After defeating the No. 1 team in the country on Sunday, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team found themselves back inside the top five of the AP Poll on Monday. Only this time, they made it even higher than where they were previously.
Tennessee (7-1) took down No. 1 Gonzaga (9-1) on Sunday in a comeback effort, defeating the Bulldogs 76-73 behind Admiral Schofield’s career day. The Vols entered that contest as the No. 7 team in the country.
Now, the Vols are back inside the top five after their win over the Zags.
The basketball Vols checked in at No. 3 in the latest AP Poll, coming in behind only No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Duke. Tennessee also received a first place vote and trails Duke by just 33 points in the poll. Gonzaga fell to No. 4 in the poll and still received one first place vote themselves.
Today marks the first time since 2008 that the Vols have been ranked inside the top three of the AP Poll. Tennessee briefly made it into the No. 3 spot for the week of January 21st in 2008 before falling to No. 7 the following week. They then earned the No. 2 spot the week of February 18th and then defeated No. 1 Memphis just days before the next AP Poll was released. The Vols would take over the No. 1 spot in the next poll.
But then Tennessee would go on the road and lose to Vanderbilt for their next game, making their reign as the No. 1 team in the country last only a week.
Tennessee wouldn’t get back into the top three of the AP Poll that season — though they stayed in the top five for the remainder of the regular season. So that means this week will be only the fourth week in UT history that the men’s basketball team has been ranked inside the top three of the AP Poll. Tennessee has been in the top five of the AP Poll several times, but it’s rare for them to get inside the top three.
Fellow SEC schools Auburn, Mississippi State, and Kentucky are also in the top 25 of the AP Poll. Auburn came in at No. 8, Mississippi State checked in at No. 18, and Kentucky came in at No. 19.