Basketball season is officially underway. The Tennessee Vols men’s team took to the court Monday night, and the women will open the season Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Ohio State Buckeyes. We’ll have a separate story previewing that matchup.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with continuing coverage of the men’s basketball season-opener. We have multiple postgame press conferences to bring you. Football press conferences also made news, as players and coaches took the stand Monday.
Beyond press conferences, a basketball preseason awards watch list came out Monday, which we’ll cover. Speaking of awards, a volleyball award also made news, and the women’s soccer NCAA Tournament also warrants coverage, so there’s plenty to get to. Let’s start with men’s basketball.
On Monday, the No. 11 ranked Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team opened the season with a 75-43 win over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. Here’s a bit of what eighth-year head coach Rick Barnes said about the win.
"“I thought we played really hard. I really thought we played hard defensively. On the offensive end, I thought we were, again, shots, we’re going to shoot the ball. We’ve worked too hard not to do that. I’m not sure we had many of them that were what I would call a bad shot. We knew going in that they were going to pack it back in there. We knew that if played inside out, that’s what it would be. We said hey, if we’re open, take it.”"
Tyreke Key and Josiah-Jordan James also spoke after the game. Key came off the bench to lead Tennessee basketball in scoring Monday. Josiah-Jordan James also came off the bench and had two steals after battling an injury early. Here’s a bit of what Key said about coming off the bench.
"“The last time was my freshman year. I didn’t start the first half of the season, but I do enjoy it. I think me being a spark off the bench is good. I don’t have any problem with it at all.”"
James talked about getting back on the floor after missing UT’s exhibition win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs. This is how he described it.
"“It was a lot of fun being back out there playing against people who aren’t my teammates, just being out there in a competitive environment. I want to give a shoutout to Vol Nation. They showed up and showed out. They were loud for 40 minutes once again, and they gave us a big boost like they always do.”"
Josh Heupel talks Missouri – Jack Foster, SI.com
Coming off their first loss of the season at the Georgia Bulldogs, the Tennessee Vols football team was back at work Monday preparing for the Missouri Tigers. Josh Heupel discussed how the players responded in practice. Here’s a bit of what he said.
"“The energy in the building was good. Were guys disappointed after the game? Yeah. If they weren’t, then we would have real issues. We had an opportunity, one, for them to go into the position meetings and unit meetings and just see the landscape from the coaches’ perspective. They had the chance to watch it with them. And then as a team too, just watch how the game unfolded and things that we did, that we can control the game and make it play out differently.”"
Hendon Hooker, LaTrell Bumphus talk Missouri – Eric Cain, VolQuest
Along with Heupel, Hendon Hooker and LaTrell Bumphus also talked about Saturday’s matchup against Mizzou. Hooker talked about the team making a lot of mistakes in the loss at Georgia. This is his explanation for that.
"“Georgia came out and played a great game. Hats off to those guys. We definitely left a lot of plays out there from not doing things that we normally do on a daily basis. It comes back to little things, paying attention to detail. We didn’t do that on Saturday.”"
Bumphus discussed the importance of rebounding as the Vols face the Missouri Tigers this week. Here’s how he described it.
"“We just have to go back to work this week and correct those small things that we were working on. As long as we can get the small things corrected, I think we can take care of the big things. It’s very important that we get back on the track, get back to work. I don’t think we need to do anything special, we just have to make those small connections.”"
Jerry Mack speaks at Knoxville QB club – Ryan Callahan, GoVols247
For the first time all year, a Tennessee football coach spoke at the Knoxville Quarterback Club on the heels of a loss. Running backs coach Jerry Mack was the one to take the stage this time. Here’s some of what he said about the loss and his unit.
"“Obviously, everybody’s extremely disappointed about the outcome on Saturday, but there is good news, and it’s that we still have the opportunity to do some really good things, as far as continuing on in the season. The biggest thing I would tell you about my room right now, the guys at the running back position, is the team and the group is growing every single week.”"
South Carolina kickoff has two possibilities – Dan Harralson, VolsWire
With Saturday’s matchup between the Tennessee Vols football team and Missouri Tigers now confirmed to be at Noon on CBS, next week’s matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks is still up in the air. All that’s confirmed now, though, is that game will be in the evening.
"The Southeastern Conference announced two potential kickoff times for the Tennessee-South Carolina matchup. Kickoff between the Vols and Gamecocks will either be at 7 p.m. EST (ESPN) or 7:30 p.m. EST (SEC Network)."
Two Vols on Naismith watch list – NaismithTrophy.com
This year’s Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List on the men’s side includes two Tennessee Vols basketball players. Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James both made the list.
"The midseason 30 team will be announced in February, and then the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists in early March. Following those results, four finalists will be named on March 21, 2023, and the winner of the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Men’s Player of the Year will be announced on April 2, 2023."
Soccer set for NCAA Tournament – NCAA.com
A No. 6 seed, the Tennessee Lady Vols will host the Xavier Musketeers in the first round of the 64-team soccer NCAA Tournament. They will face off Friday, Nov. 11.
"First round action will be played November 11-13, while the second/third rounds will be held November 18 and 20, with the quarterfinals on November 25 or 26.This 41st annual NCAA Women’s College Cup will be played Dec. 2 and 5 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, with the University of North Carolina and Town of Cary, serving as hosts."
Thanks to her efforts in helping the Tennessee Lady Vols volleyball team beat the Ole Miss Rebels and then the LSU Tigers twice last week, Morgahn Fingall was recognized by the Southeastern Conference. She earned SEC Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week.
"Fingall, a senior right side from Fairfax, Va., averaged 5.75 points and 5.00 kills per set and owned a .355 hitting percentage in a 3-0 week for the Lady Vols."