- Advertisement -

Tennessee Basketball shows in loss to South Carolina it’s still prone to BAD offensive games

- Advertisement -

Dalton Knecht continued his hot streak. He dropped 31 points. This time, though, it wasn’t enough, as Tennessee Basketball suffered an upset loss at home to the South Carolina Gamecocks 63-59 Tuesday night. Once again, a Rick Barnes team laid an offensive egg.

UT was a horrendous 5-of-21 from the three-point line, and two of those were desperation three by Knecht at the end. They were also 12-of-20 from the free throw line. South Carolina, meanwhile, was 10-of-29 from three and 15-of-18 from the stripe. That was the difference.

In a superb coaching job by Lamont Paris, South Carolina took advantage of the Vols’ defensive tendencies in leaving the corner-three wide open. They consistently found it on either end, which is how they were able to win from beyond the arc.

Still, Tennessee Basketball only allowed 63 points. The problem was, even with Knecht going off, the Vols couldn’t shoot to save their lives. Again, this is a vulnerability, as it always has been under Barnes. What if they have a game like this in March while another team is shooting well?

Championship teams don’t lay these types of eggs. Now, there’s a multitude of reasons this could have been the case. The most obvious is that Jonas Aidoo got in foul trouble, picking up his third with nine minutes to go in the game. He went to the bench as a result

- Advertisement -

Even while in the game, though, Aidoo was horrendous, scoring just six points and going 2-of-8 from the field. Tobe Awaka was ok, and J.P. Estrella is still a threat, but even with Knecht’s scoring, this team goes as Aidoo goes. If he’s off, everything is off.

Aidoo has to command the attention to clear the way for three-point shooters. Knecht’s scoring and Santiago Vescovi going 2-of-4 from three won’t do it alone. With Aidoo not commanding it, Zakai Zeigler was awful, Jordan Gainey found no open looks, and Josiah-Jordan James’ slump continued.

A wilder explanation is that the Vols were distracted by news of the NCAA investigation that broke earlier in the day and covers multiple sports. It’s a long shot, but that could certainly affect the mentality of a team heading into a game. Combine it with them maybe taking a very good SC team lightly, and this would be the result.

Beyond that, though, Tennessee Basketball just looks tired. Barnes has really been running just eight guys all year, and his starters have been logging between 29 and 35 minutes. It’s almost at the end of January, and lack of fresh legs can kill a team shooting.

Sure, Knecht looks fine, but he was 6-of-10 from the free throw line, and he’s fresher because he missed some time already due to injury. Can Aidoo and Zeigler really keep this up? At some point, lack of depth will catch up to them in terms of foul trouble and just being tired.

Taking everything into account, Tennessee Basketball mostly has to figure out its interior offense beyond Aidoo. The Vols also need to be able to run more players. If Barnes can address those, this is a one-off. Otherwise, though, they will have another quick exit in March.

- Advertisement -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *