Gage Arnold, copy chief 

Men's: Third in SEC, Sweet Sixteen

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin has something he has long-coveted in his basketball program: toughness and depth. After convincing senior SEC Player of the Year runner-up Jordan McRae and all-conference big man Jarnell Stokes to forego NBA aspirations, Martin brings his most talented team into 2013-14. UT will be tested with matchups against Wichita State, Virginia, NC State and a a few tough conference matchups against Kentucky and Florida, but the addition of Memphis transfer Antonio Barton at the point guard spot should finally get the squad over the hump and into the NCAA Tournament. If the Vols’ frontcourt stars – Stokes and returning senior Jeronne Maymon – can avoid injuries and foul trouble, a deep tournament run should ensue for UT.

Women's: First in SEC, NCAA Tournament Runner-up

For Tennessee, the stars have seemed to have aligned in 2013-14. A team of savvy upperclassmen with experience and hunger to capture their first post-Pat Summitt NCAA title combine with a full cabinet of talented newcomers to form what's commonly reffered to as a recipe for success. Oh, and lets not forget the final four is hosted in Nasvhille, a short two hour trip down the road from Knoxville. All five starters return, headlined by senior guard Meighan Simmons, returning SEC Freshman of the Year Bashaara Graves and incoming 6-foot-6 freshman center Mercedes Russell. Lady Vol headcoach Holly Warlick can step out of Summitt’s shadow and instill confidence she can carry on her legacy, so long as point guard Ariel Massengale confidently runs the offense and the Lady Vols’ frontcourt plays up to its talented potential down the stretch.

David Cobb, sports editor

Men's: Fourth in the SEC, Round of 32 in NCAA Tournament

This team is simply filled with too much talent and experience to miss the tournament for a third straight season. Does that mean they'll make a Final Four push? No. The Vols will land somewhere between a 6-9 seed and win their first game in the Big Dance before losing to a higher seeded team in the round of 32. That will be enough for Cuonzo Martin to keep his job for another year, but not enough to satisfy some fans who will think otherwise and yearn for the Pearl-tinted past.

Women's: First in the SEC, Final Four in NCAA Tournament

The Lady Vols passed a pair of early tests in road games at Middle Tennessee and North Carolina. With a bolstered backcourt and a frontcourt featuring perhaps the best freshman in the nation, Mercedes Russell, this team will snap its Final Four drought. Tennessee fully expects to be there; after all it's in Nashville and with a roster this stacked, it's tough to think they won't make it. Though this team may not be national championship caliber, it is solid and will prove that in 2013-14.

steven cook, copy editor

Men's: Third in SEC, Sweet Sixteen

The season opener indicated the Vols may have to take their time getting accustomed to both a new lineup and rule changes. By the time the SEC slate begins, Antonio Barton should be fully acclimated and Jarnell Stokes will have a better grasp on how to stay out of foul trouble. Both Florida and Kentucky should cruise through the SEC, but the Vols' deep roster will go a long way when the season wears on. With star-power at the guard position in Jordan McRae and developing freshman Robert Hubbs III, UT will make the most of its first NCAA Tourney appearance in the Cuonzo Martin era by making it to the second weekend.

Women's: First in SEC, Final Four

The prospect of playing in the Final Four in Nashville has motivated the nation's fourth-ranked team all throughout the preseason. Not only do the Lady Vols possess the best player in the SEC in Meighan Simmons – who scored 20 or more points 11 times last season – but they also feature arguably the best young frontcourt in the nation. Sophomore Bashaara Graves and ESPN's No. 1 recruit, freshman Mercedes Russell, will force mismatches all over the place as UT, per usual, easily stays atop the conference. This isn't a national championship team, but it will certainly compete for one. Nothing other than the unbelievable dominance of Connecticut and Stanford will keep them from that elusive ninth title.

Troy Provost-Heron, assistant sports editor

Men's: Third in SEC, Sweet Sixteen

The season opener indicated the Vols may have to take their time getting accustomed to both a new lineup and rule changes. By the time the SEC slate begins, Antonio Barton should be fully acclimated and Jarnell Stokes will have a better grasp on how to stay out of foul trouble. Both Florida and Kentucky should cruise through the SEC, but the Vols' deep roster will go a long way when the season wears on. With star-power at the guard position in Jordan McRae and developing freshman Robert Hubbs III, UT will make the most of its first NCAA Tourney appearance in the Cuonzo Martin era by making it to the second weekend.

Women's: First in SEC, Final Four

The prospect of playing in the Final Four in Nashville has motivated the nation's fourth-ranked team all throughout the preseason. Not only do the Lady Vols possess the best player in the SEC in Meighan Simmons – who scored 20 or more points 11 times last season – but they also feature arguably the best young frontcourt in the nation. Sophomore Bashaara Graves and ESPN's No. 1 recruit, freshman Mercedes Russell, will force mismatches all over the place as UT, per usual, easily stays atop the conference. This isn't a national championship team, but it will certainly compete for one. Nothing other than the unbelievable dominance of Connecticut and Stanford will keep them from that elusive ninth title.

Dargan Southard, copy editor

Men's: Third in SEC, Round of 32

Cuonzo Martin has shown he can produce monumental victories, but with two straight years marred by early season struggles and dismal NIT performances, Volunteer fans have demanded an NCAA Tournament appearance at minimum. An explosive start is imperative in 2013 as the Vols face a multitude of tough non-conference opponents in the season's early months. SEC play should go relatively smoothly for UT, but Martin's squad will have to play better away from Thompson-Boling Arena as the Vols are just 7-10 in SEC road games the last two years. The talent is there to do some major damage in college basketball, but UT has played too inconsistently in recent seasons to say they're lock for anything.

Women's: First SEC, Final Four

As the Lady Volunteers begin their second season in the post-Pat Summitt era, the national title aspirations are higher than ever. It's been six years since UT has reached the Final Four, and with a bevy of talented players, headlined by first team All-SEC selection Meighan Simmons, Holly Warlick's squad should run through the SEC and return to the National Semifinals.