KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's a season of high expectations for the Tennessee men's basketball team. After three seasons, Cuonzo Martin feels good about his line-up, his bench and his schedule. Now it's time to execute.
Tennessee opens the season Tuesday night against Xavier in Cincinnati.
"I am really excited about the opportunity to play our first game, Our guys are ready to go," said Vols head coach Cuonzo Martin before his team departed Knoxville on Monday.
"I am just excited about the opportunity to play against a great opponent in a tremendous environment. I look forward to it and I think our guys do to."
The Vols face a traditional college basketball power in Xavier. The Musketeers won their season opener at home against Gardner-Webb 83-59 on Friday.
Xavier won 23 games in 2012-13 and made the region semifinals of the NCAA tournament before losing to Baylor 75-70.
Tennessee starts the season just a few points out of the Associate Press Top-25 national rankings.
An early win over a respected opponent on the road will enhance Tennessee's national standings.
"It's very important. We have to have this first one," said forward Jeronne Maymon.
"I don't want to say it's going to set up the rest of our season but it's going to be a big part of that so we want to get out of the gates strong and see where we go from there."
The Vols are predicted to compete for an SEC title and a possible deep run in the NCAA Tournament.