Tennessee basketball drops in AP Top 25 poll, RPI number holds strong

Tennessee’s men’s basketball team slipped three spots to No. 18 in the AP Top 25 poll after splitting last week’s road trips to Kentucky and Alabama.

Auburn (22-3, 10-2 SEC) remains the SEC’s highest ranked team at No. 10, and Texas A&M (17-8, 6-6) is the league’s only other team ranked in the AP Top 25. The Aggies have won four straight games and are at No. 21.

The Vols (18-6, 8-4) went from the highest of highs with Tuesday night’s historic win against Kentucky at Rupp Arena, to arguably the low point of the season with the surprising 78-50 loss at Alabama.

RELATED: 3 things about the Vols’ historical win at Kentucky

Tennessee’s loss to the Crimson Tide snapped what had been a six-game win streak for the Vols and represented the team’s most lopsided defeat of the season.

“If it was an emotional letdown, it was all because of us being immature,” Coach Rick Barnes said after Saturday’s game in Tuscaloosa. “The fact is, I’m baffled by it, to be honest with you. But we got what we deserved.”

The NCAA selection committee released its projected NCAA Tournament seedings on Sunday and revealed it felt Tennessee deserving of a No. 4 seed as the No. 13 team.

The Vols were projected to play in the South region in Atlanta by the NCAA selection committee.

ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi also projected Tennessee as a No. 4 seed, though he has them playing in Boise, Idaho.

The Vols also had the No. 13 RPI rating in the country on Monday, per NCAAsports.com.

Tennessee assistant athletic director for media relations Tom Satkowiak pointed out all six of the Vols’ losses this season have come to teams in the top 35 of the RPI rankings:

• 3 Villanova

• 7 Auburn

• 9 North Carolina

• 23 Missouri

• 33 Alabama

• 35 Arkansas

Tennessee returns to action at 9 p.m. on Tuesday against South Carolina (13-12, 4-8) in Thompson-Boling Arena.

AP Top 25

1. Virginia

2. Michigan State

3. Villanova

4. Xavier

5. Cincinnati

6. Purdue

7. Texas Tech

8. Ohio State

9. Gonzaga

10. Auburn

11. Clemson

12. Duke

13. Kansas

14. North Carolina

15. Saint Mary’s

16. Rhode Island

17. Arizona

18. Tennessee

19. Wichita State

20. West Virginia

21. Texas A&M

22. Michigan

23. Oklahoma

24. Nevada

25. Arizona State

The post Tennessee basketball drops in AP Top 25 poll, RPI number holds strong appeared first on SEC Country.

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