Dick Vitale has forgotten more about college basketball than we’ll ever know.

So when he proclaims that Tennessee yields the nation’s third-best basketball team heading into the 2018-2019 season, heads will turn.

According to Vitale, only blue-blooded Kansas and Kentucky are better, with another perennial powerhouse Duke trailing. Vitale even believes the Vols are better than the defending champion Villanova Wildcats, whom the Orange and White nearly defeated last season.

While this is certainly unchartered territory for Tennessee basketball in the post Bruce Pearl era, Vitale’s praise is certainly understandable.

The Vols return numerous key contributors from last season’s 26-win squad, including reigning SEC player of the Year Grant Williams, human tank Admiral Schofield, and the effective Jordans (Bone and Bowden).

Tennessee’s NCAA Tournament run was cut short last season after losing to Cinderella story  Loyola in the Round of 32.

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