On Wednesday, the SEC announced their slate of conference match-ups for the 2019-20 men’s basketball season, and the Vols don’t have an easy set of games in SEC play for next season.
Along with Tennessee’s three permanent conference opponents — Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina — the Vols will play home-and-home series against Auburn and Arkansas next season. Tennessee went a combined 7-3 against those opponents last season, losing twice to Auburn and going 2-1 against Kentucky. The Vols were undefeated against Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Arkansas. Tennessee will play the other eight SEC teams just once.
Tennessee’s road contests in the SEC this upcoming season will be against Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State, and Missouri along with road games against Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Auburn, and Arkansas. The Vols will host Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M along with the five opponents they play twice.
Seven of Tennessee’s 18 SEC games this season will be against opponents that finished in the top five of the SEC standings last year. Four of those games will be at home and three will be on the road.
Of those 18 SEC contests, eight will be played against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2019. Tennessee was 8-4 against SEC opponents that made the NCAA Tournament last year, going 2-0 against Florida, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss, 2-1 vs. Kentucky, and losing both contests against Auburn and losing their only game against LSU.
The SEC as a whole expects to be even deeper and more competitive in the 2019-20 season than it was last season. Including Tennessee, nine of the 14 SEC teams are bringing in signing classes ranked inside the top-40 of the 247Sports team rankings. Three SEC programs — Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia — are ranked inside the top 10 with Alabama (18th), Auburn (19th), and Tennessee (22nd) ranking inside the top 25.
As a whole, the SEC is bringing in seven players rated as five-stars on 247Sports and 24 players rated as four-stars. That also doesn’t include transfers such as former four-star prospect DJ Harvey going to Vanderbilt and former four-star center Uros Plavsic transferring to Tennessee.
Tip-off times and dates for the SEC games will be announced at a later date.
The Vols announced earlier this week that they’ll be playing a game against Washington in Canada as part of the James Naismith Classic on November 16th. Tennessee also has non-conference match-ups against Memphis, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, and will face any combination of either Purdue, Florida State, and VCU in the Emerald Coast Classic at the end of November. Tennessee will also be on the road for the Big 12/SEC challenge this upcoming season.
Tennessee will look radically different on the court this next season compared to what they’ve looked like the last two years, and the new-look Vols won’t have an easy schedule greeting them. Conference play will likely begin in either late December 2019 or the beginning of January 2020.