A week after the Tennessee Volunteers were selected to finish 13th in the SEC, they’ve checked in 43rd in KenPom’s preseason rankings. KenPom is a well-respected college basketball advanced stats site that is well respected and utilized throughout the industry.
This is a decent jump from last season’s final rankings, which placed a very average Tennessee squad 57th on the year. They lost Shembari Phillips, Robert Hubbs III and Lew Evans, but added a good amount of talent — of both the veteran and youthful variety.
Key pieces like Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Jordan Bone, Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden are all back as well. Rick Barnes was able to add veterans Chris Darrington and James Daniel III to the backcourt, while solidifying the post with Derrick Walker. High-flying Yves Pons should make an instant impact, too.
Per KenPom, all those new additions and returnees are good enough for 6th place in the SEC. Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt are the only SEC schools to check in ahead of the Vols.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to watch a Tennessee team win again. Hopefully this group is our shot at that. November 2nd — a week from Thursday — is Tennessee’s first and only exhibition against Carson Newman.