Tennessee HC Rick Barnes Talks Offensive Inconsistencies, Texas A&M

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    Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes met with the media Monday afternoon, recapping the Vols’ loss to Texas and previewing Tuesday’s matchup with Texas A&M.

    Barnes was frustrated with Tennessee turning down open shots following the loss in Austin and watching film of the game confirmed that frustration.

    “We started the game knowing they would be locked in on Santi (Vescovi), and the very first time down the floor they lost him, and he turned down a wide-open shot which he knows (he should take),” Barnes said. “John (Fulkerson) also turned down some open shots and we’ve talked about it and when we do that it leads to not very good offensive possessions. Defensively, we did a lot of good things, but we just have to play with the speed that we know we need to in the game.”

    Offensive inconsistencies have been a common theme of Tennessee’s season and Barnes credits indecisiveness as a main reason why. In the last two games, Tennessee and its opponents have combined for five runs of 10-0 or greater.

    That’s the result of both a strong defensive and weak offensive team.

    “Well, offense. I mean turning down shots and then free throws play into that some too,” Barnes said. “I mean there is no doubt about it. When you miss those one-and-ones. They are critical, those are critical misses; but two-shot fouls you miss those. And you couple those with the fact that you turn down shots that turn into bad possessions. And you throw some turnovers in there. That is how most people get runs going. … I think that is the mental part with players. Players know when they feel like they are going to make a shot. When the doubt creeps in, it slows things down and gets people back on their heels and that is what leads to inconsistency.”

    Tennessee is back in action with a Lone Star State foe Tuesday when they host Texas A&M to Thompson-Boling Arena. The Aggies started SEC play with a bang, winning their first three SEC games before losing four straight entering the matchup.

    “They’re a multiple defensive team, a team that plays really hard, a team that plays with a lot of emotion and they’re going to change their defenses,” Barnes said. “We’re going to have to take care of the basketball. They’re like any good basketball team, you give it to them and they’re going to make you pay on the other end. Handling the ball and dealing with their change in defenses will be of importance.”

    The Vols and Aggies will tip-off at 7 p.m. ET. The SEC Network will broadcast the game.

    Barnes also discussed the play of Kennedy Chandler, his relationship with Dick Vitale and more.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.