- Advertisement -

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes faces emotional test against former team as Vols face Texas

- Advertisement -

It’s business. Nothing personal. At least, that’s what one of the top analysts in college basketball believes about the Tennessee-Texas matchup tonight.

It’s natural to wonder if Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is taking the Vols’ matchup with Texas in the NCAA tournament a bit personally. After all, the Longhorns fired Barnes despite being one of the most respected coaches in college basketball. However, former Vol forward and SEC Network analyst Ron Slay said he believes that Barnes left the emotions associated with the Longhorns behind shortly after he parted ways with Texas in 2015, when accepted the head coaching job at Tennessee.

“When he left, he left,” Slay said during The Dave Hooker Show this week. “It may have been a bit bittersweet leaving Texas, but, I think, being able to talk behind the scenes and talk to coaches that were on his staff, when he got on that plane and he set foot in Knoxville…he kind of left all of that Texas baggage right there.

“I think the only way for him to have success in his mind was to be able to drop that, start off from scratch and build it up to where it is now.”

Barnes has certainly built up the Vols. Tennessee is a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and can advance to the Sweet 16 with a win over No. 7-seeded Texas on Saturday night.

- Advertisement -

Tennessee should be well rested against the Longhorns. The Vols were able to go deep into their bench in an 83-49 win over St. Peter’s on Thursday. 

“The depth is always going to be key,” Slay said when asked about the luxury of having a relatively easy game in the opening round of the tournament. 

Tennessee has been to the Sweet 16 just nine times in school history. The Vols have only advanced past that stage of tourney once, in 2010 when the Vols made the Elite Eight.

- Advertisement -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Latest Podcast

- Advertisement -

More Podcasts

- Advertisement -