Tennessee will get a double dose of a familiar coach as part of its SEC men’s basketball schedule for the 2019-20 season.
The conference slate, complete with game times and television coverage, was released this week and Auburn, led by former UT coach Bruce Pearl, is one of two teams the Vols will play both home and away per the league’s rotation.
The Vols play Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt twice each season. They play two other teams twice on a rotating basis.
Along with Auburn, UT picked up an extra game against Arkansas, which will be in its first season under coach Eric Musselman.
Counting the conference tournament, UT played the Tigers twice last season as well, losing 84-80 to close the regular season at Auburn, Ala., before being thumped eight days later in the SEC tournament championship game in Nashville, 84-64.
Tennessee will play at Auburn on Feb. 22 and then close out the regular season at home against the Tigers on March 7.
The two games against Kentucky will be Feb. 8 in Knoxville and March 9 in Lexington, Ky.
Tennessee’s SEC opener will be against defending regular season champion LSU at noon on Jan. 4 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Earlier tipoffs at home will be the norm for UT in league play. Six games will be played in the afternoon. Only one SEC home game – a 9 p.m. tip against Ole Miss on Jan. 21 – will start after 7 p.m.
The non-conference schedule, which was released last month, features a game in Toronto, Ontario, on Nov. 16, against Washington in the James Naismith Classic.
“Having the opportunity to showcase Tennessee basketball in Canada is a big deal,” UT coach Rick Barnes said in May, when the game was announced. “Canadian basketball continues to showcase tremendous growth and outstanding coaching while producing world-class players.”
Former Vols center Kyle Alexander, who has graduated to the NBA’s Miami Heat, came to UT from Milton, Ontario.
Another highlight of Tennessee’s non-conference schedule will be the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla., where UT opens against Florida State on Nov. 29.
Before conference play, the Vols will host instate-rival Memphis (Dec. 14) and Big Ten-opponent Wisconsin (Dec. 28).
During conference play, Tennessee will play at Kansas on Jan. 25 as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Game times and television coverage for the majority of Tennessee’s non-conference games are yet to be determined.
October: 30: Eastern New Mexico (exh.) 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
November: 5: UNC Asheville; 12: Murray St.; 16: vs. Washington, 5 p.m. (Toronto, Ontario); 20: Alabama St.; 25: Chattanooga.
29: vs. Florida State 7 p.m. (Niceville, Fla., CBS Sports Network); 30: vs. Purdue or VCU (Niceville, Fla., CBS Sports Network)
December: 4: Florida A&M; 14: Memphis; 18: at Cincinnati; 21: Jacksonville St.; 28: Wisconsin
January: 4: LSU, noon (ESPN2/ESPNU); 7: at Missouri, 7 p.m. (SEC Network); 11: South Carolina, 1 p.m. (SEC Network); 15: at Georgia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPNU); 18: at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m. (SEC Network); 21: Ole Miss, 9 p.m. (SEC Network); 25 at Kansas (ESPN/ESPN2); 28: Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network).
February: 1: at Mississippi St., 2 p.m. (ESPN/ ESPN2/ESPNU); 4: at Alabama, 7 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU); 8: Kentucky, 1 p.m. (CBS); 11: Arkansas, 7 p.m., (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU); 15: at South Carolina, 6 p.m. (SEC Network); 18: Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network); 22: at Auburn, noon (CBS); 26: at Arkansas, 8:30 p.m. (SEC Network); 29: Florida, 2 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU).
March: 3: at Kentucky, 9 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU); 7: Auburn, noon (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU); 11-15: SEC tournament, Nashville.
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Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri, who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org