KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The heightened expectations on the Tennessee men’s basketball team were reflected in two preseason polls released on Monday, with the Vols garnering the highest ranking of any SEC team in either list of rankings.

Tennessee came in at No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 10 in the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll. The Volunteers are the highest-ranked SEC team in both polls.

It is the first time since 2018 and the fifth time in school history that the Vols have been in the top 10 of both preseason polls.

This year is the fourth straight season that Rick Barnes’ team has started in the AP Top 20, the longest streak in program history. Their fifth consecutive appearance in the Coaches Poll top 25 to begin the season also matches their best stretch in school history from 2006-2007 to 2010-2011.

The Vols concluded their 2022-2023 campaign with a run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and an overall record of 25-11. Barnes signed a contract extension earlier this year that will keep him in Tennessee Orange through the 2027-2028 season.

A returning trio of fan favorites Josiah-Jordan James, Santiago Vescovi, and Zeigler, will anchor Tennessee’s championship aspirations while new additions like Dalton Knecht and Jordan Gainey aim to add a new dimension to their offense.