Tennessee Basketball A Top 20 Program In Last Quarter Century

    by -

    Rich tradition doesn’t come up when you’re discussing Tennessee basketball. Especially when compared to Tennessee football’s six national titles and Lady Vols basketball’s eight national titles, Tennessee’s men’s hoops pedigree lags behind.

    However, Tennessee basketball has had serious success over the last quarter century. Ken Pomery of KenPom.com compiles a division one program ratings every season, ranking the 357 division one programs.

    KenPom released his 2022 list Monday and Tennessee jumped three spots from last offseason, going from No. 22 to No. 19.

    Tennessee ranks as the third best program in the SEC during the KenPom era behind Kentucky (No. 2 nationally) and Florida (No. 11). The Vols come in ahead of Alabama (No. 29), Arkansas (No. 32), LSU. (No. 35) and the rest of the conference.

    More From RTI: Admiral Schofield Re-Signs With Orlando Magic

    Ken Pomery founded his site in 1997, meaning the rankings go back 26 seasons instead of a clean quarter century. However, Tennessee’s 1997 season was its worst KenPom ranking in the history of the site— landing at No. 15o nationally.

    Ironically, Tennessee’s best final ranking came a season ago when the Vols finished ninth nationally.

    In the 26 year stretch, Tennessee’s made 15 NCAA Tournaments and six Sweet 16s. The Vols major program flaw is its lack of a Final Four appearance.

    Tennessee’s had success under four of its seven head coaches during the last 26 years making NCAA Tournaments under Jerry Green (four), Bruce Pearl (six), Cuonzo Martin (one) and Rick Barnes (four).

    Only Kevin O’Neil, Buzz Peterson and Donnie Tyndall failed to make the “Big Dance” in Knoxville.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.