The third ranked Vols have proved their one of the best teams in the nation.
Now they have to prove their one of the best teams in their conference as they get ready to begin the SEC grind.
The Vols have soared so far this year.
They’re 11-1 and ranked third in the nation.
Now SEC play begins, and every league team currently has a winning record except for South Carolina.
Said head coach Rick Barnes:”The fact is it’s a whole new season. We’ve got respect for this league. I do know our players understand how difficult conference play is. They get that. And once you get into conference play, coaches know each other. They’ve coached against each other for the most part. Conference play is tough, and then you start playing those teams they you play twice. It gets even tougher.”
It’s tough, but Barnes believes his team is ready for conference play.
Said Barnes:”We’ve been at it for a long time as all teams have across the country, and now you want top play. Now we are getting into a schedule where it’s what two games a week. We are settling into a routine.”
Barnes would love for good defense to become routine for Tennessee.
Said Barnes:”Our post defense has got to be better. There’s no question about that. We are allowing the ball to come in from the top too often. Too easy. Our ball screen defense the last game, we had two of the worst we’ve had all year. Just communication.”
Tennessee tips SEC play Saturday against Georgia, but a bum shoulder will continue to sideline guard Lamonte Turner, who has missed the past six games.
Reporter:”Do you anticipate Lamonte Turner playing against Georgia. Do you know yet?”
Said Barnes:”No. He hasn’t practiced. He did a little bit, but not much. He’s going to have to get himself back out there and practice before he’ll really be able to get involved in games.”
Georgia and Tennessee tip at 3:30pm Saturday at Thompson Boling Arena. The Bulldogs have won 5 of the last 6 meetings.