Vols to Face Villanova in Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament
(utsports.com) The matchups for the 2021 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament were announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Monday, and Tennessee is set to open against Villanova on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Resort.
The opposite side of the bracket features a showdown between North Carolina and Purdue. The winners of those games meet in the championship on Sunday, Nov. 21.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off will go on sale in September. Tip times and broadcast information have yet to be announced.
Optimism surrounds the new-look Tennessee roster. Head coach Rick Barnes welcomes the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class to complement a battle-tested crop of veteran returners, highlighted by super-senior forward John Fulkerson and guards Victor Bailey Jr., Josiah-Jordan James and Santiago Vescovi.
Under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach Jay Wright, Villanova projects to enter the 2021-22 season as a top-five team. Expectations for the Wildcats soared when seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels opted to return to the program. Wright’s squad returns significant depth—including four starters—while adding yet another outstanding collection of newcomers.
Tennessee and Villanova have met four times previously on the hardwood, with the Wildcats owning a 3-1 advantage. The Vols’ lone win in the series came in the championship game of the 2011 NIT Season Tip-Off. The most recent meeting saw fifth-ranked Villanova overcome a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat the Big Orange at the 2017 Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Volunteers own a 30-26 all-time record against current members of the Big East Conference.