Vols open with Butler in Battle 4 Atlantis field that includes Kansas

Tennessee Athletics photo / Jonas Aidoo looks to pass around Olivier Nkamhoua during a Tennessee practice for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

Some sights have been seen, and some games must be played.

A Tennessee basketball season that already has contained an exhibition waxing of Gonzaga and a stunning loss to Colorado will resume Wednesday night when the No. 22 Volunteers take on Butler in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. The Vols will be playing for the first time since improving to 2-1 with last Wednesday's 81-50 drubbing of Florida Gulf Coast in Thompson-Boling Arena.

"It seems like we've had a game, a week off and then had a game," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said Tuesday on a Zoom call. "The fact that you get three games -- I do think we're going to find out a lot here, with the fact that it's going to be back-to-back-to-back."

The Tennessee-Butler game will tip at 7:30 and will be televised by ESPN2.

This is the third Battle 4 Atlantis trip for the Vols, who finished fifth during the 2013-14 season under Cuonzo Martin and third during the 2017-18 season under Barnes. Both of those Tennessee teams wound up advancing to the NCAA tournament, with Martin's Vols reaching the Sweet 16.

The winner of the Tennessee-Butler contest will play the winner of Wednesday's Brigham Young-Southern California game on Thursday, with the other half of the field containing reigning national champion Kansas, N.C. State, Dayton and Wisconsin.

"We appreciate the opportunity to be here," Barnes said. "We realize it's a great field here as always. I think it's a tournament that players really look forward to being part of."

Butler is 3-1 this season with home wins over New Orleans, Saint Francis and The Citadel and a 68-62 loss at Penn State. The Bulldogs are in their first season under former Ohio State coach Thad Matta, who has former Buckeyes big man and 2007 top NBA draft pick Greg Oden as his director of basketball operations.

The Vols lead the nation with assists on 75.8% of their made baskets, and they rank fourth nationally in KenPom's defensive efficiency. Senior guard Josiah-Jordan James, who shared team-high honors with senior forward Olivier Nkamhoua with 18 points against FGCU, leads the Southeastern Conference in 3-point accuracy at 52.6%, having made 10-of-19 attempts.

Tennessee senior forward and former Hamilton Heights standout Uros Plavsic, who suffered an ankle injury early in the loss to Colorado on Nov. 13, is expected to be available.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com.