Rick Barnes said he didn't want to sound like a broken record after Tennessee's dominant win over Auburn on Tuesday in Knoxville. When asked if the victory would provide his team with some confidence and consistency heading into Saturday's game against Missouri. But the Vols' clash with the Tigers proved that Tennessee's record is indeed broken.
Barnes' squad couldn't find its rhythm at any point, falling to the Tigers, 75-64, to snap Missouri's nine-game losing streak. Tennessee fell to 1-11 on the road and continued to show symptoms of utter despair that have plagued it all season away from Thompson-Boling Arena. Despite going up against a team that was last in the SEC standings and came into the game at No. 195 in Ken Pomeroy's rankings, Tennessee simply couldn't find a way to win a rather sloppy affair. What did the Vols in? Let's take a look:
1. First Half Folly
The first half will be one Rick Barnes and his team will want to soon forget. Missouri turned the ball over nine times and connected on just two field goals in the waning 11 minutes off the half, the Vols still managed to trail 38-27 at the break after a dismal performance. Kevin Punter made just one shot in five attempts. Tennessee didn't get a single point from its bench. Robert Hubbs, Detrick Mostella and Admiral Schofield combined for zero points. It was a hole Tennessee simply couldn't climb out of after succumbing to a hot-shooting Tiger team early.
2. Rosburg Rally
Ryan Rosburg averaged less than five points per game for much of the season before turning on the burners in his past three games. The forward averaged 18.3 points in his last three contests and torched Tennessee inside early, ending the game with 21 points and an emphatic dunk that sealed his team's win. The Vols simply had no answer for Rosburg as he knocked down eight of his nine field goal attempts and recorded two blocks. His presence in the post was paramount to the Tigers' big win and exacerbated the Vols' lack of length all afternoon.
3. Free Throws Costly
Tennessee is usually the best free throw shooting team in the SEC with a 74.5 percent shooting percentage from the charity stripe. On Saturday, the Vols died at the free throw line, converting just 58 percent of their 24 attempts in the loss. Tennessee left 10 valuable points on the table in an uncharacteristically bad performance, which proved costly in the end.
4. Where's Hubbs?
After putting up a career-high 20 points against Auburn on Tuesday, slashing wing Robert Hubbs went silent against Missouri. The junior scored just two points on 1-of-3 shooting, and his lone bucket didn't come until nearly eight minutes had passed in the second half. Rick Barnes has harped on the need for Hubbs to produce consistently virtually all season, and he hasn't been able to answer the call.
5. Combo of Bad
The fact that Tennessee's offense was so bad really hindered the play of the defense, which allowed Missouri to shoot 55 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range. With turnovers and missed shots abounding, the Tigers were able to produce 30 points in the paint and really take advantage of the Vols' stagnate offense on their end of the floor. Tennessee ended up making just 21 of its 55 shot attempts and led for just one minute in the game.