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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee guard Josh Richardson understands the skepticism surrounding his team, but he doesn't agree with it.

Richardson is the lone returning starter and one of only four returning scholarship players from the Tennessee team that went 24-13 and reached an NCAA regional semifinal last spring.

The 6-foot-6 senior believes the Volunteers can withstand a tumultuous offseason that featured a coaching change and multiple transfers.

Richardson said he expects Tennessee to be picked to finish toward the bottom of the Southeastern Conference, but he added that "we're going to come out and surprise a lot of people."

Tennessee's chances of surprising depend on whether Richardson can build on his postseason performance.

Richardson averaged 19.3 points per game and shot 61.7 percent in last season's NCAA tournament.

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