Tennessee basketball fell four spots to No. 9 in this week’s AP Poll following its upset loss to Kentucky Saturday.
The Vols went 1-1 on the week, using a massive second half to defeat Vanderbilt on Tuesday before the Wildcats spoiled Chris Lofton’s jersey retirement ceremony and handed Tennessee its first home loss in over a year.
After a strong few weeks, Tennessee’s offense faltered in its loss against Kentucky. The Vols scored just 56 points while missing numerous layups and shooting a poor three-of-21 from three-point range in the rivalry matchup.
More From RTI: Everything Rick Barnes Said Following Kentucky Loss
Tennessee is now 14-3 (4-1 SEC) following its loss to Kentucky and are not in hunter mode in the SEC Championship race. The Vols are still in the thick of the race, tied for third in the conference behind Alabama (5-0) and Texas A&M (4-0).
Rick Barnes’ eighth Tennessee team heads on the road this week needing two wins to steady itself in the conference title race. The Vols face Mississippi State Tuesday night before traveling to Baton Rouge to face LSU Saturday.
Both Mississippi State and LSU are led by first year coaches and are poised to be bubble teams in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols have already faced Mississippi State this season, dominating the Bulldogs, 87-53, in Knoxville earlier this month.
Tennessee is one of four SEC teams in the Jan. 16 AP Poll, joining No. 4 Alabama, No. 16 Auburn and No. 25 Arkansas.