9. Tennessee (17-6)
Things are looking bright in Knoxville this season. Tennessee has been in great shape in recent years but perhaps everything is coming together this time around. The Volunteers have dropped some games against strong teams and lost a few tough games in SEC play but have looked the part of an elite team, owning double-digit wins against Wisconsin, Florida, Alabama, and Kentucky.
Another such dominant win occurred on Wednesday, as the Volunteers won 88-68 at home over LSU. Dalton Knecht continued his hot stretch with a 27-point, 7-rebound, 6-assist showing while Zakai Zeigler added 17 points. They hit a bit of a road block on Saturday, with a dreadful opening half in an 85-69 loss at Texas A&M. They suffered their largest loss of the season despite another 22 points from Knecht.
What exactly does Saturday’s performance mean for the Volunteers? They have a high ceiling this season, but they’ve been upended early during March Madness by inferior teams several times in recent years. The offense has been much better this season, but Rick Barnes wants complete games from his team. We’ll see if they can play better in the coming weeks with easier competition, including Arkansas and Vanderbilt next week.