CBS has a high historical rating for the Tennessee basketball Volunteers.
Despite no national championships, no Final Four appearances and only one Elite Eight appearance, Tennessee basketball still has a solid history. Apparently, it’s enough to put them ahead of other programs with such things on their resume.
According to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, UT came in at No. 39 in a formulaic ranking of the top 68 programs of all time. The formula included everything from championships to rankings to postseason play to even NBA Draft picks.
Despite the Florida Gators winning back to back national titles in 2005 and 2006, they were behind Tennessee basketball at No. 40. The Alabama Crimson Tide were No. 41. Here’s a bit of what was written about the Vols.
A 1,394-874 record since 1938-39, nine regular season SEC titles, 22 NCAA Tournament appearances, 281 weeks ranked and 30 top 60 NBA Draft picks all helped the Vols overcome their other issues. It’s also clear that recent history with Rick Barnes and Bruce Pearl helped out a lot.
In addition to Florida, teams with national championships who were behind Rocky Top included the Virginia Cavaliers, the San Francisco Dons, the Cal Golden Bears, the UTEP Miners, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Stanford Cardinal. Other teams with multiple Final Fours and championship game appearances, like the Houston Cougars, were also behind them.
Part I of these rankings were No. 68 to No. 51, and Part II was No. 50 to No. 26. The Vols, so far, are the second-highest ranked team to have never made the Final Four, three spots behind the BYU Cougars at No. 36. It’s unlikely anybody else above them will be a team that never made the Final Four in the coming rankings.
Of course, a deep NCAA Tournament run, including a potential national championship, with Barnes at the helm could shoot Tennessee basketball up the list. Given this formula, they have lots of other things already on the resume.