Vols ranked No. 5 in both polls

Published 11:59 am Wednesday, January 10, 2024

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For the second consecutive week, the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team is ranked fifth in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, as announced Tuesday afternoon.

Tennessee (11-3, 1-0 SEC) last claimed back-to-back AP top-five rankings on Jan. 23 (fourth) and Jan. 30, 2023 (second). This is the third time Rick Barnes has led the Volunteers to consecutive top-five rankings—including an 11-week stretch in 2018-19—after they had three such instances in history prior to his 2015 arrival.

The Volunteers have now been featured in 48 consecutive AP Poll releases, 11 more than the prior program high. The team has earned a top-10 spot in 21 of those weeks, including top-five positions on five occasions.

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Tennessee, Arizona, Purdue and Kansas are the only schools to garner an AP top-five ranking each of the last three seasons. In total, Barnes has guided the Volunteers to 20 AP top-five rankings, three more than the program’s total before his tenure.

Last week, Tennessee won its non-conference finale and its SEC opener, both at Food City Center. First, it recorded an 87-50 victory Tuesday against Norfolk to begin the calendar year. Then, Saturday, Barnes’ team handed then-No. 22/19 Ole Miss its first loss of the season, 90-64.

The Volunteers received 1,291 points in the AP balloting this week, a 67-point increase and just 44 behind fourth-place Connecticut. In the Coaches Poll, they claimed 661 points, an improvement of 19 points and only 24 fewer than the Huskies.

Tennessee is yet again the highest-ranked team in the SEC. It is joined by sixth-ranked Kentucky and No. 16 Auburn in both polls, while Ole Miss places No. 23 in the Coaches Poll and is second in the “receiving votes” section of the AP Poll. Additionally, Alabama and South Carolina both garnered votes from each voting body.

The Volunteers are back in action Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Mississippi State, live on SEC Network from Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss.