Tennessee is good. Really good sometimes. But the Vols are undeniably flawed compared to most other teams at the top of the sport, and it showed again on Wednesday night when they lost by double digits to a Florida team that entered with nine losses and zero wins. on schools. ranked in the top 45 of the NET.
Final score: Florida 67, Tennessee 54.
It was the third time this season that UT had lost as a favorite by at least 5.5 points.
The Vols’ goofy first loss was a 16-point favorite in Nashville against a Colorado team that’s now 4-8 in the Pac-12. Their goofy second loss was as an 11.5-point favorite at home to a Kentucky team that’s otherwise 2-3 on the road with zero wins over NET’s top-105 ranked schools. Their goofy third loss came Wednesday night as a 5.5-point favorite on the road against a Florida team that entered with a 1-7 record in Quadrant 1 opportunities.
These are all facts. That’s why the Vols body of work has never aligned, and still doesn’t align, with how much predictive metrics love them (even though some UT fans seem too confused on the subject to recognize the difference between the two things).
The main problem is the attack.
Tennessee shot 25.4 percent from the field against Colorado, 14.3 percent from 3-point range against Kentucky, and 27.9 percent from the field against Florida. Too often, the Vols struggle to score points, creating situations where even their top-ranked defense isn’t enough to avoid stunning defeats. On that note, consider that Tennessee now has Three defeats against teams ranked outside the NET top 30.
That’s why UT fell to No. 10 in Thursday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 and 1 daily rankings. Three losses against teams under 30 NET is a lot for a top 10 team at this stage of the season – proof being that No. 1 Purdue, No. 4 Kansas and No. 5 Texas n have no such loss; No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Houston, No. 7 Kansas State and No. 8 UCLA have just one such loss; No. 9 Virginia only has two. The only other school besides Tennessee in the top 10 of Thursday’s Top 25 and 1 with three losses to teams under 30 NET is No. 6 Arizona. However, Tommy Lloyd’s Wildcats picked up seven wins in Q1 (compared to the Vols’ four wins in Q1) to help make up for their problematic column of losses – among them a 75-70 victory over Tennessee.
Another thing to note is that Tennessee is the only school in the top 10 of the Top 25 and 1 that doesn’t rank in at least the top 35 in both adjusted offensive efficiencies. and adjusted defensive effectiveness, according to KenPom. The Vols are now 41st in adjusted offensive efficiency, eight spots behind any other team in the top 10 of the Top 25 and 1.
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