Tennessee basketball started the season the right way, but in their past two games, they’ve struggled, which has led to their first loss of the season.
Rick Barnes has revived the Tennessee basketball program since making his debut at Tennessee, but after having the best year in school history, this season looks like it might be a lot more painful than last year.
Tennessee started the season the right way and started the season 5-0. That includes a big neutral-site win against Washington. That win pretty much single handily put them in the Top 25, but they suffered their first loss of the season on Friday night.
We knew the Vols’ first loss of the season was going to come eventually, but not this early in the season. Tennessee played horrible throughout the game against Florida State. A few sparks here and there, but the game was mostly filled with turnovers and sloppy play.
The Vols committed 20 turnovers throughout the game, and Florida State capitalized on those turnovers. Early turnovers by the Vols allowed the Seminoles to take an early lead, and they didn’t look back, not allowing the Vols to lead the game for one second.
I don’t know what has happened to this team over the past week or so, but this is not the Rick Barnes coached team we’re used to seeing.
Shooting wasn’t there either for the Vols. The team finished the night 14-for-42 from the field and 5-for-22 from three. That shooting isn’t going to win games, and the number of turnovers didn’t help.
Tennessee was able to get away with their mistakes against Chattanooga because Tennessee simply has more talent, but they won’t win a game against a decent team with 21 turnovers in a game.
If you want some positives to take away from this game, then you can look at Yves Pons’ play and see he’s improved from last season and could be a key contributor on the Vols this season. He finished the night with 13 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks.
Lamonte Turner continued his scoring spree as he finished with 17 points, and that led the team. Jordan Bowden was right there behind Turner and Pons with 11 points, but none of it was enough to get a win over Florida State.
Another positive takeaway from this game is that the team didn’t give up. Tennessee had the lead down to three points at the one minute mark after trailing by nine with two minutes left in the game.
This team has some heart and some fight in them, but they also have a lot of baggage and unfortunately, that baggage is turnovers and a lot of them.
Barnes has some work to do with this team, and it may be more difficult than some have imagined. Hopefully, he can get things back on track before the schedule starts getting more difficult.