Tennessee fans had to come away from the Vols’ game on Saturday wondering exactly how that happened.
Tennessee was rolling through the back half of its schedule on a six-game win streak. Then, everything came crashing down in the 78-50 loss to Alabama at Coleman Coliseum. It was the most-lopsided loss in the history of the rivalry played at the arena.
Coach Rick Barnes offered up his explanation to reporters after the game, though it seemed to be as surprised as the fans.
“What happened [Saturday night] could happen any other game if we don’t play the way we’re capable of, and compete the way we’re capable of,” Barnes said. “We didn’t do that. If it was an emotional letdown, it was all because of us being immature. The fact is, I’m baffled by it, to be honest with you. But we got what we deserved.”
Tennessee has three upperclassmen on the roster — James Daniel, Admiral Schofield and Kyle Alexander — who get significant playing time. This is still a rather young team despite the number of minutes many of the underclassmen have logged.
This could simply be a case of a young team resting on its laurels before achieving anything of real significance. The six-game win streak had the Vols finish off a season sweep of Kentucky and bring the ranking to No. 15 in the country. There has even been some talk of the team potentially making a push for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Vols would be a No. 4 seed if the tournament began today.
It’s possible the immaturity of the group crept in and led to the downfall on Saturday. Take the defensive side of the ball, for instance. Tennessee had held opponents to an average of 58.5 points per game on the winning streak. Alabama had 60 points with just under 12 minutes left in the game.
“Defensively, it was as bad as we’ve played all year long, obviously,” Barnes said.
Only time will tell if this is just a blip or a more accurate representation of the level of play to expect from this squad. It doesn’t seem as though Barnes expects the team to play like this again.
“Rough night,” Barnes said. “With this group, I don’t think I thought we could be that bad.”
The post Rick Barnes gives possible explanation for Tennessee’s poor performance against Alabama appeared first on SEC Country.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.