UT hoops slate released

In addition to a grinding, 16-game gauntlet of Southeastern Conference competition, non-conference clashes with Kansas, Memphis and Southern California highlight Tennessee's 2009-10 men's basketball schedule, which was released Thursday.

The Volunteers under fifth-year head coach Bruce Pearl host Kansas at Thompson-Boling Arena in a nationally televised CBS game Sunday, Jan. 10. On Saturday, Dec. 19, UT travels to the West Coast for a matchup against former Vols head coach Kevin O'Neill (1994-97) and the USC Trojans.

And in another highly anticipated national CBS?game, Tennessee tips off against Memphis at the FedEx Forum on New Year's Eve. The Vols have won seven of their last 10 games against the Tigers.

In addition to Kansas, other non-conference opponents slated to visit Rocky Top before the Vols begin SEC?play include Austin Peay, Charlotte, College of Charleston, ETSU, North Carolina A&T, UNC Asheville and Wyoming.

Tennessee is part of an eight-team Paradise Jam field that includes Boston College, DePaul, East Carolina, Northern Iowa, Purdue, St. Joseph's and South Dakota State. The Paradise Jam takes place Nov. 20-23 at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The 2010 SEC Tournament takes place March 11-14 at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn. But the Vols will get an early opportunity to play at that venue as part of the Sun Belt Classic doubleheader Dec. 11. Tennessee faces Middle Tennessee that night, while Vanderbilt plays Western Kentucky in the other half of the doubleheader. Ticket information for that event will be forthcoming.

Tennessee opens SEC play Thursday, Jan. 14 by hosting Auburn. The Vols also host SEC?Western Division foes Ole Miss and Arkansas, while games against Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State take place on the road.

Tennessee will be a part of an ESPN College GameDay matchup for the third straight season; this time it will be on the road when Kentucky hosts the Vols on Saturday, Feb. 13.

CBS is set to broadcast UT's home games against Florida and Kentucky on Jan. 31 and Feb. 27, respectively. And while the Vols' complete television schedule has yet to be finalized, Tennessee is set to appear on the ESPN?family of networks at least nine times.

Including the teams Tennessee could potentially face at the Paradise Jam, the Vols' regular-season schedule features nine schools that advanced to last season's NCAA?Tournament and five squads that turned in a final RPI?of 50 or better.

UT's exhibition schedule includes home games with North Alabama (Oct. 30) and Lincoln Memorial (Nov. 4).

Tennessee officially begins preseason practice Friday, Oct. 16.

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