Rick Barnes

While Tennessee men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes has won a lot of games in his career, his success in the NCAA Tournament has been fleeting. Unfortunately for Barnes and the Volunteers, that trend continued on Thursday.

Things looked fine for Tennessee, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, for a while. The Volunteers led No. 9 Florida Atlantic 27-22 at halftime. The second half was a different story.

But the Owls largely dominated the final 20 minutes en route to a 62-55 victory.

Florida Atlantic, of course, deserves ample praise. Before this season, the Owls had never won an NCAA Tournament game. Now, they sit one game away from a Final Four.

But for Barnes, this is an all too similar story.

Barnes led Texas to a Final Four appearance in 2003. The Longhorns subsequently made the Elite Eight under Barnes in both 2006 and 2008. Since then, though, Barnes’ teams have been consistent tournament disappointments. Barnes remained at Texas through the 2014-15 season. From 2009-2015, the Longhorns never made it beyond the second round. Since taking over at Tennessee in the 2015-16 season, the Volunteers have twice made it to the Sweet 16, but never beyond.

With all of that in mind, Barnes came under heavy fire as the Volunteers were eliminated by the Owls on Thursday night.

About Michael Dixon

Michael is a writer and editor for The Comeback Media. Fan of most sports and a total nerd when it comes to sports history. Michael spent most of his life in the Bay Area, but lived in Arizona for 2 years and moved to Indiana in April, 2023.

Other loves include good tacos, pizza and obscure Seinfeld quotes.

Feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements. If you do so respectfully, Michael will gladly respond in kind.

Twitter: @mfdixon1985
Email: mdixon@thecomeback.com