Tennessee basketball gains another tough non-conference opponent for the upcoming season in Louisville. The Vols and Cardinals will face off in the NIT Tip-Off.
The closer basketball season creeps up on us, the harder the non-conference schedule gets for the Tennessee basketball team. It was announced on Thursday that the Vols will face the Louisville Cardinals on November 21 in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The other two teams a part of the NIT Season Tip-Off are Kansas and Marquette. So, the Vols could potentially end up playing Kansas if both teams win their first-round matchup. Playing tough opponents is nothing new to a Rick Barnes coached basketball team.
Last season the Vols played a tough non-conference schedule and they will again this season. Already on the docket is Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Memphis, and Gonzaga. There is also West Virginia in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
One of the most memorable games between the two teams was the Regional Semi-Finals Game in 2008. The game ended up going in favor of the Cardinals pretty convincingly. However, it was a single digit game with five minutes to go in the game.
That game displayed Tennessee basketball players like Chris Lofton, JaJuan Smith, Tyler Smith, and Wayne Chism. On the side, Terrence Williams led Louisville scoring around 11 points per game.
Despite having one of the toughest schedules in the country, the 2018 team should be one of the best in the country. After a 26-9 record and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Vols return virtually everyone. Both Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield should be preseason All-SEC First-Team selections.
It will be very interesting to see how the Vols play with every opponent out to ‘knock them off’ since they will be ranked at least in the top ten to start the season. Tennessee will be battled tested all season long and should be ready for tournament action. Not to set expectations too high but we wouldn’t be surprised at all if a National Championship trophy comes to Knoxville.