The Tennessee Volunteers are almost there… in more ways than one.
Tennessee is almost at the evolutionary stage where it wants to be. The Vols haven’t arrived at that point, but they are getting there. That’s one way in which they are moving closer to their intended destination this season.
Another way in which Tennessee is approaching its desired place in college basketball: The Volunteers are one game away from turning their attention to Kentucky. They can’t look ahead just yet, but after handling the Florida Gators on Saturday by a 73-61 score, coach Rick Barnes’ team has a midweek game against South Carolina. If the Big Orange can win that, they will head to Rupp Arena next Saturday with an unblemished SEC record.
Barnes knows his team must remain task-oriented and devote every last drop of sweat to the difficult and unsexy work of continuous improvement.
“I appreciate how hard they’ve competed,” Barnes said. “I appreciate the fact they do want to get better, and we can get better. I think they believe, like our coaching staff, that our best basketball’s ahead of us. It’s not going to be easy, but they’re competitive. Where we are, they deserve the credit.”
[bctt tweet=”Rick Barnes- Where we are, they deserve the credit.” username=”CBBToday”]
After the upcoming South Carolina game, Tennessee simply won’t get many breathers on its schedule. Kentucky will be on the slate twice. Mississippi State, Auburn, and LSU will appear on the schedule as well.
Tennessee knows it could get roughed up this next month. It has to improve upon its present condition. Barnes is supremely aware of this. He knows his team has done extremely well to get to this point, but “this point” is not the Vols’ ultimate goal, and it never was.
The fun and the challenge are only just beginning in Knoxville.
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