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Tom Izzo: Tennessee is ‘final four’ good

Big praise from one of the best in the business.

Michigan State v Duke Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

All eyes are locked on to Tennessee trying to make the final four in college football, but another Tennessee team is about to embark on their chase for a title. Rick Barnes has his team ready to roll for the upcoming season, with the fun set to begin on Monday night with tune-up game against Tennessee Tech.

Tennessee returns senior leaders Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James, while getting Zakai Zeigler back at the point. Five-star NBA prospect Julian Phillips add some pop, while veteran sharpshooter Tyreke Key brings some big time depth.

Unlike most years, we already have a pretty good idea that this team will be stout. Tennessee ran Gonzaga out of the gym last Friday in a scrimmage, raising plenty of eyebrows in the college basketball world.

Before that, Tennessee faced Michigan State in a closed door scrimmage. Sparty head coach Tom Izzo came away very impressed. “Final four good,” Izzo said of the Volunteers.

Tennessee gets Colorado, Arizona and Maryland early in the season, while also travelling to the Bahamas to play in the always loaded Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Volunteers were ranked 11th in the initial AP Poll, but cracked the top five in the preseason KenPom metric. As usual, KenPom appears to be spot on.

Tennessee is experienced and deep. They should have a strong season, and should push for a regular-season SEC title. The question, as it unfortunately has continued to be, is whether or not Rick Barnes can get over that March hump. This is the most experienced and talented roster that he’s had in Knoxville since the Grant and Admiral days.

Expect another fun year from this program.