Tennessee Volunteers: Bored of Winning?

After a 19-game winning streak, the University of Tennessee Volunteers basketball team has now lost two of their last three games. Sure, their two losses were to University of Kentucky and Louisiana State University, both in the top 15 and on the road, but even the games prior to the losses, you just didn’t see the spark that the Vols bring to the hardwood night in and out.

Tennessee isn’t your Duke University, University of Kentucky, University of Kansas or University of North Carolina with their flashy 5-star McDonald’s All Americans and one and done talent, but rather a group of guys who were dedicated to the process of development over multiple years. They have created a culture emphasising hard work and grit that makes up for their lack of pure skill on the court.

With the exception of 2018 SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams, many of these guys know they will probably not have a huge impact in the NBA. This creates a need for a reward after all the sweat and blood put into this team; and that’s winning a National Championship.

This team is cognizant they’re good and in truth, are tired of the regular season. In the last few games, the Vols have been playing with teams rather than jumping out to big leads; gaining control of games.

It’s essential for the Vols to change their attitude and shift into postseason mode right now because if they don’t change something soon, I wouldn’t expect them to go far at all in March and April.

What needs to change?

G Admiral Schofield (17 ppg, 6 rpg) and F Grant Williams (19 ppg, 8 rpg) need to start playing through each other and both need touches on every possession or else the offense will struggle.

PG Jordan Bone needs to keep playing as he has of late. If it wasn’t for Bone, Tennessee would have several more losses, namely to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. He facilitates the Vol offense, averaging 6.3 assists per game, and does well to take the ball to the rack- he averages 13 points per game. He’s got killer speed and is the key for the Vols in their transition game.

Lastly, the Vols need more emotion and drive to win games. They won’t get through the tourney playing with no heart, so they need to find some spark before the SEC tournament or else you can kiss the Vols bye-bye.

-Peter Sullivan

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