KNOXVILLE -- ESPN released the bracket for the 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off Thursday, and the Tennessee basketball team is set to face UNC Asheville at 12:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 15, the tournament’s first day of competition. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
The tournament takes place Nov. 15-18 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan. A limited number of team travel packages are available for purchase by visiting http://www.anthonytravel.com/espn/puerto-rico-tipoff/
The Volunteers and Bulldogs are familiar foes, having faced one another four times in the past five seasons. Tennessee leads the all-time series 8-0, dating to 1997.
The winner of Tennessee’s contest with UNC Asheville plays the winner of the Nov. 15 contest between Akron and Oklahoma State. That semifinal clash would take place Friday, Nov. 16, at 10:30 a.m. ET on ESPNU.
First-day matchups on the opposite side of the bracket are NC State vs. Penn State and Providence vs. UMass.
There are no games on Saturday, Nov. 17, as all eight teams will play their third and final tournament contest on Sunday, Nov. 18. The championship game tips off Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Depending on how the tournament plays out, some interesting storylines could emerge for Tennessee in San Juan. Should UT square off against Oklahoma State, former Vols center Philip Jurick – who redshirted in 2008-09 before transferring – could take the court against his former school. A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Jurick will be a 6-11, 270-pound senior with the Cowboys this season.
And if Tennessee ends up playing Providence, Tyler Harris, the younger brother of former UT Freshman All-American and current Milwaukee Bucks forward Tobias Harris, will occupy a seat on the opposite bench. Harris would not be in action, however, as he must sit out the 2012-13 season after transferring from NC State (ironically, also in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off field).
Additionally, if a Tennessee-Akron matchup materialized, it would be the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
The entire Puerto Rico Tip-Off will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com and through smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
Fans who purchase a tournament travel package through Anthony Travel, Inc., will receive accommodations that include five nights (Nov. 14-19) at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, which serves as the tournament's official headquarters. Extended-stay options and room upgrades also are offered, based upon availability.
Anthony Travel will have sports travel experts on site and will be accessible 24-hours a day during the duration of the tournament.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. Commonwealth with U.S. citizenship. Therefore, passports are not necessary for U.S. citizens. Foreign nationals should have valid passports and visas as required.
(E-mail Stan Crawley at email@example.com)