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The Top Stories of 2017 in Tennessee Athletics

10. Men’s Basketball Returns to the Top 25

Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

Tennessee’s basketball team hasn’t had much success since Bruce Pearl was fired as head coach. But things took a positive turn near the end of 2017 for the men’s basketball team.

The Vols got off to a hot start in basketball in the 2017-18 season, and they’re capping off what has been a crazy year for Tennessee athletics with a feel good story. Tennessee cracked the top 25 back in early December, and it was the first time since 2010 that Tennessee’s men’s basketball team had been ranked inside the top 25.

Tennessee has made the NCAA Tournament only once since Pearl was fired in 2011. That one instance was Cuonzo Martin’s final season, and the Vols were able to take an underachieving regular season and turn it into a Sweet Sixteen run. But since then, the Vols have had a below .500 record with Donnie Tyndall and Rick Barnes.

Until this season, however.

The Vols are projected to easily make it into the NCAA Tournament this season, and unless they completely tank in conference play, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team should have their best season in quite some time.

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