- Oct 7, 2012
- No team has been more consistently impressive than Tennessee. That doesn't necessarily mean the Volunteers have been the most impressive team, but their complete lack of letdowns through two months is more than a little noteworthy when considering their potential to play well for six consecutive tournament games.
On neutral courts against equal-caliber teams, the Vols picked up an outstanding win over Gonzaga and took Kansas to overtime before suffering their only loss of season, proving they belong on the same tier with the title contenders.
Against KenPom top-100 opponentsGeorgia Tech, Louisville and Memphis, Tennessee won each game by at least a 10-point margin, controlling the first with defense and enjoying offensive explosions in the other two. And in eight games against teams outside the KenPom top 100, Tennessee's average margin of victory is 30.5 points, including eviscerating Georgia 96-50 in the SEC opener.
Even though no one outside of Admiral Schofield shoots that well from distance, this is one of the most efficient offenses in the country, thanks in large part to the top-ranking assist rate. Tennessee moves the ball fluidly, probing the defense to find good interior looks while rarely committing turnovers. In fact, on top of assisting on 69 percent of made buckets, the Vols have the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country.
Those stats often get overlooked because they don't show up as SportsCenter highlights, but averaging nearly two assists per turnover—while also blocking more than six shots per game—is a fantastic way to contend with anyone.
Throw in the fact that this is a veteran team (two seniors, three juniors and a sophomore in the primary six-man rotation) with one of the top midseason candidates for National Player of the Year (Grant Williams), and only a fool would be selling stock in Tennessee.