Vols finish the program with a best finish of fifth in national polls


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee men's basketball is ranked fifth in both major polls entering the 2023-24 season.

Tennessee (27-9, 14-4 SEC) is ranked fifth in both the Associated Press Top 25 poll and the USA TODAY Coaches poll, announced Tuesday afternoon.

The Volunteers moved up one spot on each list as they entered the NCAA Tournament as the sixth seed in the country. Tennessee defeated Saint Peter's, Texas and then-No. 11 Creighton reached the Elite Eight for the second time before falling to eventual NCAA runner-up Purdue.

Tennessee's fifth-place finish in the AP Poll represents a program record set in both 2021-22 and 2007-08. This is the first time the Associated Press has released a year-end poll after the NCAA Tournament, as the last poll from 1948-49 through 2022-23 was done before.

Additionally, the Volunteers' fifth-place finish in the coaches' poll – the organization has traditionally published a post-NCAA tournament list – represents a program best. Their previous best finish was seventh in 2007-08.

This is the Volunteers' ninth AP top-five finish of the year, good for the second-most finishes in a campaign in program history, trailing only the 14 they achieved in 2018-19. Barnes has led Tennessee to 27 AP top-five finishes in the last six years, up from 17 all-time before his arrival in the 2015-16 season.

Tennessee is ranked in the AP Top 25 for the 59th consecutive year, making it the third-longest streak in the country behind Houston (85) and Kansas (64). The only other team with a record over 40 is Arizona (57).

The Volunteers' 59-week mark is 22 longer than the program's previous best of 37 from March 1999 to February 2001. Tennessee has now been ranked in every poll for three straight seasons, earning a top-10 ranking in 32 of those 59 publications .

This is the 15th consecutive week that Tennessee has been ranked in the AP Top 10, and for a time during the 2000-2001 season, it held sole possession of the second-longest ledger title in school history. The only longer stretch was a 20-week run in the 2018-19 season, also as head coach Rick Barnes'Term.

Of the Volunteers' five all-time double-digit winning streaks, three come under Barnes, who led the program in 57 of his 151 total AP top-10 rankings, 37.7 percent of his all-time total. This year, Tennessee earned a top-10 finish in 18 of the 20 releases, including eighth or better in each of the last 15 releases.

Tennessee, which won the SEC regular-season title outright, amassed 1,203 points in the AP poll, an increase of 45 points from last week and just 14 fewer than third-place teams Alabama and Houston and 108 points ahead of sixth-place Location Illinois. In the Coaches Poll, the Volunteers amassed 638 points, just 13 behind third-place Houston and four behind fourth-place Alabama and 60 ahead of sixth-place North Carolina.

Five SEC teams finished the year in the top 25 of both polls. Alabama ranked 3/4, Auburn 18/17, Kentucky 20/19 and South Carolina 24/23. Additionally, Florida and Texas A&M received votes in both polls, while Arkansas did so in the AP poll.

To keep up with the University of Tennessee men's basketball team on social media, follow @Vol_Hoops on Instagram and X/Twitterand /tennesseebasketball on Facebook.