The preseason AP men’s college basketball poll came out Monday with the media ranking Tennessee as the No. 18 team in the country.
This marks the third time in the last four years and 16th time ever that Tennessee is ranked in the preseason poll.
Tennessee is one of six SEC teams ranked in the preseason top 25 and the Vols are the fourth highest ranked team. No. 1o Kentucky, No. 14 Alabama, No. 16 Arkansas and No. 23 Auburn round out the SEC teams in the nation’s top 25. LSU and Mississippi State also received votes from media members.
Tennessee plays Kentucky, Arkansas and LSU twice this season while playing Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State once.
The Vols have the chance to earn plenty of marquee top 25 wins in out of conference play as well. Tennessee’s daunting non conference schedule includes matchups with No. 4 Villanova either No. 7 Purdue or No. 19 North Carolina based on the results of the Villanova game, No. 5 Texas and No. 12 Memphis.
Tennessee non conference opponents Arizona, Texas Tech and Colorado also received votes in the inaugural poll.
Rick Barnes’ seventh Tennessee team has a new look to it with the Vols bringing in eight newcomers— seven of which are true freshman.
That blend of young players and veterans will be fascinating to watch this season. The fact that Tennessee plays up to seven NCAA Tournament teams in non conference play means this new look team will need to mesh together from the jump.
Tennessee is 20 days into its preseason practice and are right at the halfway point as the season tips off three weeks from Tuesday against UT-Martin at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols held a 40-minute scrimmage open to the media Saturday ahead of Tennessee football’s matchup with Ole Miss. You can read our full practice report here.