After being barely left out for the last couple of weeks, Tennessee basketball is now ranked No. 20 in this week’s AP poll. Looking at Tennessee’s schedule, they have every opportunity to continue to climb the rankings and build one of the best resume’s in the country.

Tennessee’s conference schedule already provides ample opportunity to get quad-one wins with teams like Kentucky, Auburn, Florida and LSU. There is also a lot of room for wins that will still be considered strong by the committee in March with teams like Mississippi State, Arkansas, and even Missouri and Ole Miss.

These games aren’t what set Tennessee apart though. Tennessee’s nonconference schedule is one of the best resume building schedules in the country.

This year, the Vols play against seven teams in their nonconference schedule that made the tournament last season. Tennessee, Butler, and Seton Hall are the only teams in the country that play that many games against teams that fit that description.

Seton Hall is currently 0-1 in those games (granted, it was a close game against Michigan State). Butler is 1-0 with their win over Minnesota. Tennessee is already 2-0 in these games with a win over Murray State and a quality win over Washington in which Tennessee was the better team in virtually every aspect of the game.

Even beyond tournament teams, the Vols also have six games against teams ranked in the KenPom preseason top 50. One of those games already occurred with the aforementioned win over Washington who is ranked 25thin the current AP Poll.

Other Notable Nonconference Games

Florida State, Nov. 29 – Florida State has already knocked off Florida this year and was the top vote receiver of teams not to be ranked this week.

Memphis, Dec. 14 – If you’re a Vols fan, you’ve had this game circled for a long, long time. Penny Hardaway and the currently 16thranked team in the country coming to Thompson Boling is a can’t miss game. One question looms though, what will the status of Memphis’s, James Wiseman be by mid-December?

Cincinnati, Dec. 18 – This will be a gut-check game for the Vols. This one comes on the heels of the Memphis game and is on the road in Cincinnati. The Bearcats are the dark horse candidate to win the AAC this year and were a preseason top-50 KenPom team.

Kansas, Jan. 25 – The crown jewel of the nonconference schedule comes when Tennessee heads to Allen Fieldhouse for the Big 12/ SEC challenge. These two teams played last year in an absolute nail biter and this Kansas team may even be better than that one. Kansas is currently ranked No. 4 in the country and has arguably the most talented roster in college basketball.

 

Featured Image: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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