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Tennessee basketball preparing for season with unknowns

The Vols have just one game scheduled, as of now.
Credit: Louis Fernandez
Rick Barnes speaks during the team's media day.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It will soon be basketball time in Tennessee. The Vols have a special mix of experienced players and newcomers on the roster. Starters Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James, Yves Pons and John Fulkerson are all back. Five-star guards Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer and four-star forward Corey Walker are among the freshman on the team.

Transfers Victor Bailey Jr. and E.J. Anosike are also eligible this season.

“I think all teams are excited. One thing I think we all know is there are a lot of unknowns, in terms of what can happen,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “We just hope that we can get through what we’ve got to get through and have the best team out on the court, every time we go out.”

There is just one game listed on Tennessee’s schedule, as of now. Tennessee hosts Kansas on Jan. 30, 2021 at Thompson-Boling Arena. 

The Vols will not play Wisconsin this year, as previously scheduled. Barnes also does not believe Tennessee will play any neutral site games during the regular season, either. The team was scheduled to play Memphis in Nashville this season. However, Barnes said the Vols intend to play Gonzaga.

“[Gonzaga head coach] Mark [Few] and I have talked about that. We plan on playing that game, some way, somehow,” Barnes said.

Tennessee’s full schedule will be released later. They will play no more than 27 games in the regular season, per the guidelines set by the NCAA Division I Council.