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Tennessee Basketball Moves Into Top 10 In Dec. 5 AP Poll

Photo By Emma Corona/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee’s men’s basketball team jumped into the top 10 of this week’s AP Poll, landing at No. 7 after a 2-0 week saw the Vols dominate McNeese State and Alcorn State.

Not only did Tennessee jump into the top 10 in this week’s poll but the Vols jumped both Alabama and Arkansas to become the highest ranked SEC team in the early December AP Poll.

Behind No. 7 Tennessee is No. 8 Alabama, No. 9 Arkansas, No. 11 Auburn, No. 16 Kentucky and No. 23 Mississippi State.

Mississippi State was not expected to have a big season but first year head coach Chris Jans has the Bulldogs playing at a high level.

The Vols beat No. 6 Kansas last month in the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship and also have non conference games scheduled against No. 2 Texas, No. 10 Arizona and No. 13 Maryland.

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After its Battle 4 Atlantis title, Tennessee faced two lesser tasks at Thompson-Boling Arena last week. The Vols outscored McNeese State and Alcorn State 170-80 with both teams scoring exactly 40 points.

Tennessee’s defense has exceeded the program’s extremely high standards to this point. The Vols rank first nationally in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency and only USC has exceeded 50 points against them this season.

Tennessee’s defense has been elite despite injuries to two of its strong senior defenders. Josiah-Jordan James played against Alcorn State after a four-game absence but admitted postgame that it would be a “game-to-game thing.”

Santiago Vescovi missed Tennessee’s win over Alcorn State with a left shoulder strain. Rick Barnes said Vescovi is “day-to-day” following the lopsided victory.

After two easy wins, Tennessee hosts Eastern Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday night before traveling to Brooklyn to face No. 13 Maryland Sunday afternoon.

Tip-off between Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky is at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday while the Vols and Terrapins tip off at 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday at the Barclays Center.

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