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Preview: Team USA to give Tennessee Lady Vols a preseason test in exhibition match

It may be an exhibition match, but both sides have things to accomplish in this matchup.

2020 Tokyo Olympics: Nigeria v USA
Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi will be back on the court together for Team USA in the exhibition game against Tennessee.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Team USA has set a couple of exhibition matchups as a tune-up to the next summer’s Olympic Games in Paris. While they’ll play Duke on Nov. 12, the first exhibition is against Tennessee on Nov. 5.

Both teams have things to accomplish with this matchup, with Team USA essentially trying out players to see who should be seriously considered for the Olympics and the Lady Volunteers using the game as a measuring stick.

Team USA is at the peak and wants to stay there; it is important to find out who can help them stay on the mountaintop. Fortunately, the team is stacked. They have a bevy of options, like veteran superstars Diana Taurasi and Britney Griner, or up-and-coming players such as Kahleah Copper and Sabrina Ionescu. National team head coach Cheryl Reeve and acting court coach Tanisha Wright won’t have a problem doling out a rotation of top-level talent.

Tenneesse has some work to do to contend with college basketball’s top teams, like LSU, South Carolina and Iowa. It also will be an uphill battle to compete with a dream team of WNBA players. But the 11th-ranked team in the country will give it a go, hoping for big games from Rickea Jackson and Tamari Key. And who knows? Maybe they can pull off an upset if Team USA, which has been tripped up by college teams in the past, comes out with a lackadaisical attitude.

Regardless of the outcome, this should be an entertaining game. Tennessee is gearing up for their college basketball season and Team USA players are vying for a spot on the best basketball team in the world. As long as both teams leave this game healthy, there will be lessons learned. For Team USA, that’s a clearer understanding of who should be considered for the Olympics. For the Lady Vols, it’s how close they are to contending for a national title.

Game information

Team USA vs. Tennessee Lady Volunteers

When: Sunday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Thompson Boiling Arena in Knoxville, TN

How to watch: SEC Network