Tennessee has never played a game of basketball in Canada in men’s hoops before. They’ve also never played Washington in men’s basketball. Both of those things will change in the 2019-20 season.
Tennessee announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Vols and Huskies will face-off on November 16, 2019 in Toronto, Canada as part of the James Naismith Classic. The two programs have never played in men’s basketball before, and it will mark the first time ever that Tennessee has played a game north of the United States.
The two teams will meet at Scotiabank Arena, the home of the Toronto Raptors in the NBA and the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL. The Naismith Classic will also feature a game between Buffalo and Harvard and a match-up between Rutgers and St. Bonaventure.
“We’re appreciative of being included in the James Naismith Classic and are looking forward to competing against a really well coached Washington program that we have a lot of respect for,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said in a statement. “I know from experience that these events hosted by the Naismith Hall of Fame are great experiences for our players and fans. Having the opportunity to showcase Tennessee basketball in Canada is a big deal. Canadian basketball continues to showcase tremendous growth and outstanding coaching while producing world-class players.”
Not only will it be the first time Tennessee’s men’s basketball program has played in Canada, but the November 16th match-up will mark the first time any University of Tennessee athletic program has played a game in Canada.
The Vols have a connection to Canada in men’s basketball despite never playing there, though. Tennessee has welcomed in several Canadian players throughout the years, and their most recent Canadian player was Kyle Alexander. The Vols’ starting center the last two seasons joined UT from Ontario and played for the Vols from 2015-19.
The time and television broadcast information for Tennessee’s match-up with Washington will be announced at a later date.
Washington is coming off a 27-9 season under second-year head coach Mike Hopkins. The Huskies won the regular season Pac-12 title and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to North Carolina. Hopkins won Pac-12 Coach of the Year this season for the second-straight year.
The Vols haven’t faced a Pac-12 opponent in men’s basketball since taking on Oregon in the Maui Invitational in 2016. Tennessee is 18-11 all-time against teams currently in the Pac-12.