Vols looking to get back on track against struggling Vanderbilt

It's a new week and a new ranking for Tennessee basketball.

The fifth-ranked Vols are looking to get back on track Tuesday night against a familiar foe.

Last-place Vanderbilt (9-16, 0-12 SEC) comes to Knoxville on Tuesday night for its second matchup with the Vols. But Tennessee is hoping that this game is a bit less dramatic than the first one.

Tennessee escaped Memorial Gym with an overtime win over the Commodores last month. And it took a heroic performance by Grant Williams for the Vols to keep their number one ranking at the time.

Rick Barnes told the media on Monday afternoon that he's still been impressed by what Vandy has been able to do despite a major injury to future lottery pick Darius Garland.

"They lost a key player early in the year," Barnes said. "They were terrific against us. They've been in some really close games. They've been there."

When you lose a potential top-ten pick, plans can change.

Despite those mid-season alterations, Barnes isn't overlooking this game. He thinks Vandy is better than advertised.

"They're putting a lot on some really young players to do some things...it's tough when you go into the season thinking you're going to play one way...then you've got to remake yourself. Even though they haven't won a conference game, they've been in a lot of closer games than people might expect."

Barnes' team is hoping for a better performance than they had on Saturday at Kentucky. Tennessee was heavily out-rebounded and finished with their lowest point total in SEC play this season at Rupp Arena.

But maybe that loss can teach the Vols a few things. Barnes is hoping that's the case, because he thinks his guys needed a little bit of motivation.

"On the outside there's so much that goes on...you really don't know about the vibe on the inside with the team," he said. "We've talked about it and talked about it: rebounding. And we won games. But did they take heed? No. And they have to now."

Barnes hopes the Vols won't be as complacent anymore without that No. 1 ranking beside their name.

Tennessee dropped down to No. 5 after Saturday's loss, but they aren't overlooking anyone. They're hoping to get back to their high standard of play on the court.

"They would all tell you that in their own mind we could get by with what we've been doing...they were able to see that we were beaten soundly by not doing what we should've been doing," Barnes said.

The 'Dores and Vols will tip-off at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday night on ESPN.