UT, Ohio State to meet

Associate head coach Tony Jones is working much harder to put together Tennessee's 2006-07 basketball schedule than he worked to assemble the 2005-06 schedule last spring.

"A lot of people don't want to play us now," Jones said, flashing a pained grin.

That's because the Vols won 22 games and the SEC East title last year. Now that UT is viewed as a program on the rise, many teams want no part of the Big Orange.

An exception is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who have tentatively agreed to a home-and-home series with the Vols. The Vols will visit Columbus during the 2006-07 season. The Buckeyes will return the favor by visiting Knoxville during the 2007-08 season.

Tennessee last played OSU in 1979, when Ohio State alumnus Don DeVoe was the Vols' head man. The second-ranked Buckeyes gave DeVoe and his troops a 91-65 spanking in Columbus that evening.

Ohio State is ranked in the top 10 in several preliminary projections for 2006-07, thanks in part to the impending arrival of superstar freshman Greg Oden, a 7-foot post player regarded as America's No. 1 recruit in the 2006 signing class. He likely would've been a lottery pick in the 2006 NBA Draft if not for an age restriction recently implemented by the league.

Vol signee Wayne Chism went head to head with Oden in the "Real Deal on the Hill" AAU tournament at Fayetteville, Ark., in April of 2005. The 6-foot-8 Chism performed so well in that individual match-up that he enhanced his own reputation as a quality prospect.

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