Vols Claim Season-Best No. 4 Ranking
Courtesy / UT Athletics

Vols Claim Season-Best No. 4 Ranking

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee men’s basketball team received its highest national ranking of the season by placing fourth in each major national poll, as announced Monday afternoon.

Tennessee (21-6, 11-3) moved up one position in both the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. The team’s No. 4 ranking is its best since taking the No. 2 spot on Jan. 30, 2023.

The 2023-24 season marks the sixth in program history in which Tennessee has ascended to fourth or better in the AP Poll, joining 2022-23 (second), 2018-19 (first), 2007-08 (first), 2000-01 (fourth) and 1967-68 (fourth). Half of those six campaigns are in the last six years, under the direction of head coach Rick Barnes.

This is the 55th straight week Tennessee is in the AP top 25, good for the third-longest streak in the country behind only Houston (81) and Kansas (60), while the only other team at 40-plus is Arizona (53). That number is 18 weeks longer than the previous program high of 37. In addition, Tennessee has garnered a top-10 spot in over half of those weeks, 28 of 55.

This is the 11th week in a row the Volunteers are in the AP top 10, matching a stretch in 2022-23 for the fourth-longest mark in program history. Of those five instances, three are in the last six years under the guidance of Barnes, who has steered the program to 53 AP top-10 positions during the last seven seasons of his nine-year tenure, 36.1 percent of its all-time total.

This is also the sixth time Tennessee has earned an AP top-five ranking in 2023-24, one shy of its second-most in program history, as it did so 14 times in 2018-19 and on seven occasions in 2007-08. In total, 24 of the Volunteers’ 41 all-time AP top-five rankings have come in the past six seasons with Barnes at the helm.

Furthermore, this is the 70th time in Barnes’ illustrious 37-year head coaching tenure he has led his team to an AP top-five ranking, all in the last 28 seasons (1996-2024).

Tennessee notched a pair of victories last week to up its winning streak to four in a row. First, it rallied from a seven-point second-half deficit to knock off Missouri, 72-67, on its home floor Tuesday in Columbia, Mo., behind an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double from sophomore forward Tobe Awaka. It then beat Texas A&M, 86-51, Saturday night at Food City Center to give Barnes’ his 800th victory, making him the 15th Division I coach to reach that number in NCAA history.

Tennessee picked up 1,338 points in AP Poll voting, a 108-point jump from last week’s mark. It accumulated 698 points in the Coaches Poll, an increase of 57 from last week, and sits closer to third-place Purdue than fifth-place Marquette.

The Volunteers are once again the top-ranked team in the SEC, which has five teams in the top 25 of both polls. They are joined by No. 11 Auburn, No. 14/13 Alabama, No. 16/15 Kentucky, No. 18 South Carolina and No. 24 Florida. Additionally, Mississippi Stare received votes in the AP Poll.

Tennessee continues play with its first of four straight games against a top-20 foe Wednesday at 7 p.m. when it hosts No. 11 Auburn at Food City Center, live on ESPN2.

To keep up with the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team on social media, follow @Vol_Hoops on Instagram and X/Twitter, as well as /tennesseebasketball on Facebook.

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