Tennessee's impressive defense makes delayed debut worth the wait

Tennessee's Santiago Vescovi (25) defends against Colorado's Keeshawn Barthelemy (11) during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Caitie McMekin/Knoxville New-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

It wasn't aesthetically pleasing, but it was college basketball, and that's something the Tennessee Volunteers haven't experienced in a while.

After enduring five cancellations due to COVID-19 related issues, the 12th-ranked Vols opened their promising season Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena with a 56-47 downing of Colorado in a matchup that was put together this past Saturday. Tennessee's deep roster repeatedly affected the Buffaloes, especially defensively, as the Pac-12 program coming off a 21-win season shot just 33.3% from the floor and committed 23 turnovers.

"It feels really different with the depth we have on the team right now," Vols sophomore guard Santiago Vescovi said. "You know you can go 100% on every possession on offense or defense knowing that the guy coming in for you is going to give his 100% and will play at a high level.