Rick Barnes Said What Every Tennessee Fan Wants to Hear

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    Can #7 Kentucky (-17.0) Cover This Hefty Number Vs. Ole Miss?

    A win against No. 6 Auburn in December. A win over No. 4 Kentucky in February. And now a win at home last weekend against No. 3 Auburn.

    Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has led his team through a challenging season but has met each obstacle with an open mind. After all the hard work that the team has put in this season, Barnes had an important message for his players after the Kentucky win.

    “Great defense, great win,” Barnes said after the Kentucky win on Feb. 15. “And I’m going to tell you guys – here’s what I want you to know. We’ve beaten two Top 5 teams. We are a national championship contender. I’m telling you and you better know that.”

    Tennessee/Kentucky: How a Kentucky Fan Ended Up Wearing the Tennessee Orange on Tuesday

    This week’s SEC Inside documented the Vols’ win over Kentucky from February, showing new angles and footage of victory. Included in the video was behind-the-scenes looks into the locker room during the postgame celebration, where the national championship quote from Barnes could be heard.

    Barnes was saying the message to his players, his coaches, and his staff. But judging from the reactions on social media, it was the exact thing that Tennessee fans wanted to hear with only two games remaining until the SEC and NCAA tournaments.

    “Man oh man I got chills!” Twitter user Nick Fine replied. “GBO”

    “I love this team so much!! @Vol_Hoops #GBO” Izik Owens replied on Twitter.

    “Love this team,” The Vol Network’s Kasey Funderburg replied. “Love Coach Barnes’ opinion on the overrated chant. Love beating Kentucky.”

    Additionally, prior to his national championship comment, Barnes addressed another point regarding the Tennessee crowd – the “overrated” chant to the opposition. In fact, Barnes also brought up this topic a few games later after the Vols beat Auburn at home.

    “Don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that!” Rick Barnes said in the video as the Tennessee student section rained down chants of “overrated” towards Kentucky. “It’s stupid. So stupid. I can’t stand it. I think it’s the dumbest cheer. It doesn’t make you look good.”

    Barnes is exactly right. Whether it was the win over Kentucky or the victory against Auburn, why diminish the victory? Sure, I’m all for student sections taking shots at opposing teams (in the right way) because that’s so much of the fun of college athletics. While the overrated chant does get in the head of the opponent, it also lessons your victory.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.