Bubble Watch: Tennessee, It’s Up in the Air

By Rodney Coe
Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin
Randy Sartin-US Presswire

February has been a pretty good month for Tennessee as they’ve beaten two SEC rivals. They have to be happy, pounding then #25 Kentucky on Feb. 16 by 30 points, and surely they’re ecstatic about upsetting #8 Florida on Feb. 26.

But Tennessee suffers from an identity crisis. Georgia, a team that has a 142 RPI, beat them, after all. Vols fans just don’t know which Tennessee team they’ll watch play that night.

However, Tennessee has a 56 RPI and a 52 SOS. Their rank and strength of schedule really put them in good shape. They are a somewhat respectable 2-3 against RPI top 50 teams. Could these numbers alone be enough?

Losing Jeronne Maymon to a knee injury didn’t help Tennessee. Maymon, a potential All-SEC forward, averaged 12.7 PPG and 8.1 RPG last year. He and Jarnell Stokes would have made an impressive frontcourt.

Cuonzo Martin is a good coach. He came into a difficult situation and his tenacity has paid off. Tennessee is tough–they play great defense, and most of all, the players have their coach’s mindset with their fierceness.

But Tennessee’s offensive struggles are a problem. They rank 193rd in offense, only averaging 66.9 points per game. They rank 168th in field goal percentage (.430), along with a three-point percentage of .323. Tennessee is 300th in assists per game and they are 88th on the list of rebounds per game.

They are fourth in the SEC at 10-7 and have an overall record of 18-11. Tennessee probably will make it in simply because they upset Florida. That is good on anyone’s resume in the SEC.

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