teams yet at Tennessee. Josiah-Jordan James, Santiago Vescovi and Zakai Zeigler return, forming an experienced core in the backcourt. Veteran transfer Tyreke Key adds depth and big-time shooting, while Olivier Nkamhoua, Uros Plavsic and Jonas Aidoo return to the frontcourt. Oh — five-star freshman wing Julian Phillips is also here too, adding some NBA pop to the roster.
We got a preview of this team a couple of weeks ago as they took apart Gonzaga in a scrimmage. The Volunteers shot the lights out and beat the Zags by 19.
Tonight, as we get going for real, the Volunteers are favored by 36 points over Tennessee Tech, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Tennessee is 26-1 all time against Tech, dating back to 1939. The Vols beat the Golden Eagles 80-69 in last year’s meeting. Former Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey remains at the helm of the Tennessee Tech program, coming off of an 11-21 season last year.
Injury note: Josiah-Jordan James says he’s good to go tonight after being held out of the Gonzaga scrimmage.
How to watch
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Streaming: SEC+ (ESPN App)