Vols move up in polls after beating NC State

Published 11:45 am Tuesday, December 19, 2023

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The University of Tennessee men’s basketball team moved up four spots in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and three in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, as announced Monday afternoon.

Tennessee (8-3) now places eighth in the AP Poll, marking its 45th straight week in the top 25 and its 18th time in the top 10 during that stretch. The Volunteers are also now seventh nationally in the Coaches Poll, their highest such mark of the season.

Additionally, in 37 years as a head coach, Rick Barnes has now led his teams to an AP national ranking on 315 occasions, including 99 times in nine seasons at Tennessee. In 141 releases, including 43 at Tennessee, his team has been in the AP top 10.

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The Volunteers are coming off their second straight 2-0 week. They posted a 76-54 home victory Tuesday against Georgia Southern, then followed that up Saturday with a 79-70 neutral-site decision over NC State in the Basketball Hall of Fame Series in San Antonio, Texas.

Two of Tennessee’s three setbacks this season are against Purdue and Kansas, the top two teams in the country at the time of the games—Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 in Honolulu—and now once again ranked as the top two teams in both polls.

Tennessee went from 835 points in the AP balloting last week to 983 this week, a 148-point increase. It also jumped 79 points in the Coaches Poll, going from 462 to 541.

The Volunteers are once again the top SEC team in both polls, with ninth-ranked Kentucky and No. 25 Ole Miss joining them in the rankings. Auburn is in the top two spots of the “receiving votes” section of both polls, while Alabama, South Carolina and Texas A&M also garnered points in each. Additionally, Mississippi State earned a point in the AP voting.

Tennessee concludes its 2023 slate Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against Tarleton State, live on SEC Network+ from Food City Center.