Last week, the SEC media members got together and voted on their predicted orders of finish in the conference for the upcoming basketball season. When all was said and done, the media picked the Vols to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the SEC for the 2017-18 season.
But one well-respected statistician is much, much higher on the Vols for this upcoming season.
Ken Pomeroy, a noted college basketball statistician, has the Vols as the 43rd ranked team in the country heading into this season. That’s significantly higher than the No. 57 spot they finished last season, and that ranking is good enough for sixth-highest in the SEC.
The only SEC teams that Pomeroy has higher than Tennessee in his preseason rankings are Kentucky (2nd), Florida (8th), Texas A&M (15th), Alabama (23rd), and Vanderbilt (38th).
Pomeroy has Tennessee’s offensive efficiency as the 52nd-best in the country, and he has their defensive efficiency ranked 37th in all of college basketball.
Tennessee hasn’t finished inside the top 50 of Pomeroy’s rankings since the 2013-14 season when the Vols made it to the Sweet Sixteen and finished No. 10 in Pomeroy’s ranking system. The Vols also haven’t finished better than 10th in the SEC since that season as well.
Last season, all but two of the teams that finished 43rd or better in Pomeroy’s rankings made it to the NCAA Tournament. That should give Vol fans confidence about Tennessee’s chances of making the tournament this year. The only two teams who didn’t make it were Texas Tech (41st) and TCU (29th).
The Vols begin their 2017-18 season on November 10th when they host Presbyterian in Thompson Boling Arena.