KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee basketball team is off to a strong start after 2-0 picking up wins over UT Martin and East Tennessee State University. Now, the schedule is starting to get tougher as they’ll face off with multiple teams in the top 25 in the Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament.
The 17th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers will start the tournament with No. 5 Villanova and then onto either No. 18 North Carolina or No. 6 Purdue. Coach Rick Barnes says this is a great opportunity to see where the program is at this point.
“There is no question you want to be in this type of field with teams that have had great success over the years, for many, many years. Every time I think about us playing Purdue — we have had some epic games. Certainly, North Carolina through the years too. I go back to the game with Villanova in the Bahamas. That was as intense of a game and you think about it, that year we were picked 13th and won the league. They go on to win the national championship. We try to schedule it because we believe that we should be one of those schools that when people think of high-level basketball programs, that Tennessee is always in that mix.”
The Vols will play Villanova at 1 p.m. — results of both initial matchups will determine the next games in the tournament.