Tennessee basketball fell four spots to No. 10 in this week’s AP Poll after the Vols dropped a pair of games as sizable favorites.
The pair of losses were full of drama and heartbreak. Tennessee had a chance to ice both games at the free throw line in the final seconds before a buzzer beater three-pointer gave Vanderbilt and Missouri big wins.
Against the Commodores, it was a defensive breakdown that led to a wide open corner three attempt, but against Missouri DeAndre Gholston made nearly a half court shot with Jahmai Mashack playing good defense.
“The way we fought back, that group in the second half, again, I love it,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said after the Missouri loss. “It’s a different feeling than the one the other night. Again, we had a major defensive breakdown (at Vanderbilt) that we know we can’t have.”
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Tennessee is one of two teams in this week’s AP Poll coming in behind No. 1 Alabama.
Life gets even more difficult for Tennessee this week as there’s three weeks remaining in the regular season. The Vols host the top-ranked Crimson Tide to Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday night before traveling to Lexington to face rival Kentucky on Saturday.
Alabama is playing as well as any team in the country and is a perfect 11-0 in SEC play while Kentucky is squarely on the bubble and badly needs a win against Tennessee.
Tip-off between the Vols and Crimson Tide is at 7 p.m. ET from Thompson-Boling Arena. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.