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We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“Alright, what’s the inside info? How far are the Vols going in the tournament?” – Tanner
Nathanael: I think the Elite Eight is their most likely destination as long as they can get past Loyola on Saturday. The Ramblers are no pushover. And I honestly think they’re a tougher match-up than whomever the Vols might get in the Sweet Sixteen. But I like Tennessee’s chances to get to the Elite Eight, and if they play Virginia or Kentucky there, I think there’s a very good chance they could make it to the Final Four even.
Will: Well, I had the Vols losing in the Elite 8 to Arizona. But that’s not happening anymore. UT is capable of making the Final Four. It has a really easy path. That being said, they’ll slip up before that point. I think an Elite 8 is the most likely scenario at this point. But nothing will surprise me.
“Does Rick Barnes deserve Coach of the Year? Will he actually win it?” – Brian
Nathanael: If Tony Bennett doesn’t get it, then Barnes definitely should. He’s take a team that finished .500 last season to one of the best overall teams in college basketball. And this time is extremely young too. If you take James Daniel out of the equation, the average age of this team is something like 19 years and 11 months. I think Barnes should get it, but we’ll see if the voters agree.
Will: He’s certainly a great choice. That’s probably going to depend on how far this team goes in the tournament. I think Tony Bennett at Virginia is the clear choice. That team was unranked at the start of the season. Then they won all but two of their games. He’s my pick.
“If Tennessee can’t get Anfernee Simons should they go after a grad transfer guy? And does it need to be a guard or a forward they go after?” – Aaron
Nathanael: Yeah, they absolutely should. Tennessee could do that and still have the extra scholarship for the next recruiting cycle because the grad transfer wouldn’t take up a spot for the 2019-20 roster either. Smart suggestion.
Will: They’ll be an attractive destination. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s at least one transfer out as well. I think UT may end up with two newcomers to next year’s team.
“Does London, the new RB, ever start this season? Or is Ty Chandler going to be the guy all year getting the start?” – Mark
Nathanael: I don’t think he will, no. I don’t think there will be a game that London out-touches Chandler even, unless there’s an injury or maybe in a game where the Vols blowout one of their lesser opponents and he just happens to get more touches then. But I think London is clearly second fiddle to Chandler this season. I really, really like Chandler and think he could be a special back.
Will: ”Start” is a bit outdated for me here. They’ll be 1A and 1B. Here I go sounding like Butch Jones, but it’s still true. London will likely average 8-10 touches a game. Chandler will probably get 12-15.
“Should we expect to see any more grad transfers between now and fall?” – Tom
Nathanael: I would almost definitely bet “yes” on this. I think they still want to add an offensive lineman grad transfer, and I wouldn’t rule out a defensive grad transfer either.
Will: Probably. I think they’ll add two more guys before the school year ends.