We’re now just a couple of weeks away from the return of Tennessee basketball. The Volunteers have a couple of scrimmages set for the end of this month before opening the season on November 6th against Tennessee Tech.
As expected, the Volunteers will begin as a top ten team.
The preseason AP top 25 was released on Monday, and Tennessee checked in at No. 9. The veteran Volunteers have a chance to be Rick Barnes’ strongest team since he arrived in Knoxville. Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James are back, Zakai Zeigler is working back from a torn ACL and should be ready to go sooner than later. Jonas Aidoo, Tobe Awaka and Jahmai Mashack return, while reinforcements in Dalton Knecht, Jordan Gainey and Freddie Dilione give Barnes a wealth of depth.
It’s easy to see the upside of this team, given all the experience on the roster. Expectations are high, and Barnes will be looking to finally get over the hump come March.
Kansas brought home the top spot in the poll today, followed by Duke, Purdue, Michigan State and Marquette. Tennessee will scrimmage Michigan State on Sunday, October 29th. They’ll potentially face Purdue, Kansas, Marquette, Gonzaga and Creighton next month in Honolulu, playing in the relocated Maui Invitational.
Tennessee was the highest ranked SEC team in the poll. Arkansas (14), Texas A&M (15), Kentucky (16) and Alabama (24) also made appearances.