Pearl's salty slate

Tennessee's 2005-06 basketball schedule is beginning to look a lot like Tennessee's 2005 football schedule. In other words, it's rugged.

The Basketball Vols may not face five teams ranked in the top six nationally – as Phil Fulmer's gridders did last fall – but Bruce Pearl's troops still face a pretty imposing task. Tennessee plays four games against teams ranked in the current Associated Press top 10, six games against teams ranked in the top 25 and 13 games against teams who got votes in the latest AP poll. Worse, nine of those 13 games will be played on the road.

The top 10 foes are Memphis, Texas and Florida. Memphis, 7-1 after beating Providence 97-89, is No. 5. Texas, 8-1 after losing 97-66 to top-ranked Duke, dropped from No. 2 to No. 6. Florida, now 9-0, has moved up to No. 7.

Tennessee visits Texas this Saturday and visits Memphis Jan. 18. The Vols host Florida Jan. 21 and visit the Gators Feb. 22.

The Vols also have a home-and-home scheduled with No. 23 Kentucky (6-3). UT visits Lexington Feb. 7 and hosts the Big Blue March 1.

In addition, Tennessee faces five teams who received votes in the latest AP poll. They are Alabama (11 votes), LSU (11 votes), Oklahoma State (7 votes), Vanderbilt (3 votes) and Georgia (1 vote).

Oklahoma State, coming off a heartbreaking 64-62 loss to No. 10 Gonzaga, plays the Vols Dec. 22 in Oklahoma City.

Tennessee visits LSU Jan. 14 and visits Alabama Feb. 18. The Vols play twice each against Vanderbilt (Feb. 1 in Knoxville, March 4 in Nashville) and Georgia (Jan. 11 in Knoxville, Feb. 11 in Athens).

Any way you slice it, it's one salty slate.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories