Tennessee fans predictably meltdown after No. 1 Vols upset in SEC Tournament

Rick Barnes did it again. Two years after winning the SEC Tournament, Barnes submitted another postseason disappointment to reaffirm Tennessee fans' worst fears about their head coach.
Tennessee Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes
Tennessee Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Barnes and the Tennessee Volunteers reinvented themselves with the addition of Dalton Knecht, and that change of course resulted in an outright regular-season SEC title. However, even the SEC’s leading scorer and Player of the Year couldn’t exercise Barnes’s postseason demons. 

Tennessee went to Nashville as the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament but after a 73-56 drubbing from Mississippi State, the Vols are heading back to Knoxville with their hopes of ending up as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament almost certainly dashed. 

Against the Bulldogs, Tennessee shot just 19-62 from the field and 8-33 from the three-point line. Even with Zakai Zeigler’s 20 points and 14 offensive rebounds as a team, Barnes’s group struggled to find efficient offense all afternoon. Knecht finished with just 14 points on 4-17 shooting. 

Though many were not surprised, after years of Rick Barnes’s postseason shortcomings, Tennessee fans weren’t pleased with the early tournament exit. 

Fans also aren’t nearly as excited about the NCAA Tournament as they were heading into this week when Tennessee was clearly in contention for a No. 1 seed. Now, unless North Carolina also gets upset in the ACC tournament, Tennessee will be on the two-line. Some fans aren’t confident Barnes can even get them to the Round of 32. 

Some fans are even ready to move on from Barnes, who has built a consistent winner at UT. 

Some Vols fans are coping by rooting for the Bulldogs to take the tournament title after their dominant performance. 

Things have changed quickly after one of the best regular seasons in school history.