“It's over and done with. We've got another game Tuesday and we need to get to it.”
KNOXVILLE — More than a full day to reflect did little to lighten Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes' harsh assessment of his team's 78-50 loss Saturday at Alabama.
"You know what?" Barnes said today. "We pretty much got what we deserved."
Barnes' ire with Saturday's performance was clear, but he also drew a line on the gloom he would permit in the wake of the Volunteers' most lopsided loss of the season.
"I think you guys are trying to ask and make too much of it," he told the gathered media. "We got beat. We didn't play well. Plain and simple. They might have played as well as they've played all year. It happens. I hate it. You hate it to happen.
"Do you see yourself coming into a game getting beat by 28, 30 points? No, you don't. ... It's over and done with. We've got another game Tuesday and we need to get to it."
Tennessee, which dropped from 15th to 18th in the Associated Press poll that was released today, hosts South Carolina tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols (18-6, 8-4 SEC) won the first meeting 70-63 last month. The Gamecocks (13-12, 4-8) are on a five-game losing streak that includes a 24-point home loss to Florida on Saturday.
"Again, everybody's capable in this league to win at any time," Barnes said. "We know that. If not, we better know it by now. We certainly should know it after Saturday."
Redshirt for Kent?
Freshman post player Zach Kent has not played since logging a total of 13 minutes in the Vols' first two games of the season. Barnes said Monday that Tennessee is pursuing a redshirt for the 6-foot-10 newcomer.
"We're working on that," Barnes said.
Kent, a Delaware native, is a lanky forward capable of stepping out to hit 3-pointers. He has been an active participant in practice.
"He's gotten better," Barnes said. "He has. He's gotten better. He had some issues early in the year like any freshman, and you work through it. But, yeah, he's gotten better, and we think he's got a great future."
Redshirts have become a common practice under Barnes at Tennessee. Redshirt sophomore guard Lamonte Turner is a key contributor off the bench for the Vols, and redshirt freshman wing Jalen Johnson has been in and out of the rotation this season.
An NCAA tournament projection from ESPN's Joe Lunardi today listed the Vols as a No. 4 seed in the South Regional opening against Vermont in Boise, Idaho. The projection followed Sunday's preview by the tournament selection committee that tabbed Tennessee as the No. 13 overall seed and top No. 4 in the bracket.
All six of the teams Tennessee has lost to this season were ranked in the top 35 of the NCAA Rating Percentage Index released Monday. The Vols are 13th in the RPI.
This story was updated Feb. 12, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.