Before Rick Barnes brought his Tennessee team to Lexington, he called Kentucky one of the two best teams in the country, along with Kansas. “I think Kentucky is the most underrated and under-appreciated teams in the country right now,” Barnes said on Monday.
But did he feel the same way last night, moments after the Vols came back from seventeen down to beat Kentucky by eight in Rupp Arena on Senior Night?
“I still believe that,” he said.
“I think that Kentucky and Kansas are the two best teams, and I think Kentucky is the most under-appreciated team in college basketball, and I still believe that,” Barnes told the room.
He then explained how the Vols were able to pull off the upset when Kentucky seemed to be playing its best basketball. By his account, “Kentucky plays as hard as anybody and it’s really a simple formula if you want to win a basketball game. You have to play defense, rebound, and try to control the free throw line. You have to get there if you want to get on the road and win.
“Early in the game, Kentucky was getting to those rebounds, but late we came up with some and the game turned for us when we were able to break the ball loose when they were driving it in transition. Kentucky is as good as anybody in that area, but we started doing it and said they’re going to have to shoot jump shots and then we got out made some plays and some of those offensive stick-backs were big.”
You can hear all of Barnes’ post-win comments in the video below. And let’s hope he is correct about Kentucky.