Tennessee basketball moves up in CBS analyst’s top 25

Gary Parrish improved the Tennessee basketball Volunteers by one spot.

For over a month, Tennessee basketball has been stuck at No. 12 in CBS Sports analyst Gary Parrish’s Top 25 And 1. However, Parrish updated his rankings on Thursday, and the Vols finally moved up a spot.

The key change was the Houston Cougars. They had been at No. 5 for a while, but the news that Fabian White Jr. would miss the 2020-2021 season with a torn ACL dropped them. As a result, Rocky Top moved up to No. 11.

For Parrish, the possibility of Yves Pons entering the NBA Draft doesn’t change things too much for Tennessee basketball given how loaded the program is elsewhere. Here is a bit of what he is saying about the Vols.

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Parrish has a point about Pons, as the addition of E.J. Anosike could help offset his departure. After all, Anosike is 6’6″ 245 pounds, and while he doesn’t have Pons’ athleticism, he averaged a double-double last year with the Sacred Heart Pioneers.

Combining that with what he said about all the elite talent the Vols should have at the two and the three this year is why the program should be loaded no matter what. UT remains his highest-ranked SEC team, as the Kentucky Wildcats come in at No. 14.

It’s clear early on that everybody expects the SEC race to come down to Rick Barnes’ and John Calipari’s teams. Barnes has gotten the better of Calipari in the series over the last couple of years, winning five of eight and two games in Lexington. Next year, though, could be the most intriguing year ever in the rivalry.

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Of course, given how much talent Tennessee basketball has returning, it’s fair to say they deserve to be in the top 10. After all, other programs get that type of love when they have top five recruiting classes, and top five classes combined with all but one player returning should warrant such respect. In Parrish’s rankings, UT is almost there.