KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee opens the NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Dallas at American Airlines Center against Horizon League Tournament title team Wright State.
The first-round game will tipoff at 12:40pm ET and will be broadcast on TruTV.
The Vols (25-8) received the South Regional’s No. 3 seed, while the No. 14-seed Raiders (25-9) are returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years.
“Wight State is kind of a unique, throw-back team,” said Oakland coach Greg Kampe, whose Golden Grizzles lost to the Raiders twice this season. “They are an old-fashioned team in that they don’t have a lot of great athletes, but they are a really good team.”
Kampe said Tennessee should be careful not to overlook Wright State.
“They beat Georgia Tech at Georgia Tech — this will be a basketball game, I guarantee you that,” Kampe said. “They will play smart and hard, and their coach has been around and been to tournaments.
“The moment won’t be too big for them.”
The winner of the Tennessee-Wright State game plays the winner of No. 6 seed Miami and No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago.
Wright State lost 84-80 to Loyola-Chicago in both teams’ season opener on Nov. 10 in Chicago.
“They aren’t really deep, they go seven deep,” said Kampe, who swept a home-and-home with Tennessee in 2010 and 2011 and has taken Oakland to three NCAA Tournaments. “But they have some really nice parts that mesh together.”
5 things about Wright State
1. Wright State is located in Fairborn, Ohio, just outside of Dayton. It has an estimated enrollment of 17,885 students. It’s name honors the aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright.
2. Wright State beat Cleveland State 74-57 in the Horizon League Tournament championship game on Tuesday to secure an automatic bid.
3. Wright State and Tennessee share one common opponent, Georgia Tech. The Vols beat the Yellow Jackets 77-70 on Dec. 3 in Atlanta, and the Raiders beat Georgia Tech 85-81 in Atlanta on Dec. 22.
4. The Raiders are on a 4-game winning streak after finishing 14-4 in conference play this season. Wright State was 8-7 in road games and 3-0 on neutral courts.
5. This is Wright State’s third NCAA Tournament appearance, and the first since 2007. The other one was in 1993.