Assuming we make the elite 8.
Right now we are likely to make our second Elite 8 in school history. He is about 18 games away from third all-time wins. He has consistently put teams on the floor that compete at a high level when they often do not have elite talent. Most of our best players in his tenure have been 3 stars and low 4's. He consistently develops talent.
Strictly IMO zone
I would go so far as to say his teams consistently overachieve based on rational expectations. If you compare the talent level based on recruiting rankings for the past 7 years these teams overachieve more often than not..
You have to look at what is done with who and what and when. Then look at intangibles.
What has been done with who?
What Barnes did with his initial guys was incredible. Look what he did with Admiral, Bone and Alexander as well as others. How many of these current guys are going pro? Barnes gets the easy nod there.
What has been done with what?
Barnes and Pearl are pretty even on highest number of wins over their seasons as HC at TN.
Bruce inherited a program on the way up and Barnes inherited a program on the way down. Only Bruce has an outright regular season SEC championship. Barnes has the SEC tournament win. Barnes also has a shared SEC title, but it is a tie with Pearl at Auburn. Pearl has two sweet 16s. If Barnes goes beyond the S16, then he is sans a S16. Regardless, as of the proposed question, he is sans an Elite 8. + Bruce did all of what he did more quickly. Bruce has an Elite 8 as well. I'm giving the nod to Pearl here.
What has been done with when?
The SEC is at an all time high. We are far more competitive as a league than we have ever been and have been for several years. In fact, Barnes' second sweet 16 run comes during the SEC's best conference outing ever IMO. Vandy should have been in. When you consider what Barnes has done out of conference on top of what he has done within the best conference in the league this year and with who he has done it with, he has the easy nod here.
Barnes has been recruiting at an incredible level. Nod.
Transfer world is different than it used to be, so that is moot.
Barnes has established a stable program. Pearl got caught up in the hoopla (see what I did there?) And sort of had the best looking trainwreck we have seen in NCAA sports over these recent years. No motor cycle wrecks or prostitution esque convictions, just lies, divorces and boat party photos which caused the decline of his and our success. I wish I were on a boat, but nod to Barnes here.
It's very close. Performance is the indicator most will argue. Barnes needs this E8 to quiet those who don't consider much else than KPIs, but I still think when you consider everything above especially when you look at where our league is at, Barnes gets the serious dub here.
We are STACKED with coaches and he is in the top 3 to 4 at least. Barnes schedules MANY games against the power players in one season. Think about that. TX, Kansas, AZ with an exhibition against Gonzaga in arguably the strongest SEC season throughout both Barnes' and Pearls' career?
I'm tired of typing.