Tennessee men’s basketball shocked many last year under head coach Rick Barnes when they were co-regular season SEC champions. Now they’ll definitely be without the element of surprise in 2018-19 after being ranked #3 in the country in a preseason CBS poll.
CBS released their annual ‘Way Too Early Top 25’ with the Volunteers as the top ranked SEC team at #3 with Kentucky right behind in the #4 spot. Auburn (#10), Mississippi State (#15) and LSU (#20) make up the five ranked SEC teams.
The #1 spot belongs to Kansas after losing in the Final Four to the eventual champions, Villanova. Duke are second but may feel they should outrank Kansas seeing as the Blue Devils have the three top-ranked prospects from the class of 2018 arriving on campus.
While rising senior and 2017-18 All-SEC Second Teamer Admiral Schofield has entered the 2018 NBA Draft, Tennessee could field a largely unchanged team from last year if he decides to return to the Volunteers for his senior season. With the departure of graduate-transfer James Daniel III, Richmond graduate-transfer Khwan Fore should slide into a backcourt role. Reigning SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams will look to continue his high level of play that won him SEC accolades.
The complete CBS Way Too Early Top 25 looks like this:
- North Carolina
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- Virginia Tech
- Florida State
- Mississippi State
- West Virginia