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Bracketology: An early look at where Tennessee stands for the 2024 NCAA Tournament

Expectations are high.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Missouri vs Tennessee Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee — once again — is going to be dealing with expectations in the 2023-24 season. Unexpectedly, Rick Barnes got both Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James back for another season. In addition to that, he got two big targets out of the transfer portal, adding Chris Ledlum and Dalton Knecht to create a loaded roster for the upcoming season.

The Volunteers are going to be able to go 10-11 deep this season, giving Barnes plenty of flexibility with his lineups. The experience coming back with Zeigler, Vescovi and James is going to make Tennessee a favorite to win the SEC, and perhaps more.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN has updated his bracketology, and it certainly reflects those expectations. The NCAA Tournament expert has Tennessee as a No. 2 seed, as things stand right now.

Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Purdue were the No. 1 seeds in his projections. Alabama was the next highest projected SEC team, landing a No. 3 seed. Texas A&M received a No. 4 seed.

Obviously we’ve got a lot of games to play, but this should give you some sort of idea of where Tennessee is viewed nationally entering next season — and that’s going to be the favorite to win the SEC.

2023 Tennessee Basketball Roster Changes

Out: PF Olivier Nkamhoua (Michigan), SG Tyreke Key (Grad), C Uros Plavsic (Pro), SF Julian Phillips (Pro)

Portal Additions: F Chris Ledlum (Harvard), SG Jordan Gainey (SC Upstate), SG Dalton Knecht (Northern Colorado)

Class of 2023: G Freddie Dilione, C JP Estrella, SG Cameron Carr, PF Cade Phillips

Key Returnees: SG Santiago Vescovi, SG/SF Josiah-Jordan James, PG Zakai Zeigler, C Jonas Aidoo, SG Jahmai Mashack, PF Tobe Awaka