Wiedmer: If Tennessee can find consistency, the Vols just might find success deep into March

Tennessee's Jaden Springer, left, shoots while defended by Kentucky's Devin Askew during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Will the real University of Tennessee men's basketball team please stand up?



Because the UT team that outscored woeful Kentucky inside the Wildcats' Rupp Arena on Saturday night by a 34-13 run down the stretch of an 82-71 victory looked like a team easily capable of reaching the Elite Eight round of next month's NCAA Tournament, if not the Final Four.

And that effort wasn't even quite as impressive as what had transpired seven days earlier in Knoxville, when the Vols shredded a somewhat decent Kansas team 80-61 to spur legitimate dreams of reaching the Final Four for the first time in school history as long as they can avoid facing either top-ranked Gonzaga or No. 2 Baylor in a regional final.

"The other night I thought it was the best those guys had done with fighting fatigue throughout the game because I thought they had to because of the foul trouble we were in after the first half with Santi (Vescovi) and Fulky (John Fulkerson)," said Barnes on Monday of his team's effort throughout the UK win.