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TCU Basketball Preview Series: Tennessee

We are counting down the days to the start of the 2015-2016 TCU Basketball season with daily previews of the Frogs' opponents. With 8 days until Opening Night, we'll take a short break from conference play for the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor's Note: For those of you that have been following along every day, sincere apologies for my three-day hiatus. I had to run out of town at the last moment.)

The Big 12 will take a quick break from conference play on January 30 for the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Frogs look to go 3-0 all-time in the event as they host the new-look Tennessee Volunteers.

Game 21: Tennessee Volunteers

Game Information

Date: Saturday, January 30
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX
TV: ESPN2

Know the Foe

SB Nation: Rocky Top Talk
Conference: Southeastern
Location: Knoxville, TN
Head Coach: Rick Barnes

2014-2015 Record: 16-16 (7-11)
Postseason: None
Key Losses: G Josh Richardson
Key Returners: F Armani Moore, G Kevin Punter, G Robert Hubbs III
New Additions: G Shembari Phillips, G Admiral Schofield, F Ray Kasongo

Summary

Former Texas head coach Rick Barnes begins his first season at the helm in Knoxville looking to replace the production from 2nd round NBA Draft pick Josh Richardson. While Richardson and his 16.0 points per game are gone, the Volunteers do return Armani Moore and Kevin Punter, the only other double-digit scorers from last year's team. Both players averaged 10.3 points per game, while Moore led the team in rebounds with 6.8 per game. Robert Hubbs III, a fairly well-rounded guard, also returns, looking to add to his 7.2 point per game season from a year ago.

In his brief time with Tennessee, Barnes has already built a solid recruiting class. A pair of three-star guards highlight the newcomers for the Volunteers. In his senior season, Shembari Phillips led Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia to a 5A State Championship. Following the record-setting season, Wheeler was nominated for the McDonald's All-American Game. Admiral Schofield is the Vols' other three-star freshman. Schofield was also nominated for the McDonald's All-American Game after averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game at Zion-Benton Township High School in Illinois. While Barnes has a decent amount of returning talent, these freshmen could make an impact for the Vols this season.

Prediction

TCU 72, Tennessee 66

The SEC is routinely one of the weakest power conferences in college basketball. With a full slate of Big 12 games under their belt, the Frogs will enter this contest with enough experience against top offenses to be able to figure out a vanilla Tennessee scoring attack. With a balanced offensive gameplan, the Frogs should be able to improve to 3-0 all-time in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Tennessee Preview Graphic

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Opponent Team Previews:
Game 1: Southeastern Louisiana
Game 2: Houston Baptist
Game 3: South Dakota State
Game 4: Rhode Island
Game 5: Maryland /Illinois State
Game 6: SMU
Game 7: Colgate
Game 8: Washington
Game 9: Prairie View A&M
Game 10: Abilene Christian
Game 11: Bradley
Game 12: Delaware State
Games 13 & 24: Oklahoma State
Games 14 & 25: West Virginia
Games 15 & 20: Texas
Games 16 & 29: Baylor
Games 17 & 23: Kansas
Games 18 & 28: Texas Tech
Games 19 & 27: Iowa State
Game 21: Tennessee
Games 22 & 31: Oklahoma (11/4)
Games 26 & 30: Kansas State (11/5)