Tennessee basketball open play at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The three games in three days gives Tennessee an early season opportunity to add quality wins to its resume.
The premier early season tournament also gives Tennessee a chance to get the poor taste out of its mouth from its blowout loss against Colorado in Nashville.
After playing three games in the first 16 days of the regular season, the three day tournament provides Tennessee the opportunity to play an abundance of games and gain quality experience.
“I feel like it’ll allow us to catch some type of rhythm out there,” Tennessee associate head coach Justin Gainey said. “Back-to-back games, you’re able to make your adjustments and all that good stuff. I think it’s good in that sense and then I also think just for our guys being around each other for that length of time, and getting to send time with each other. I think that’s going to be huge for the team’s growth.”
Tennessee opens play for the week Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. If the Vols win their first game they 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday and if the Vols lose they play at 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Let’s take a look at Tennessee’s potential opponents in the Battle 4 Atlantis as they look to make an early season statement in The Bahamas.
Game One — Butler (WIN)
KenPom: No. 96 offense. No. 87 defense. No. 88 overall
What to know: Thad Matta is back at his alma mater for his second tenure as head coach after spending 13 year at Ohio State and six seasons out of coaching. It’s an uphill battle for Matta to build back the Butler program as the Bulldogs have struggled to adopt to life in the Big East.
Butler has missed the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons after making the Big Dance in 10 of the previous 12 seasons.
The Bulldogs are 3-1 on the season with dominant wins over small schools and a loss against Penn State.
Butler’s offensive output has been extremely balanced on the young season with five different players averaging over 12 points per game. Junior guard Chuck Harris leads the Bulldogs with 15.8 points per game.
KenPom projects Butler to fall to Tennessee by 12 points.
Tennessee vs Butler Postgame: Tennessee Runs Past Butler In The Bahamas
Game Two — Southern Cal or Brigham Young (Win/OT)
KenPom: No. 81 offense. No. 55 defense. No. 63 overall.
What to know: Andy Enfield has built a solid program in Los Angeles after leading Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16. Enfield’s former team spoiled the 2022-23 Trojans season opener.
Florida Gulf Coast upset USC, 74-61, before falling to Tennessee, 81-50, nine days later. Since the upset loss, Southern Cal has earned a trio of lopsided wins including over Vermont.
6-foot-9 wing Drew Peterson is the due it all playmaker for the Trojans. The senior is averaging 15.8 points per game on 47% shooting from the field (28% three-point range) on top of his 7.8 rebounds and eight assists per game. All three marks are team highs.
USC’s point guard Boogie Ellis is a familiar name for Vol fans due to his two seasons at Memphis. Ellis averaged 12.5 points in his first year at Southern Cal and is off to a strong start to his senior season, tying Peterson’s 15.8 points per game.
KenPom projects USC to fall to BYU by a point.
Tennessee/Southern Cal Postgame: Tennessee Outlasts USC In Overtime, Advances To Battle 4 Atlantis Championship
KenPom: No. 77 offense, No. 48 defense, No. 58 overall
What to know: Fourth year coach Mark Pope has led BYU to one NCAA Tournament appearance during his time in Provo and the Cougars are viewed as a bubble team entering the 2022-23 season
Nothing the Cougars have done early in the season contradicts that thought. BYU’s lone loss comes by seven points against a really good San Diego State team and while BYU has no eye opening wins they did narrowly beat a solid Missouri State team.
BYU lacks a true go-to scorer with sophomore forward Fousseyni Traore leading the Cougars with 12.5 points per game. Sophomore sharp shooter Spencer Johnson is close behind with 11.3 points on 40% shooting from beyond the three-point line.
KenPom projects BYU to beat USC by a point.
Game Three — NC State, Kansas, Dayton, Wisconsin
Best Win: Campbell
KenPom: No. 46 offense, No. 97 defense, No. 69 overall
First opponent: Kansas
Best Win: Duke
KenPom: No. 29 offense, No. 8 defense, No. 10 overall
First opponent: North Carolina State
Best Win: SMU
KenPom: No. 57 offense, No. 22 defense, No. 35 overall
First opponent: Wisconsin
Best Win: Stanford
KenPom: No. 80 offense, No. 20 defense, No. 44 overall
First opponent: Dayton