Their schedule wasn’t tough enough. Tennessean basketball will be facing five Power Five teams. There are four teams that could be among the preseason’s top 25 and three teams that could be in the top 10 in non-conference play. This list does not include the Memphis Tigers.
The Vols’ draw in conference play only adds to the brutality and brutality of their schedule. Wednesday’s league announcement revealed the opponents for their 18-game SEC slate. Six more games can be added against teams that are in the preseason’s top 25.
They play the Kentucky Wildcats twice. This is standard for Tennessee basketball as the Vols face Kentucky, South Carolina Gamecocks, and Vanderbilt Commodores twice a year.
Only Kentucky is certain to be among the top 25. The Arkansas Razorbacks are another team they will face twice this year. They are also expected to be among the top 25. They will only play the LSU Tigers twice.
Not enough is it that half their random draws in playing team twice are against top 25 foes. The Alabama Crimson Tide will be their next opponent. They will be playing the Auburn Tigers at home in their final match against this top 25 team.
The Vols could not have drawn a more difficult draw if you look at the rankings. Based on early preseason rankings by ESPN’s Jeff Borzello and CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish, it is clear that Kentucky, Arkansas, and Alabama will be the highest-ranked SEC teams to begin the season.
UT will have to face all three of the best SEC teams on the road this year, and must play at least two of them twice. The Vols are expected to finish behind them all to be fourth in the league. Auburn is projected fifth so that the only top 25 team in this league they don’t have the obligation to play on the roads is the worst.
It’s possible that Rocky Top will finish with the most difficult schedule in the country this year. Kentucky, Alabama, UT and the other top 25 teams in the SEC have a tougher schedule this year. Nevertheless, the Vols still had a difficult draw considering their non-conference schedule.