The Tennessee basketball team ranks seventh in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, which was released Friday. The Vols are the highest-ranked SEC team, topping SEC counterparts Arkansas (No. 19) and Kentucky (No. 22) in the poll.
It is believed to be the highest preseason ranking in the history of the program. Tennessee finished last year's regular season ranked 18th.
The Vols' schedule includes four teams ranked in the poll. In addition to the Razorbacks and Wildcats, Tennessee plays Memphis (No. 3) and Gonzaga (No. 14).
North Carolina gets the nod at No. 1, edging second-ranked UCLA by five points. Memphis, Kansas, and Georgetown round out the top 10.
In addition to returning four starters, Tennessee welcomes two transfers -- guard J.P. Prince (Arizona) and Tyler Smith (Iowa). Smith was named Second-team Preseason All-SEC at the conference's media days earlier this week.
The Vols open play Nov. 2 in an exhibition against California (PA). The regular season starts Nov. 9 with a home game against Temple.
USA/TODAY COACHES' POLL TOP 25
1 North Carolina
8 Michigan State
10 Washington State
T-14 Texas A&M
23 Southern Illinois
24 North Carolina State
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