I've seen several theories on here about what happened. I think some have merit. Here's mine.
There were times this year, such as the first Mizzou game, that the Vols looked absolutely fantastic. We had 5 outstanding guards, 2 of them possible lottery picks. But the only reliable inside scoring threat was Fulky. When he was healthy, we were really good, but for much of the season he wasn't. Starting in early January, his energy was clearly lacking, for whatever reason. He wasn't the same as he was last year, or even in December. When his inside scoring threat was gone, our outside game suffered as well. He seemed to be getting it back in late February, especially the 2 Florida games. That's when we looked like a team that could make a deep run. Then it was gone with one elbow swing.
It was Florida that knocked us out of both the SEC and NCAA tournaments.
This makes sense. Fulkerson was our only threat in the paint. I do feel Barnes should have played #33 (I don't know his name) more because he fit the build of a big center. He did struggle on the court but it would have been better than not having a center.
It is related to poor shooting. I have seen so many games where Tennessee loses because they cannot hit 3 pointers. Perhaps it is good defense, I don't know.
I agree with another thread that the Roster was just not setup right. No dominate center, no outside shooting threat, weak PG play. The players seemed to try hard but they lacked confident with regard to shooting and they had no offensive talent.
This is why I don't see Springer or Thompson making it in NBA. Both should stay a year (but if NBA $$$ comes calling, I can't blame them for leaving).
Barnes needs to recruit a big Center and a talented outside shooting threat.
At times, I wondered if I'd stumbled upon a LV game instead of the men's game. Fundamentals are so lacking in today's game. Hated the Celtics with Bird and McHale but man they played some pretty basketball.