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Vols Basketball: Some coaches believe Tennessee is the best team in the country this season

Full steam ahead.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Over 100 college basketball coaches were asked a simple question by CBS Sports. Who is going to be the best team in the country this season? The responses featured eight different teams — including Tennessee.

The Vols received nine percent of the vote, which was good for 5th place overall in the poll.

The Kansas Jayhawks led the way, receiving 38 percent of the votes. Coaches noted their size and experience as reasons why. Kansas ran away with this one, holding a 20 percent lead over the second place Kentucky Wildcats. John Calipari’s squad generated a lot of buzz during their trip to the Bahamas last week.

Duke checked in at third, despite signing the first, second and third ranked prospects in the 2018 class. R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish have formed a daunting trio that could go down as an all-time great.

Behind Duke comes the always dangerous and experienced Gonzaga, then Tennessee.

Interestingly enough, Tennessee and Gonzaga are already set to play in early December. The two teams will face each other as a part of the Jerry Colangelo Classic on December 9th.

Tennessee could potentially face Kansas early in the season as well. A first round win by each team in the preseason NIT during Thanksgiving week would mean a ‘Black Friday’ contest between the two top programs in Brooklyn. The Vols will have to get past Louisville, while Kansas would have to beat Marquette.

Rounding out the CBS poll behind Tennessee was Virginia, Nevada and Villanova.

Just think — a little under a year ago, Tennessee was picked to finish 13th in the SEC. Rick Barnes has grown this program the right way and we’re already starting to see the dividends. It’s hard to fathom how far they’ve come over the last year.