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Syracuse men’s basketball to play Tennessee Volunteers in first game of Maui Jim Maui Invitational

It’s a battle of the orange to kick off Syracuse’s Maui run.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - East Regional Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team will suit up versus the Tennessee Volunteers to kick off its three-game slate in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tournament, per Jon Rothstein.

The complete bracket for this year’s tournament was finalized on Monday, meaning the Orange now possess their entire non-conference schedule for the 2023-2024 season. The Orange last played in the tournament in 2013 and are currently 10-0 all-time at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. However, the matchup versus Tennessee will prove to be an early season test for new head coach Adrian Autry and Syracuse.

Syracuse will have just two exhibitions and three regular season games before traveling to Hawaii to face what looks to be an elite slate of programs, starting off with a Tennessee team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season.

Update: The game will tip at 2:30 Eastern on ESPN2

The Volts finished 25-11 overall and 11-7 in the SEC (tied for fourth-best in the conference). Tennessee also ended the 2022-2023 season with the fifth-best NET ranking in the NCAA behind Houston, Alabama, UConn and UCLA. The Volts ranked in the AP Top 25 every week last season, placing as high as second before ending the year at 20th.

Tennessee currently projects as a two seed in ESPN’s latest bracketology update and ranks sixth in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings.

While Syracuse will bring in a mostly-experienced team, so too will Tennessee. The Volts secured the 24th-best transfer portal class this offseason, just one spot ahead of the Orange. Judah Mintz and JJ Starling will have a must-watch matchup with Tennessee All-SEC guard Santiago Vescovi and his backcourt mate Zakai Zeigler, who missed the Vols NCAA Tournament run due to injury. The Vols will also bring in former Syracuse target JP Estrella.

In addition to Syracuse and Tennessee, other teams in this year’s tournament include Chaminade, Gonzaga, Kansas, Marquette, Purdue and UCLA. Outside of Chaminade, the other six teams in this year’s Maui Invitational ranked as the 12-best NET ranking programs in the country last season, including five of the top-10 overall. Again, there will likely be a bumpy road ahead for the Orange to kick off the non-conference slate of their schedule.

The other three confirmed matchups so far include Marquette versus UCLA, Kansas versus Chaminade and Purdue versus Gonzaga.

As TNIAAM’s James Szuba noted in his non-conference schedule preview, the Maui Invitational will be a big-time, early season test for new head coach Adrian Autry and the Syracuse roster. While they do have a very competitive non-conference slate, the Orange will hope to capitalize on the opportunities in Hawaii to secure at least one Quad 1 win - something Syracuse failed to achieve last season.

With the matchup versus Tennessee set in stone, here’s an updated look at the current Syracuse men’s basketball schedule to date:

Oct. 27: Deamon (exhibition), JMA Wireless Dome

Nov. 1: College of St. Rose (exhibition), JMA Wireless Dome

Nov. 6: New Hampshire, JMA Wireless Dome

Nov. 8: Canisius, JMA Wireless Dome

Nov. 14: Colgate, JMA Wireless Dome

Nov. 20: Tennessee, Maui Jim Maui Invitational, Lahaina Civic Center

Nov. 21: Maui Jim Maui Invitational, Lahaina Civic Center

Nov. 22: Maui Jim Maui Invitational, Lahaina Civic Center

Nov. 28: LSU (ACC/SEC Challenge), JMA Wireless Dome

Dec. 5: Cornell, JMA Wireless Dome

Dec. 9: Georgetown, Capital One Arena

Dec. 17: Oregon in Sioux Falls, S.D., Sanford Pentagon

Dec. 21: Niagara, JMA Wireless Dome