What does one bad night on the road at Rupp Arena cost you? Apparently a drop from one to five in the polls.
Tennessee dropped all the way to No. 5 in the latest AP and Coaches polls after being the top-ranked team in the country for the past four weeks. Seems pretty harsh, huh?
Kentucky, despite losing to LSU mid-week, jumped Tennessee to get up to No. 4. It’s tough to argue that aspect of it after watching what happened on the floor on Saturday. Tennessee was thoroughly dominated by the Wildcats, who totally shut down what was a red hot Volunteer offense.
Tennessee still sits at 23-2 overall and just took their first loss since November. Rankings don’t matter right now in the least bit, but this seemed like a bit of an overreaction from the voters. It seemed like voters had to get Kentucky ahead of Tennessee, which meant dropping the Vols below Gonzaga and Virginia in the process.
Duke reclaimed their No. 1 ranking at the top. Gonzaga — a team that Tennessee beat — is your new No. 2 team. The Bulldogs likely won’t be tested again until the NCAA Tournament. Virginia rose to 3rd, while Kentucky took 4th.
The good news here is that Tennessee might get that chip back on their shoulder. Don’t think for a second that Rick Barnes won’t use this for motivation.
Tennessee will get their chance to respond this weekend at LSU, then next week when Kentucky comes to Knoxville.