The basketball Vols are now #10 in KenPom, #14 in RPI, and a four seed in the Bracket Matrix. Only four Tennessee teams have ever earned a four seed or higher in the 64+ team NCAA Tournament, so woo.
With 10 regular season games to go, the Vols are sitting pretty, but can move up or down this month. Tonight, they host LSU, which has lost four of its last five games and is down four players due to suspensions. The Tigers do have all of their starters, though, so don’t expect to see any depth advantage early. The game tips early tonight at 6:30 ET and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
National Signing Day is one week away, and Tennessee is hustling to make the most of it. This week, they earned a commitment from 3-star cornerback Brandon Davis, and they are still in the running for some highly-touted guys. That said, fans probably shouldn’t be expecting a Top 10 finish this season.
247Sports’ 16-click crystal ball slideshow suggests keeping an eye on 3-star defensive tackle Otito Obgonnia, 5-star linebacker Quay Walker, and 4-star cornerback Eddie Smith (although rumor has it that Smith is not happening). And DylanVol has a status update for us as well.
Whatever happens, just know that it’s really difficult for a new coach to get traction right out of the gate. Only five first-year coaches in ten years have been able to land classes that are in the Top 7 or better. Pruitt’s not going to get there, but he and Scott Frost seem to be the two new guys having the most success, so he’s off to a good start.
Other Tennessee sports
The Lady Vols hope to find their footing when they host Texas A&M tomorrow at 6:30 on the SEC Network.
And baseball will play in 10 nationally televised games this year.
Other fun stuff
Profit, baby. The athletic department had a $10.8 million surplus in 2016-17.
Bro-crush. Former Mississippi State and current Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox says good things about teammate and VFL Derek Barnett:
“Derek is one of the greatest rookies I’ve ever been around,” Cox said during a Super Bowl 52 media appearance. “He comes to work every day. He listens. He takes coaching. I can tell from his play from Day 1 and the way that he approaches everything up until now. You don’t see those technique mistakes or mental errors with him. Later in the season he was starting to catch up with the game, which is great for him.”
Schiano who? Meanwhile, Kirk Herbstreit is saying good things about Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt:
I think he’ll do a great job. Been around a lot of winning last 10 years or so. Outstanding recruiter. Relates well to players. Excited to see what he’ll build on Rocky Top. https://t.co/DkW0GFLVJX
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) January 30, 2018
Remember the NBA? VFL Tobias Harris is being sent to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the trade package for Blake Griffin.
This could be interesting. And finally, Bill Connelly is experimenting with better individual stats for college football players.