Tennessee basketball vs. North Carolina: Scouting report, prediction for Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Tennessee basketball is facing North Carolina after both teams lost for the first time this season Saturday.

The No. 17 Vols (2-1) face the No. 20 Tar Heels (3-1) on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.

UT lost 71-53 to No. 4 Villanova in the opener Saturday. The Tar Heels lost 93-84 to No. 7 Purdue.

FIRST LOSS: What went wrong for freshman Kennedy Chandler in Tennessee basketball's loss to Villanova

Here is what to know about the matchup:

Santiago Vescovi keeps it going

Santiago Vescovi was the lone offensive weapon for Tennessee against Villanova. He has two 20-point games in UT's three games this season.

The junior guard matched his career-high 23 points against Villanova. He is averaging 16.7 points per game and leads the Vols with 11 3-pointers.

North Carolina is scorching nets

North Carolina dropped 84 points in its loss to Purdue, which dropped its average this season. The Tar Heels have scored 94 points twice in four games and have not scored fewer than 83 points.

Sophomore guard Caleb Love leads the Tar Heels with 18.8 points per game.

Can Tennessee get more inside?

Tennessee got six points from its post players against Villanova. John Fulkerson had four and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield had two.

The Tar Heels gave up 37 points to Purdue's bigs, including 20 to Trevion Williams.

The Vols need more inside, especially from Fulkerson and on a consistent basis from Olivier Nkamhoua. Nkamhoua had 23 against ETSU on Nov. 14.

New coach on the bench

Roy Williams was sitting courtside Saturday for UNC's loss to Purdue. But he wasn't on the Tar Heels' bench.

Williams retired on April 1, 2021, after 33 seasons and 903 wins as a college basketball head coach. Hubert Davis, who played at North Carolina, is in his first season as the head coach. He spent a decade as an assistant on Williams' staff.

One-sided series

Tennessee has faced North Carolina 11 times in program history entering Sunday. The Vols are 1-10 against the Tar Heels with an 84-56 win in January 1949 being the lone victory.

UT and UNC played a home-and-home in 2016 and 2017. The Vols narrowly lost both games.


North Carolina 76, Tennessee 63: Tennessee looked lost in a big game Saturday. North Carolina did not despite losing. The Vols will play better than they did against Villanova, but UNC gets the best of UT again.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee basketball vs. North Carolina: Scouting report, prediction