9. Tennessee Volunteers – 6-3
Things started fairly easy for the Vols this week, taking care of a George Mason that looked impressive to start the season. The final score of the win was 87-66, led by 17 pts from center Jonas Aidoo. Josiah-Jordan James had 15 pts, 6 rebs, and 6 asts, with forward Tobe Awaka chipping in with 11 pts off the bench.
The game on Saturday was a top-25 battle between them and Illinois at noon. Tennessee was in control at first but a barrage of threes from the Illinois kept them in the game. But a second-half run sparked by Dalton Knecht allowed them to push the lead to double figures and hold on for an 86-79 win.
Knecht led the team with 21 pts to continue his early All-American campaign. All five starters were in double figures, including 12 pts and 9 rebs from guard Santiago Vescovi. Zakai Zeigler, who recently moved into the starting lineup, had 11 pts and 4 asts in the win.
The run of difficult opponents for the Vols takes a brief break, as Tennessee hosts Georgia Southern later this week. After that will be a tougher task, taking on NC State in a neutral site battle.