#80 Tennessee Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Tennessee Volunteers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #80
Conference Rank: #8 SEC

Tennessee Team Page#80 Tennessee Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Tennessee Basketball Tickets

Tennessee had a tough season off the court last year. On the court was not much better. The Volunteers went out and grabbed Coach Rick Barnes to help turn the program around. Last year the Volunteers started off pretty strong and beat some good teams like Butler and Arkansas, but the only team they beat after February besides Vanderbilt was LSU.

2014-15 Record: 16-16, 7-11
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Rick Barnes
Coach Record: 0-0 at Tennessee, 604-314 overall

Who’s Out:
Josh Richardson is a significant loss though while Coach Barnes looks to reload. Richardson was almost always on the floor and easily led the team with 16.0 points per game. He added 3.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Richardson was also the most prolific outside shooter on the team. The Volunteers need to find a new go-to-scorer now. Tariq Owens and Willie Carmichael are the other departures who were regular contributors a season ago. Owens was a big-time recruit but only averaged 7.6 minutes per game as a freshman and will now move on. Carmichael started 19 games as a freshman and the big guy played pretty well. He will continue his collegiate career at Western Kentucky.

Who’s In:
This is not a great class by Tennessee or Coach Barnes standards, but that will change soon. For now, this group fills accsome holes and will add depth for the future. Junior college transfer Ray Kasongo and freshman Kyle Alexander will add depth in the frontcourt. Kasongo spent one season at the College of Southern Idaho, where he averaged 6.0 points and 4.9 rebounds. He is not going to be a major scoring threat at Tennessee, but the 6-8, 245 pounder is the big body this team needs. Alexander has potential too and could turn into an impact player as a freshman. The minutes are there to be had. Shembari Phillips, Admiral Schofield and Brad Woodson are the newcomers on the perimeter. Phillips could find minutes at the point this year. The addition of point guard Lamonte Turner would give a big boost to Tennessee. He is not officially eligible yet, but he would be the best point guard on the roster and while he may need some time to adjust, once he does he will step into a starting spot.

Who to Watch:
Armani Moore is one of the more interesting players in the SEC. The 6-4, at least he’s now listed at 6-4, forward averaged 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as a junior. He plays very well as an undersized power forward, but he could also run the show this year. He is a decent passer, but whether or not he can really handle the ball well enough remains to be seen. Ideally, Moore would be out on the wing or at the four spot, but in a pinch, which Tennessee could be in all season long, Moore can run the point. Kevin Punter is an option to run the show too. He is better suited off the ball though. Punter averaged 10.3 points per game last year and knocked down 43 three-pointers, second only to Richardson on the team. Robert Hubbs III showed a lot of potential as a sophomore, averaging 7.2 points per game. He missed most of his freshman campaign, so this is the year when Tennessee could see a big boost in production. Sophomore Detrick Mostella is a great athlete and should be in the mix at the point as needed. Devon Baulkman averaged 4.7 points per game after coming in from the junior college ranks. He can be a very productive shooter and will again play a role off of the bench.

Final Projection:
The backcourt has plenty of options, which is why playing Moore at the four spot works out very well. That could be how Coach Barnes can get his best five players on the floor. But the frontcourt has potential too with the newcomers and Jabari McGhee and Derek Reese. McGhee ended up redshirting last season, but he looked pretty good in the first eight games of the year, most notably against Santa Clara where he scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds in just 19 minutes of action. Reese has much more experience. The 6-8 senior averaged 6.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. Whether this team plays small or big, they do have the talent to compete with some of the better teams in the SEC. Coach Barnes will be bringing in more talent soon too. For now, a trip to the NIT would be a good step for bigger and better things coming down the road.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Armani Moore, Senior, Forward, 10.3 points per game
Kevin Punter, Senior, Guard, 10.3 points per game
Robert Hubbs, Junior, Guard, 7.2 points per game
Jabari McGhee, Freshman, Forward, 3.9 points per game
Derek Reese, Senior, Forward, 6.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.3 (278th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.2 (112, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (222, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.9 (222, 13)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (203, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.1 (222, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.1 (174, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.4 (136, 9)
Assists Per Game: 10.9 (283, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (131, 5)


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