The Volunteers went from No. 22 to No. 13 in the Week 4 edition of the AP Poll. At the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, Tennessee beat Butler and USC to advance to the championship game where the defeated No. 3 Kansas 64-50 on Friday.
Kansas dropped from No. 3 to No. 9 in the latest poll following their loss to Tennessee.
The Vols played all three games without top scorer Josiah-Jordan James, who missed the tournament due to knee soreness. Senior guard Santiago Vescovi was named the tournament MVP after a 20-point performance in the title game.
“We played a team tonight that was older and more mature and obviously played stronger and tougher,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We didn’t handle the situation near as well as what I would hope a poised team would.”
Tennessee now returns to Knoxville for three consecutive home games against McNeese State, Alcorn State and Eastern Kentucky.
They’ll travel to New York on Dec. 11 to participate in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational where they’ll play at least one game against Maryland, which currently ranks No. 22 in the AP poll.
SEC play will begin on Dec. 28, marking the earliest start to conference play in more than 30 years.