Earlier this week, the media announced the 2020-2021 Tennessee basketball team as the team to beat in the SEC. This isn’t surprising, though; the Vols have a ton of returning talent paired with a couple of 5-star newcomers. On paper, this is the deepest team Rick Barnes has had on Rocky Top. According to 247sports, this is the most talented team that Knoxville’s ever seen.
But that’s on paper. How good can this team really be? And, the question everyone wants answered is, what can Barnes accomplish in March?
Since being at Tennessee, Barnes has made the tournament twice, and both runs ended in heartbreaking fashion. I still have nightmares about Sister Jean.
But, this season should be different. Barnes has a squad that could win a National Championship. At the worst, this is an Elite Eight team depending on the health of the roster.
The media named John Fulkerson an All-SEC first-teamer and Yves Pons as an All-SEC second-teamer. Then there is the 5-star talent in Josiah-Jordan James, Jaden Springer, and Keon Johnson. According to the star ranking, this is the most talented team in Tennessee history.
Both Springer and Johnson can create their own shots – which is something the Vols struggled with last season.
Barnes also gets additional help down low from the transfer E.J. Anosike who averaged a double-double for Scared Heart. Then, there is Victor Bailey Jr., who, rumor has it, is a stud.
Barnes and company have no excuse for this team to be successful. If Barnes wants to keep recruiting at a high level like he is, he’s got to win in March. This season should be fun, and we should have high expectations for the team.