Tennessee plays 14 games against NCAA tournament teams

UT Basketball Coach Cuonzo Martin addresses the crowd at the Welcome Reception in his honor.

Tiffany Powell

UT Basketball Coach Cuonzo Martin addresses the crowd at the Welcome Reception in his honor.

There have been plenty of changes in the Tennessee’s men’s basketball program the past five months, but schedule difficulty is not one of them.

The Vols, who return just one starter, released the 2011-12 schedule on Thursday, and it’s as loaded as ever.

UT will play 14 games against teams that played in last season’s NCAA tournament and 10 games against teams that finished in the top 50 of the RPI ratings.

The Vols’ schedule strength ranked second nationally last season and has ranked among the top six in the nation five of the past six seasons, according to RealTimeRpi.com.

Tennessee first-year coach Cuonzo Martin, in China as an assistant coach with the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team through Monday, inherited the vast majority of the schedule from the previous staff.

But Martin’s not complaining.

“This is the type of schedule that players want to play,” Martin said in a UT release Thursday. “Tennessee has historically put together a great schedule every year. But when you look at the field in Maui, the games against Pitt, Memphis and UConn, and then add the SEC — which is going to have numerous preseason top-20 teams and some future NBA guys — this schedule might be the toughest one yet.

“But it’s great for our fans and our players, so we’re excited about it.”

UT’s exhibition schedule includes 7:30 p.m. games with Division II teams Carson-Newman College (Nov. 3) and Lincoln-Memorial (Nov. 7). before the season opener on Nov. 11 against UNC-Greensboro at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Some of the more challenging portions of the schedule include a trip to the Maui Invitational, where the Vols play Duke on Nov. 21 and either Memphis or Michigan on Nov. 22 before wrapping up their trip to Hawaii against a yet-to-be-determined opponent on Nov. 23.

From there, Tennessee plays at Oakland, Mich. (Nov. 28), which upset the Vols last season, before coming home to face Big East heavyweight Pittsburgh on Dec. 3.

The Vols hope to get off to a fast start in 2012 with a home game against Chattanooga on Jan. 2 before a potentially brutal stretch that includes games at Memphis (Jan. 4), the SEC opener at home against Florida (Jan. 7), a trip to Mississippi State (Jan. 12) and a home date with Kentucky (Jan. 14).

A road trip to Georgia (Jan. 18) could offer some relief before defending national champion Connecticut comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a Jan. 21 game and the Vols travel to play Vanderbilt (Jan. 24).

Provided early prognostications prove accurate, the back end of Tennessee’s schedule could offer an opportunity to close the regular season with momentum.

The Vols play host to Ole Miss on Feb. 22 before road trips to South Carolina (Feb. 25) and LSU (Feb. 29) and the regular season finale at home against Vanderbilt (March 3).

This season’s SEC tournament will be played March 8-11 in New Orleans before the NCAA tournament begins on March 13.

Tennessee’s active string of six consecutive NCAA tournaments is the longest in the SEC, as the Vols have won more SEC games than any league team over the past six seasons.

The television scheduling portion of this season’s schedule isn’t complete, but it’s unlikely UT will enjoy the exposure it has in recent seasons.

Last season, 32 of 33 UT games were televised, 19 nationally including 16 in the ESPN network.

This season’s schedule currently reflects 20 televised games, 11 of which are slated for the various ESPN networks.

The Vols, who have ranked in the top five nationally in attendance the past six seasons, will put their season tickets on sale at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 8, when fans can purchase them online or at Uttix.com

The UT athletic department announced that it will host “Meet Your Seats” events at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sept. 6-7 from 4-7 p.m., where fans can see the available seating inventory for both men’s and women’s basketball season tickets.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men’s basketball and can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

Tennessee 2011-12 Schedule

Date Opponent Site Time

Nov. 3 Thur. Carson-Newman College (exhibition) Knoxville 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 7 Mon. Lincoln Memorial (exhibition) Knoxville 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 11 Fri. UNC Greensboro Knoxville TBD

Nov. 16 Wed. Louisiana-Monroe Knoxville TBD

Nov. 21 Mon. Duke Maui, Hawaii 5:30 p.m.

Nov. 22 Tue. Memphis or Michigan Maui, Hawaii 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Nov. 23 Wed. TBD Maui, Hawaii TBD

Nov. 28 Mon. at Oakland Oakland, Mich. TBD

Dec. 3 Sat. Pittsburgh Knoxville 5:15 p.m.

Dec. 10 Sat. Austin Peay Knoxville TBD

Dec. 14 Wed. at College of Charleston Charleston, S.C. TBD

Dec. 20 Tue. UNC Asheville Knoxville TBD

Dec. 23 Fri. ETSU Knoxville TBD

Dec. 29 Thur. The Citadel Knoxville TBD

Jan. 2 Mon. Chattanooga Knoxville TBD

Jan. 4 Wed. at Memphis Memphis TBD

Jan. 7 Sat. Florida Knoxville 11 a.m.

Jan. 12 Thur. at Mississippi State Starkville, Miss. 9 p.m.

Jan. 14 Sat. Kentucky Knoxville Noon

Jan. 18 Wed. at Georgia Athens, Ga. 8 p.m.

Jan. 21 Sat. Connecticut Knoxville TBD

Jan. 24 Tue. at Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn. 7 p.m.

Jan. 28 Sat. Auburn Knoxville TBD

Jan. 31 Tue. at Kentucky Lexington, Ky. 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 Sat. Georgia Knoxville 8 p.m.

Feb. 8 Wed. South Carolina Knoxville 8 p.m.

Feb. 11 Sat. at Florida Gainesville, Fla. 4 p.m.

Feb. 15 Wed. Arkansas Knoxville 8 p.m.

Feb. 18 Sat. at Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala. 1:30 p.m.

Feb. 22 Wed. Ole Miss Knoxville 7 p.m.

Feb. 25 Sat. at South Carolina*^ Columbia, S.C. 8 p.m.

Feb. 29 Wed. at LSU Baton Rouge, La. 9 p.m.

March 3 Sat. Vanderbilt Knoxville 4 p.m.

March 8-11 SEC Tournament New Orleans

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Comments » 16

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say at least we not hiding like some SEC teams do. Witch Doctor would rather lose to a great team than play the Florida school of the blind...Witch Doctor not have to mention any names.
Bones never lie.

samvol writes:

Go Vols....Go Zo!!!

iadvol writes:

Its going to be a long arse year boys and hopefully the NCAA doesnt smack us too hard. Fingers, toes etc crossed. GBO!

cdldoc#211897 writes:

Thanks Coach Pearl. You give to UT even after you are gone. Thanks. Hope to see you in orange again.

Colliervol writes:

Probably staring at a tough year but we already knew that. I'll just be curious to see Coach Martin's style and what he can get out of the players that he has. Good coaching sometimes can make up for a lack of talent. If the NCAA sticks us with a post season ban for a year, I don't think it affects us much given our talent level and the schedule. Probably not making the field anyway.

Steve_2 writes:

We ain't scared.

SummittsCourt writes:

Ready to rock Duke's world!

madcountyvol writes:

man, if we can upset duke that would be great...... i hate duke

UofTNVol writes:

Yep. Baptism by fire, and it won't be pretty. But, this was always going to be a tough season considering the talent we lost. These kids are young and sound ready to work hard. We've got a coach that believes in playing hard D. I know we're gonna take a lot of lumps and losses, but I'm still looking forward to watching these kids play, even if they can't do anything but play hard.

VolinVirginia writes:

in response to UofTNVol:

Yep. Baptism by fire, and it won't be pretty. But, this was always going to be a tough season considering the talent we lost. These kids are young and sound ready to work hard. We've got a coach that believes in playing hard D. I know we're gonna take a lot of lumps and losses, but I'm still looking forward to watching these kids play, even if they can't do anything but play hard.

Well, my Dad always told me: "if you're going to be a bear, be a grizzlie."

But you are right on the mark: baptism by fire. And I will be there with you, cheering them on regardless.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say boring..............
Bones never lie.

allvol32 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say boring..............
Bones never lie.

Dear Witch Doctor,

I guess that it's some sort of perverse flattery that this mental midget is stalking you. I'm flat out embarrassed for this poor idiot that continues to try to ride your coattails to some sort of "legend in his own mind" status.

He is yet another one of those supremely brave warriors who deems himself a champion when hiding behind the skirts of internet anonymity.

Keep up the excellent posts WD and maybe someday the men in white coats will take your stalker away and we won't have to skip over his sputum to get to the comments that are worth reading.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to allvol32:

Dear Witch Doctor,

I guess that it's some sort of perverse flattery that this mental midget is stalking you. I'm flat out embarrassed for this poor idiot that continues to try to ride your coattails to some sort of "legend in his own mind" status.

He is yet another one of those supremely brave warriors who deems himself a champion when hiding behind the skirts of internet anonymity.

Keep up the excellent posts WD and maybe someday the men in white coats will take your stalker away and we won't have to skip over his sputum to get to the comments that are worth reading.

Witch Doctor say thanks man! Witch Doctor say he just one of many that has come and gone..Witch Doctor say he got no game.
Bones never lie.

hamneggs writes:

the Bruce Pearl legacy...

johnlg00 writes:

Show competitiveness, cohesion, and good character this year; keep those traits while adding some exciting young talent the next year; compete for the SEC championship the following year. Seems pretty simple to me. I think CCM is the man to make this happen. Give him a decent chance and keep up the support Vol fans have always given. Better days are ahead!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Can't wait.

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