Despite the loss over the weekend, the 2019-20 Vols put forth a performance that can take them far in the SEC and beyond.
A few things need to be recognized and carried forward as Tennessee begins a crucial three-game stretch on Tuesday.
VOLS WINNING FORMULA
Tennessee shot 45.5% from the field and 40.0% from deep against Kansas.
That is significant because the Vols have attained (or exceeded) that clip only three other times this season:
- vs. Murray State
- vs. Washington
- @ Missouri
Two constants can be identified in each of those games, including Kansas:
- Yves Pons played at least 34 minutes + attempted 9 FG or more
- Swapping Lamonté Turner with Santiago Vescovi, the same six players averaged 90% of the Vols minutes
When Tennessee features Pons, or he takes it upon himself, the Vols’ most efficient offensive outputs were produced.
In those contests, Tennessee totaled 82 points, 75 points, 69 points, and 68 points.
All of which exceed or considerably exceed the Vols’ current average of 66.6 points per game, and three were against stout defensive units.
VOLS ROTATION SOLIDIFIED?
The six players that accounted for 90% (avg.) of the Vols’ total minutes go as followed:
- Jordan Bowden
- John Fulkerson
- Yves Pons
- Josiah Jordan-James
- Santiago Vescovi
- Jalen Johnson
It’s also worth noting that the seventh player in the rotation held constant in all four games as well.
That seventh sustained contributor would be Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua.
All of these deductions are significant in itself, but one more thing makes it takes it a bit further.
Not only are these the Vols’ most efficient offensive performances of the season, but two of the four came against consensus Top 10 defenses (Washington and Kansas).
It would be foolish to ignore the impressive nature of that feat.
Tennessee is back in Knoxville on Tuesday, as they take on a struggling Texas A&M (9-9) squad.
This is the start of a crucial 3-game stretch that includes back-to-back road contests against Mississippi State and Alabama.
Following Tennessee’s performance versus Kansas, there isn’t any reason that the Vols can’t win all three.
Ultimately, going 2-1 in the stretch should be the floor.
Doing that puts Tennessee in the best position for their February 8th showdown versus Kentucky in a sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena.