SEC champion Vols climb three spots in AP Top 25 poll

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Two days after clinching a share of the SEC regular-season championship, Tennessee was rewarded with a #13 ranking in the latest AP men's basketball poll. The team is now the highest ranked in the SEC.

The #13 ranking is ironic too, as the Vols were picked to finish thirteenth in the SEC in a preseason media poll.

The Vols (23-7, 13-5 SEC), who started the week ranked #16 in the nation, down Mississippi State 76-54 in Starkville on Tuesday, before returning home to edge Georgia 66-61. With the victory over Georgia, the Vols tied Auburn for the best record in the SEC.

Auburn (25-6, 13-5 SEC) dropped two in a row to Florida and Arkansas, before finishing the year with a 79-70 victory over South Carolina on Saturday to salvage a share of the title. 

Tennessee heads to the SEC tournament in St. Louis, Mo. as the #2 seed in the conference, after a loss to Auburn earlier in January gave the Tigers the head-to-head tiebreaker. Tennessee will face the winner of LSU and Ole Miss on Friday at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

Auburn and Florida are the only other teams in the Top 25 at #16 and #23 respectively. 

The top 5 in this week's poll are: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Michigan State and Duke.

Meanwhile, the Lady Vols' SEC title hopes were dashed Friday night after a 73-62 loss to South Carolina in Nashville in the SEC tournament. The Lady Vols now await their NCAA tournament seed and this afternoon's latest women's AP poll. 

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