Tennessee has another non-conference tune-up game on the schedule tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena before things start to get real. The Volunteers will host Eastern Kentucky, who sit at 4-4 on the year.
Tennessee took down the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, capping off a strong week with a win over Kansas. Since, they’ve had a couple of easy non-conference wins, and they’re hoping for another one tonight.
The No. 7 Volunteers will see their elite defense put to the test tonight, set to face an offense that averages 83.5 points per game. They’re aggressive and play with pace, offering a different look for Tennessee tonight.
“They do a good job with it, too,” Rick Barnes said of Eastern Kentucky’s ability to push. “They’ve committed to it. They’re going to sell out to it. That means there’s going to be random traps all over the place. It could be in the half-court, three-quarter-court, full-court. They’re going to really work at it trying to (make it) a high-possession game. They do a good job of getting their players that they want to score where they need them to score. It’s going to be a lot of energy. They bring a lot of energy when they play.”
Eastern Kentucky lost to Cincinnati by 18, Western Kentucky by six and James Madison by 17. Their offense is a little propped up by a couple of blowout wins over inferior opponents, where they scored 137 and 122 points.
Facing Tennessee tonight will be a different story, where the Volunteers rank first in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings.
Tennessee is favored by 28.5 points, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
How to watch
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Streaming: Watch ESPN, ESPN App