Tennessee Basketball finished tied for first in the SEC last season. Can the Vols pull a repeat performance next season despite the many threats around?
Head Coach Rick Barnes has slowly been rebuilding Tennessee Basketball since arriving from the Texas Longhorns. After losing the team’s leading scorer Robert Hubbs in a 16-16 season, the Vols took a major step in the following year.
With the young players finally becoming veterans and taking all the lumps and close losses that went their way before, the Vols finally got to win. After starting out 3-3 in the SEC, Tennessee went on to win 10 of the next 12 league games to finish tied with Auburn at the top with a 13-5 record.
The Vols ultimately fell to Kentucky by five points in the SEC title game before suffering a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of eventual Final Four participant Loyola-Chicago. It was a tough ending for a team who had hopes of going on a deep run of their own.
With a 26-win season completed for Tennessee, there are even higher hopes for them for the 2018-19 season. The top five scorers all return, with just point guard James Daniel the only one from the main rotation not a part of the this upcoming Vols team.
Still, not many have this team as the clear favorites to win the SEC. Kentucky once again has an awesome recruiting class and an elite grad transfer as well, while Auburn brings back two big men who’re NBA prospects. Teams like Florida, Mississippi State, and LSU are also on the radar as teams who can make some noise in the league.
Somehow the Vols are flying under the radar in the SEC as a true heavyweight. Here are a few reasons why that shouldn’t be the case.