Rick Barnes and the 2017-18 Vols pride themselves in bringing a businesslike approach to the court, and they definitely did that on Saturday night at TBA.
In fact, there is rarely an occasion to see a team play as calm in front of nearly 20,000 rowdy fans. At many points, Tennessee’s team and coaches seemed almost disinterested in the game, in spite of playing relatively good ball and easily dispatching of the Texas A&M Aggies, who flashed Top 10 promise until crashing into what is now an 0-5 start in the SEC. Even the spiritual leader of the Vols, Admiral Schofield, rarely showed any fire against the Aggies. No cause for alarm bells just yet, but you hope the team hasn’t gone so far down the workman-like rabbit hole that they can’t invoke what was once a regularly scheduled burst of passion in the homestretch.
On the other hand, it may just speak to the clip that Barnes has Tennessee competing at right now, that they can casually dispatch of teams like Texas A&M by phoning it in. It will be interesting to see how the Vols’ energy evolves as road games against stiffer competition approach.
Tennessee travels to Missouri on Wednesday, January 17th to face former coach Cuonzo Martin for the first time since he left the Vols in 2014. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:00PM.