By Rick Barnes standards, Tennessee had a below-average year in the 2019-20 basketball season. However, by NCAA standards they finished in the middle of the pack with a 17-14 record (9-9 in the SEC). The Vols schedule for 2020-21 includes tough out-of-conference opponents along with the usual conference challengers. The Volunteers are currently slated to play 25 games, not including possible matchups with Gonzaga and Notre Dame. With COVID-19 staring them in the face, the line-up could likely change on a weekly basis by number of games and by appointed dates.
Let’s start out by looking at the intended schedule. With a possible loss at Kentucky, I predict UT will win out against their remaining SEC counterparts. As far as non-conference games, I foresee all “W”s for the Vols with the exception of Gonzaga (if that game takes place). If Tennessee does as well as I expect, their record could stand at 25-2 overall and 17-1 in league play. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but this outcome is certainly achievable given our mix of talented freshmen, transfers, and veteran players. If this team reaches its full potential, it could be the most gifted one in school history.
I realize I am setting especially lofty goals for these men from Rocky Top, but I believe they are capable of achieving Barnes’ high standards on the road to the Final Four. Here’s wishing you the best, Tennessee.