4. Tennessee (15-4)
There’s certainly a lot to like about this Tennessee team. The Volunteers have been an elite defensive program in recent seasons but really picked up the slack on the offensive side this season. It’s certainly possible that Rick Barnes has his most complete team since arriving in Knoxville, though they’ll be judged for their postseason success. For now, they’re passing nearly all of the tests against a tough SEC.
Fresh off a pair of impressive home wins last week, Tennessee was back on the road but the result was all the same. The Volunteers were at Vanderbilt on Saturday and left their in-state rivals after a 75-62 victory. While not exactly their most efficient defensive performance of the season, Tennessee got another electric performance from Dalton Knecht, who had 32 points and 6 rebounds.
You could easily argue that Tennessee is the SEC’s best program this season, sitting at 5-1 in league play at this point. We’re not basing this solely off their play in recent weeks but the whole package of their season. Considering the talent on their roster, Tennessee is a team to watch at the national level and Knecht is someone to keep an eye on too. The biggest test comes next weekend as the Volunteers head to Kentucky, hoping to maintain that lead atop the SEC standings.