Virginia will get a major test on Thanksgiving Day when the Cavaliers take on Tennessee in the opener of the Bahamas-based Junkanoo Jam tournament.
The Cavaliers and Lady Vols will square off in the first semifinal of the event's four-team Lucaya Division on Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. SMU will face Kansas State in the second semifinal. The two first-round losers will play for third place on Nov. 29 at 4:15 p.m. The championship game will follow at 7 p.m.
Tennessee advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight last season and is expected to be even more potent this season with the arrival of Mercedes Russell, the nation's No. 1 recruit. Russell will join a cast that includes National Freshman of the Year Bashaara Graves and backcourt stars Meighan Simmons and Ariel Massengale.
Virginia is just 3-13 lifetime against the Lady Vols, but the Cavaliers did snatch a 69-64 overtime decision in the teams' last meeting on Nov. 20, 2011 (Joanne Boyle's fourth game as Virginia's coach). Two current Cavaliers were pivotal in the victory - Ataira Franklin finished with 12 points and Lexie Gerson added 10.
This year will mark Virginia's third appearance in the Junkanoo Jam. The Cavaliers placed first in 2010 and came in third in 2007.