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Tennessee entered this season ranked 12th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll — and as the media’s pick to win the SEC. Fast-forward to Saturday, and the Vols are 19th in the AP poll, and fourth in the league standings, four games back of first-place Alabama.

So is it fair to label UT disappointing?

By definition, maybe.

But the Vols are still very good and very capable of advancing deep into the bracket of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. They won’t be projected to make the Final Four given that they will not be a No. 1 seed. But if the five-star freshmen play like future first-round NBA Draft picks, which has been the case sometimes lately, nobody should be surprised if they do.

“There are things we have to clean up,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said after Wednesday’s 93-73 victory over South Carolina.

And he’s right, obviously.

But all of the things that created high preseason expectations for Tennessee — i.e., an accomplished coach, proven veterans, and two NBA-level freshmen in the form of Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer — remain in place. And when you combine that fact with the fact that UT’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating ranks third nationally, there are plenty of reasons to believe the Vols will be a tough out next month for almost anybody under almost any circumstances.

Tennessee is No. 19 in Saturday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Vols are 3-1 in their past four games with wins in that stretch coming against Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina. They’ll try to complete a regular-season sweep of Kentucky on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Saturday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings

Biggest Movers
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd

1


Gonzaga

Gonzaga’s perfect record includes double-digit victories over Virginia, Iowa and Kansas. The Zags have won their 12 WCC games by an average of 24.4 points.

21-0

2


Baylor

Baylor’s perfect record is highlighted by victories over Texas, Illinois, Texas Tech and Kansas. The Bears have won 15 of their 17 games by double-digits. 17-0

3


Michigan

Michigan is 9-1 in the first two quadrants with double-digit wins over Wisconsin and Purdue. The Wolverines’ lone loss came at Minnesota.

15-1

4


Ohio St.

Ohio State is 10-1 in its past 11 games with wins over Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. The Buckeyes lead the nation with nine Quadrant 1 wins.

18-4

5


Illinois

Illinois is 10-5 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Illini will take a six-game winning streak into Saturday’s game at Minnesota. 15-5

6


Alabama

Alabama is 10-4 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Crimson Tide will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s game with Vanderbilt.

17-5

7


Oklahoma

Oklahoma is 7-1 in its past eight games with wins over Alabama, West Virginia, Texas and Kansas. The Sooners have zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. 13-5

8


W. Virginia

West Virginia’s three-game winning streak was snapped Saturday by Oklahoma. The Mountaineers are 9-6 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. 14-6

9


Villanova

Villanova’s two-game winning streak was snapped Saturday at Creighton. The Wildcats are 5-3 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. 13-3

10


Texas

Texas is 6-5 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. The Longhorns will take a two-game winning streak into Tuesday’s game at Oklahoma. 13-5

11


USC

USC is 6-3 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Trojans’ seven-game winning streak features victories over UCLA and Stanford.

18-3

12


Florida St.

Florida State is 7-2 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Seminoles are 7-1 in their past eight games with victories over Virginia and Louisville.

12-3

13


Virginia

Virginia’s four-game winning streak was snapped Monday via a double-digit loss at Florida State. The Cavaliers are 3-3 in the first quadrant with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3.

15-4

14


Iowa

Iowa is 9-6 in the first two quadrants with only one loss outside of Quadrant 1. The Hawkeyes will take a three-game winning streak into Sunday’s game with Penn State.

16-6

15


Va. Tech

Virginia Tech is 3-1 in its past four games after Saturday’s win at Miami. The Hokies are 7-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. 14-4

16


Houston

Houston is 2-2 in its past four games after Thursday’s loss at Wichita State. The Cougars are 6-2 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3.

17-3

17


Creighton

Creighton is 6-1 in its past seven games with wins over Villanova and Seton Hall. The Bluejays are 11-1 in the first two quadrants with four additional losses falling in Quadrant 3.

16-5

18


Arkansas

Arkansas is 7-1 in its past eight games with wins over Missouri and Florida. The Razorbacks are 9-5 in the first two quadrants with only one loss outside of Quadrant 1. 17-5

19


Tennessee

Tennessee is 6-5 in the first two quadrants with only one loss outside of Quadrant 1. The Vols are 3-1 in their past four games with wins over Kentucky and Georgia.

15-5

20


Wisconsin

Wisconsin is 3-5 in its past eight games after Thursday’s loss to Iowa. The Buckeyes are 8-8 in the first two quadrants with only two losses outside of Quadrant 1.

15-8

21


Texas Tech

Texas Tech is 3-3 in its past six games after Tuesday’s double-digit loss to West Virginia. The Red Raiders are 5-6 in the first two quadrants heading into Saturday’s game at Kansas.

14-6

22


Louisville

Louisville is 6-3 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. Three of the Cardinals’ four losses have come inside the first quadrant.

11-4

23


Loyola Chi.

Loyola Chicago is 5-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Ramblers are 12-1 in their past 13 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Drake.

19-4

24


Kansas

Kansas is 7-7 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. The Jayhawks will take a four-game winning streak into Saturday’s game with Texas Tech.

16-7

25


Missouri

Missouri is on a three-game losing streak after Tuesday’s loss at Georgia. The Tigers are 7-6 in the first two quadrants with only two losses outside of Quadrant 1.

13-6

26


Oregon

Oregon is 6-2 in the first two quadrants with two additional losses falling in Quadrant 3. The Ducks’ top five scorers have combined to miss 20 games.

13-4