The Tennessee Volunteers had a pretty rough go of things in the 2015-16 season. They missed the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year and for the fourth time in the last five years.
They are looking to start things over in 2016 season and they can do just that if they are to pull off a huge upset early on in the season. They announced on Wednesday that they will begin on a home-and-home series with the North Carolina Tar Heels in 2016.
First-year head coach Rick Barnes confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel that the series, which will be played over the next two seasons, will begin with a trip to the Dean Smith Center next fall. The Tar Heels will travel to Thompson-Boling Arena in 2017.
Barnes also confirmed that they have been speaking with Arizona and Virginia about future matchups as well. They already have West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga and Southern Conference champion Chattanooga on the docket for next season.
“I’ve always done this,” Barnes said of his scheduling philosophy. “You have to look at the top programs in the country over the last four decades. How do they schedule?
The Volunteers will also compete in the Maui Invitational next season, which includes No. 1 seeds North Carolina and Oregon, No. 7 seed Wisconsin, and No. 9 seed UConn. Oklahoma State, Georgetown, and Division II host Chaminade will also compete in the tournament.
This is certainly a list of premiere matchups the Volunteers could have next season. It could help their chances of getting into the Tournament if they are playing on the bubble.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports