There are many candidates for the best defense in the SEC so far this season. The Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels have played outstanding defense to start the season, but no team has played better defense than the Tennessee Volunteers.
The Volunteers have held every opponent this season under 70 points – a hard accomplishment to achieve seeing as how the Volunteers have played high scoring offenses such as Wichita State, UMass, Georgetown, Virginia, and Oklahoma State. In the Georgetown game, Tennessee played some of the stingiest defense of any team in the country this season. Georgetown’s defense was not that good; Tennessee’s offense was just that poor. Cuonzo Martin is a defensive coach and encourages his players to play defense over everything, and they follow his ideals. This team plays some of the best defense as a whole in the country and is clearly the best defensive team in the SEC.
Tennessee is having some offensive problems, but once Jeronne Maymon returns in the next few weeks, offense will be no problem. Trae Golden continues to average over fifteen points a game, and Jarnell Stokes looks unstoppable down-low. Teams can no longer double-team Stokes once they have Maymon to worry about as well. If Tennessee continues to play such strong defense, the Volunteers will only improve. Offense can be taught; defense is much harder to learn.
Tennessee is 6-3 to begin the season, and a majority of the losses were because of poor offensive play. Tennessee’s defense is dominating, and the Volunteers will continue to dominate on defense throughout SEC play.