Tennessee football is back in the top five for the first time since 2005. Tennessee basketball might soon find itself in a similar position with the season just over three weeks away.
Analytics based college basketball website KenPom released its preseason rankings Sunday and is expecting big things. Tennessee is the No. 4 team in the preseason rankings after winning 27 games and the SEC Tournament Championship a season ago.
Ken Pomery runs the KenPom website and is widely respected across the college basketball world. Despite losing in the round of 32, Tennessee finished the 2021-22 season as the nation’s No. 9 team on KenPom.
KenPom projects Tennessee to go 23-7 (14-4 SEC) in the regular season.
The Vols are the No. 4 team nationally and the No. 2 team in the SEC in the preseason rankings, coming in behind No. 1 Kentucky, No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Gonzaga.
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Rick Barnes’ eighth Tennessee team is one of five SEC teams in the top 25 including No. 13 Auburn, No. 14 Arkansas and No. 18 Alabama. The next highest ranked SEC teams include No. 35 Florida, No. 40 LSU and No. 41 Missouri.
There’s an abundance of reasons for optimism around this season’s Tennessee team. The Vols return veteran leaders Josiah-Jordan James, Santiago Vescovi and Olivier Nkamhoua as well as talented sophomore point guard Zakai Zeigler.
Tennessee added five-star freshman and Indiana State grad transfer Tyreke Key this offseason— two of the five newcomers on the Vols’ roster.
Both Key and Phillips impressed with 19 points in Tennessee’s 32-minute open scrimmage Saturday morning.
The Vols open their 2022-23 season on Monday, Nov. 7 against Tennessee Tech.