Ken Pomeroy, the founder of the highly esteemed KenPom analytical rankings, came out with his initial 2021-22 basketball rankings Sunday. Pomeroy ranked Tennessee as the nation’s 13th best and the SEC’s best team entering the season.
Pomeroy’s website KenPom.com provides statically driven college basketball rankings and updates daily during the college basketball season. His site includes efficiency rankings of every offense and defense in college basketball, adjusting for differences in tempo.
The metric is considered very reputable and the last five national champions were all ranked in KenPom’s preseason top five.
Pomeroy’s rankings are high on Rick Barnes’ seventh Tennessee team, ranking them as the best SEC team— two spots ahead of No. 15 Arkansas and four spots ahead of No. 17 Kentucky.
The metrics predict Tennessee having the nation’s sixth best defense and 25th best offense.
The Vols lost seven players this offseason with three going to the NBA and four transferring to lesser basketball programs. Tennessee replaced them with a seven-player recruiting class that ranks fourth nationally and Auburn transfer Justin Powell.
Other SEC teams in Pomeroy’s top 30 included Alabama (19), Florida (25) and Auburn (28). While Pomeroy views Tennessee as the favorite in the SEC, the rankings show a tight ranking with six teams ranked within 15 spots of each other.
Tennessee’s challenging non conference matchups include Villanova (9), either North Carolina (40) or Purdue (6), Texas Tech (12), Texas (14), Memphis (16), Colorado (35) and Arizona (47).
That challenge will test Barnes’ new look team before the conference schedule.
Tennessee is over two weeks into its preseason practice and the Vols held an open scrimmage Saturday before UT football’s matchup with Ole Miss.