The Vols will kick off the Donnie Tyndall era on November 14 against VCU when the two teams play in Annapolis, MD in the Veterans Classic.
Tennessee announced the matchup on Monday afternoon.
The Tennessee basketball team’s first regular-season opponent under new head coach Donnie Tyndall will be VCU, as the Volunteers face the Rams Friday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m. ET as part of a unique doubleheader event known as the Veterans Classic at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
The inaugural Veterans Classic – which celebrates Veterans Day and will be played at Navy’s Alumni Hall – also will feature a matchup between Navy and Michigan State (9 p.m. ET).
As part of the event, the Vols will have the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of what life is like as a midshipman at the Naval Academy. From touring the `Yard,’ to watching noon meal formation and eating lunch with the Brigade at King Hall, the team will be immersed in the culture and tradition of the Naval Academy. The Vols also will enjoy other unique experiences, including military demonstrations and receptions.
“First of all, I’m appreciative of Tennessee having the opportunity to be part of an event like this,” Tyndall said. “This is something that I believe our fans can be excited about, and it’s also going to be a great opportunity for our players – not only to provide a challenging test for our team early in the season, but also to give them a better appreciation of what life is like for the young men and women who attend our service academies.”
The Veterans Classic will take place each year through 2017, with Navy hosting and participating, along with other top teams from across the country. The doubleheader officially tips off CBS Sports Network’s 2014 college basketball schedule.
The Volunteers are 4-0 all-time against VCU, with their last win coming in 2010.
Shaka Smart, the head coach of the Rams, was one of Tennessee’s rumored coaching candidates when Cuonzo Martin left for California. Smart never seriously entertained the idea of coming to Rocky Top.
The matchup will make for a tough start to the season for Tyndall and his roster of mostly new faces.
UTSports.com notes that Tennessee’s last nine head coaches have been victorious in their Volunteer debut.
If Tyndall is able to pull off a win in his debut against VCU, he’ll not only match the success of his predecessors, he’ll also immediately be a fan favorite in Knoxville.
Tennessee’s matchup against VCU will tip off at 6:30 PM ET and will air on the CBS Sports Network.