Rick Barnes' five worst postseason losses at Tennessee

Rick Barnes has brought success to Rocky Top but hasn't been able to get the job done in the postseason.

Mar 17, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Loyola (Il) Ramblers guard Clayton Custer (13) hits the game-winning
Mar 17, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Loyola (Il) Ramblers guard Clayton Custer (13) hits the game-winning / Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
6 of 6
Next

No. 1: 2018 Second Round vs No. 11 Loyola-Chicago

For the second time on this list, Tennessee will have a recorded loss against an inferior opponent that then advanced to the Final Four. Recency bias might be why the FAU loss is ranked at No. 2, but it still can't top the heartbreaking loss to Loyola-Chicago.

The 2017-18 Tennessee Volunteers split the regular-season SEC Championship with Auburn, with both teams going 13-5 in conference play. The Vols then advanced all the way to the SEC Championship game in the conference tournament before losing to Kentucky. In my opinion, this team was the most well-rounded lineup Barnes has had in Knoxville. 

This team, led by Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield, had infinite potential. Tennessee opened the tournament with a dominant 73-47 win over Wright State and faced the 2018 tournament's Cinderella team, headed by team chaplain Sister Jean, who went viral throughout the tournament. 

Tennessee led the Ramblers to start the game. When the Vols lost their lead with six minutes remaining in the first half, they struggled to regain it. They led the Vols throughout the entire game. From that point, Loyola-Chicago led the rest of the game until a Grant Williams three-point shot with 20 seconds remaining in the game. 

The Vols played from behind the entire second half, completed the comeback with 20 seconds left, and then Clayton Custer pulled up from the elbow and knocked down the game-winner for the Ramblers with five seconds left.

This was the first non-football game that was a heartbreaking, soul-sucking loss for me. I had watched Tennessee basketball before Barnes came to Knoxville, but he drew me in from 2015. And somehow, after this loss, I came back ready for more, and the Vols have not held back when it comes to disappointing losses and early tournament exits. 

Next. Tennessee basketball faces scary first-round opponent. Tennessee basketball faces scary first-round opponent. dark

Tennessee will open the 2024 NCAA Tournament with a first-round matchup against No. 15 Saint Peter's. They will tip off at 9:30 PM ET on Thursday in the nightcap in Charlotte, North Carolina.