Tennessee Basketball has improved from last year, but they’re still more inconsistent than they should be if they want to make a run in the NCAA tournament.
Tennessee basketball is in a pretty good spot right now. They’re No. 16 in the country with a 13-4 record and a chance to finish at the top of the SEC East at the end of the regular season.
A regular-season SEC Championship is also still in reach, but the Vols will likely need to win out, and they’ll need some help from Missouri and Alabama’s opponents.
Right now, Tennessee just needs to focus on winning the games they’re playing in, and that starts tomorrow night against Georgia. When Tennessee has won this season, they’ve put on some impressive performances, but when they’ve lost, they’ve lost badly.
Rick Barnes and the Vols are going to have to figure out the inconsistency issues before the SEC tournament because they can’t beat a top-15 team like Kansas by 19 and then lose to an unranked Ole Miss.
Tournaments are all about consistency, and failing to win an SEC tournament and advancing past the Sweet 16 will put Barnes on the hot seat for some fans throughout the Tennessee fan base. I don’t think the Vols should fire Barnes. I think he’s a great coach, but if he can’t win when it counts, then fans are going to want to look elsewhere for someone who can.
Yves Pons has come around on the offensive side of the court in the past few weeks. He’s led the Vols’ offense in scoring in four of the last five games, but with two of those games being losses, the Vols offense might need to find another player to lead the offense.
When Victor Bailey Jr. and Santiago Vescovi are both on, I don’t think there are many teams that could beat the Vols. When Pons is leading the offense in scoring, it just depends on who the Vols are playing and what other players are going to show up.
I don’t mean to criticize Pons or say he’s a below-average player because he’s not, but he’s a better defensive player in my opinion than an offensive player, so I’d be fine if he wasn’t a leading scorer and have Bailey, Vescovi or Josiah-Jordan James lead the offense in scoring.
The Vols will face some challenging opponents over the final six games of the season, and I’d like to see the Vols start being consistent on both sides of the court starting now to prepare for the SEC and NCAA tournaments.