Originally written on College Chalktalk  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Send to KindleCredit: Tennessee Athletics As preseason polls were released last week, the Tennessee Volunteers were snubbed in the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.  Not sure what the voters were looking for, but these Vols look like one of the country’s top teams to me.  Coach Cuonzo Martin is seeking his first NCAA Tournament bid at Tennessee and this year he has all the ingredients to make that run.  The Vols have bigs, wings, depth, experience, and coaching.  There are obstacles to overcome, but I see Tennessee as a potential top 15 team and in the Big Dance. Credit: Tennessee Athletics Why Tennessee Will Make the NCAA Tournament Frontcourt Play-Jarnell Stokes (right) returns and Jeronne Maymon is back after a medical redshirt season. Not many other teams in the country have two bruisers like these guys in the paint. Both are All-SEC caliber bigs. Scoring from the Wing-Jordan McRae can score from anywhere on the floor and was many voters’ choice for SEC Player of the Year last season.  Incoming freshman Robert Hubbs may be the least hyped 5-Star recruit in the country.  Don’t sleep on Josh Richardson, who started all 33 games last year and quietly average 8 ppg. Defense-Always the hallmark of a Cuonzo Martin team, this Vols defense is led by Richardson on the perimeter.  The return of Maymon makes them an even better rebounding team.  Tennessee will be the most physical team in the SEC, and scoring against them in the halfcourt will be a grind. Why Tennessee Won’t Make the NCAA Tournament Outside Shooting-Last season the Vols ranked near the bottom of the SEC in 3-pt. shooting. Memphis transfer Antonio Barton is a career 40% 3-pt. shooter.  Adding him to the roster in place of Trae Golden (only 30% in 2012-13) will help. Chemistry-There is no reason to think this will be a huge concern, but the addition of Barton and Maymon’s return, combined with McRae’s and Stokes’ potential curiosity over their NBA draft stock are all factors that could affect the Vols’ locker room. Injury-Specifically, Maymon’s knee is a concern. He missed all of 2012-13 with an injury and many around the league speculate whether he is 100%.  If he goes down, that leaves Stokes exposed defensively, and there is a man-sized hole on the Vols’ frontline. Tennessee has plenty of chances to prove what it is made of early this season.  The non-conference schedule is highlighted by a trip to the Bahamas and a potential matchup with Kansas.  A road game at Wichita State and a home game vs. NC State are also chances to shine.  Early in SEC play, the Vols travel to Rupp Arena to take on the Kentucky (January 18). SEC rivals Kentucky (1) and Florida (10) were both ranked in the AP Preseason Top 25, and rightfully so.  This Tennessee team will show it belongs there as well, and come March the Vols will go dancing for the first time in the Cuonzo Martin era. * * * Related Posts:Look out for TennesseeVols looking for closure at end of gamesTennessee’s Stokes upping production for stretch runDespite loss of Golden, four signees keep Vols in Top 25…SEC Notebook: Stoking the fire
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Columnist: Media should boycott Skittles to protest Lynch

WATCH: Irving scores career-high 55, hits game winner

FCS star QB considering transferring to Oregon

Gronk on interest in his partying: 'I'm a baller'

Jim Harbaugh looking to flip No. 1 quarterback recruit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Colts' suspension of Richardson voids $3.1 million

Five players replacing the biggest names in Pac-12 for 2015

Report: Broncos hire Phillips as defensive coordinator

LeBron James misses Cavs-Blazers game due to wrist injury

Iceman: Thompson’s 37-point quarter doesn't break his record

Mayweather visited Pacquiao’s hotel room for private meeting

Where did Seahawks, Patriots find their Super Bowl players?

The all-time best Super Bowl team

Jimbo Fisher's extension could be worth $44 million

Morris twins investigated for possible assault

Padres are bringing back the brown pinstripes

Phil Jackson's old Knicks teams used to deflate balls

David Blatt: There should be more LeBron MVP talk

Richard Sherman, girlfriend expecting son during SB week

WATCH: Marshawn, Gronk play Mortal Kombat with Conan

Armstrong: I’d use PEDs again under same circumstances

Top five free agent quarterbacks

Report: NFL investigators to consult physicist on Deflategate

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Where did 'Hawks, Pats find players?

Columnist: Start Skittles media boycott

The all-time best Super Bowl team

Blatt wants more LeBron MVP talk

Best Super Bowl ads of all-time

5 X-factors for Super Bowl XLIX

Ten worst teams to ever play in a SB

Six MLB teams going all-in on 2015

Patriots' keys to Super Bowl victory

Seahawks' keys to Super Bowl victory

DeflateGate ball could fetch $50K

Doug Baldwin ready for Revis Island

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.