After a full Sunday to digest what he saw in Tuscaloosa, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes’ tone didn’t change. Barnes met with the media on Monday afternoon to break down the debacle that we all saw against Alabama.
His level of disgust hadn’t changed.
“The second half just fell apart,” Barnes told the media. “I sat those guys down because, like I’ve said all season, those minutes are valuable. If guys aren’t going to utilize them and compete, I’m going to let guys get out there that want to compete.”
Barnes pulled most of his starters off the floor with about seven minutes left in the game. The game was in the bag for Alabama as the Tide simply managed a near 30 point lead down the stretch.
“Some guys wanted to go back in, but I said that you’ve had your chance. You weren’t ready. Again, we got what we deserved. We didn’t deserve to win.”
Barnes said that the tape session yesterday confirmed what he said after the game. “We weren’t locked in. Whether it was a false sense of confidence, whether they’re distracted with some other things on their mind, I don’t know. The fact is, we didn’t do anything that we talked about.”
Barnes was asked specifically about whether or not his team bought into the hype last week. ESPN said on a couple of occasions last week that the Volunteers had a decent shot at a No. 1 seed.
“I think the best teams don’t even think about that during the year. Everyone wants to know why I don’t compliment players, it’s for a reason,” Barnes said. “They want to be complimented. I think they search out and look at papers when they play well. We’ve got a team of guys that I can tell you, when they have big games — there’s almost a pattern — they don’t play as well. After you have a big game, it’s over. The question is, can you do it again and do it better the next time?”
Consistency is something all coaches of any sport look for. Tennessee appeared to have that going in their favor until Saturday night. That wasn’t a pleasant moment for anyone that cares about this program, but don’t think Barnes is just going to move on from it.
“Some people say you forget it and move on,” Barnes said. “I don’t ever forget it. If you don’t remember it, it’s doomed to repeat itself.”
You can bet that this team will hear all about “the Alabama game” before every game from here on out. Tennessee can’t afford that kind of effort again with the postseason right around the corner.