Tennessee basketball in top 10 of both polls, top five of NET rankings

Alabama didn’t knock the Tennessee basketball Volunteers too far down in the AP or Coaches Poll rankings.

A shocking loss to the Crimson Tide on Saturday was followed by more shocking news Monday: Tennessee basketball didn’t take too much of a hit from it in the rankings. What that means going forward is anybody’s guess.

With a 7-1 record, the Vols only dropped two spots in the AP Poll to No. 9, and they only dropped two spots in the Coaches Poll to No. 8. Obviously, losing at home to an unranked team wrecked a chance they had to reach the top five, but it clearly didn’t hurt them too much.

Then there are the NET rankings, which the NCAA debuted for the 2020-2021 season for the first time on Monday. Tennessee basketball was in the top five of that one, shockingly coming in at No. 3 behind just the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Baylor Bears.

How did UT get to No. 3? Well, it looks like they have a couple of quality wins now to offset that Alabama loss. The most obvious one is last week’s dominating win at the Missouri Tigers, which remains Mizzou’s only loss of the year. Cuonzo Martin’s team is No. 13 in both polls and No. 10 in the NET rankings.

Another surprise quality win, though, at least in the NET rankings, is against the Colorado Buffaloes. Colorado is currently 7-3 on the year but ranked No. 14 in NET. That’s having an impact on Rick Barnes’ team as well.

Going forward, though, UT should not be losing to teams like Alabama. However, a combination of Jaden Springer getting hurt, Yves Pons getting in foul trouble and a random great shooting night by the Tide made it easy to see how that could happen.

For what it’s worth, Tennessee basketball is all the way down at No. 60 in the RPI due to a No. 124 ranked strength of schedule. However, that will improve, and Mizzou is ranked No. 1 in the RPI, making for a huge quality win by Rocky Top.