After a chaotic ending to the 2019-20 basketball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college basketball is primed and ready to begin its next season.
Just a few months removed from a 17-14 overall season, the Tennessee Volunteers will now be entering the 2020 season ranked No. 12 in the country, according to The Associated Press.
Tennessee is only one of two SEC teams to make the preseason Top 25, following No. 10 Kentucky.
Tennessee is also the highest ranking team in the AP Top 25 to have been excluded from the final Top 25 rankings at the end of last season as well.
The Vols have every reason to be one of the most promising teams in college basketball this year.
They have an experienced coach in Rick Barnes, highly-touted returning starters including John Fulkerson and Yves Pons, a wave of electricity with the addition of the No. 4 overall 2020 recruiting class, and a slew of supremely talented graduate transfers.
Tennessee’s 2019-20 season was both exciting and disappointing at times, but ultimately very few people may remember many of the on-court storylines of last year’s hoops season. What people will certainly remember though, are the conference championship tournaments and ultimately the NCAA Tournament being cancelled just days before it took off.
The unprecedented change to the tournament may have actually benefited Tennessee in the end. After stringing together multiple productive years, the Vols certainly had a down year last season. This Tennessee team, and really any citizen who has gone through this wild year, is so far removed from any troubles last season that this season should be a completely fresh slate.
Heck, even March feels like a lifetime ago as I write this.
The Top 10, in order, are: No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Villanova, No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Kansas, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 8 Illinois, No. 9 Duke, and No. 10 Kentucky.
The No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers will tip off their season on Nov. 25 against the Charlotte 49ers in Knoxville.