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Tennessee opens season with tough test at Xavier

By news admin

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee has a chance to make an immediate statement that it plans to avoid a third straight slow start.

The Volunteers believe their struggles in the first half of the last two seasons kept them from earning NCAA tournament bids each year. Tennessee opens its season Tuesday at Xavier, which ended a streak of seven straight NCAA appearances last year.

Xavier began its season Friday with an 88-59 rout of Gardner-Webb. The Musketeers played without guard Dee Davis (concussion), while guard Myles Davis (knee) and forward Justin Martin (head) left the game early. Xavier coach Chris Mack wouldn't speculate on which of those guys might be able to play Tuesday.

Tennessee guard Antonio Barton should play Tuesday after missing two exhibition games with a leg injury. Barton likely won't start.