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We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“With the addition of DJ Burns do we have a better chance of winning a national championship this year? That’s my expectation and it should be every Tennessee fan’s in basketball. We have the coach and the players.” – @htcook1999
Nathanael: I don’t know that I expect the Vols to win a national title this year even with the addition of Burns, but I do think they have what it takes to make it at least to the Elite Eight or even the Final Four. But I don’t think they’re quite there yet for a national championship appearance, let alone an actual title.
Will: It definitely won’t hurt. I think the piece that would help them win a national title would’ve been a 5-star combo guard like Anfernee Simons. It adds more margin for error and for injuries, which Tennessee could’ve definitely used when Kyle Alexander got hurt last year.
“What is the status of Holly Warlick’s contract extension?” – @Bluedoogs82
Nathanael: It should be finalized here pretty soon. I would be surprised if it’s not announced by the time June is over. But from what I’ve heard about it, it doesn’t sound like they’re increasing her buyout or making it worse for UT should they have to part ways with her. It’s mostly to save face publicly and not have her look like a lame duck coach. It shows they have “faith” in her this season and maybe could help spur her or her team on to actually performing well this season. We’ll see.
Will: Nathanael covered it. I think she deserves it. You can’t have a coach recruiting in a contract year. But the clock is ticking.
“Odds Shrout wins QB job? I’m reading a lot of positive reviews on him. Another California Casey C?” – @tjvol49
Nathanael: Tennessee’s season will have gone in a very bad direction if Shrout sees the field this year. This is a redshirt year for him even if he is a “diamond in the rough” for the recruiting class like many are saying. Next year, maybe. But he’s not going to win it or even be the backup this year.
Will: No way. This is still Guarantano’s team, unless he loses it to Keller Chryst in the first couple weeks.
“We really going to the Cotton Bowl?” – @CjRobinson9
Nathanael: I would be stunned if Tennessee ended up in the Cotton Bowl after this season.
Will: No. Next question.
“What’s the status of Trey Smith and what’s going on with Brant Lawless?” – @rkschmidt82
Nathanael: I covered the Brant Lawless situation pretty extensively in the RTI Podcast this week, so check that out here for a breakdown of that. As for Trey Smith, nothing new to report really. Looks like there’s a good chance he’ll be good to go this fall, but I don’t know if we’ll really know until July about him.
Will: No updates from what I’ve heard. That’s probably a good sign.
“What expectations exist for Vol Baseball next year?” – @neylandmafia
Nathanael: For me, I want to see them make it to the SEC Tournament and actually win a game or two. They’re still going to be young and rebuilding next year, so my expectations are remaining sorta low for them in Tony Vitello’s second year. But if they make it to the SEC Tournament and win a game, they could easily make it to the NCAA Tournament. The SEC got 10 teams in this year, so the Vols could sneak their way in if that happens.
Will: I’m on record since March that I think they could make the NCAA Tournament next year. A top ten SEC finish would achieve that, so I think that ought to be the benchmark.