Tennessee jumped up four spots in this week’s AP Poll, reaching No. 20 after entering the poll at No. 24 last week.
The Vols won their only game this past week, getting past a tough Lipscomb team that just wouldn’t go away. Tennessee now awaits the North Carolina Tar Heels, who check in at No. 7 in today’s poll.
Villanova — a team the Vols led by double digits at halftime in the Bahamas — is your new No. 1 team. The Wildcats came roaring back against the Vols to win, but it was still an impressive moment for a growing Tennessee team.
Tennessee’s rapid early ascent currently has them projected as a No. 7 seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology projections. That’s quite the accomplishment, considering that the media picked this team to finish 13th in the SEC.
Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander and Lamonte Turner specifically seem to have taken big steps forward this year. James Daniel, Chris Darrington and Jordan Bowden can each fill it up at any moment. Tennessee has multiple guys that can get it done in big spots, which hasn’t been the case over the past two seasons.
This group has a chance to really get everyone’s attention as they welcome the defending national champions to town this coming Sunday. If they can find a way to win that one, we’re going to see levels of excitement around Tennessee basketball that we haven’t seen in the regular season since the Bruce Pearl era.