Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes
“Tonight, we played like the team everybody picked to finish 13th in the Southeastern Conference. We came out and did not do very much of anything of what we talked about. We never were able to really put any game pressure on them. We had a chance a couple of times where we could have gotten (the lead) down around 11 or 12 points. We ended up taking some bad shots.
“When we got down in the first half, we just didn’t execute. Guys were putting their head down and trying to go one-on-one. We just didn’t give ourselves a chance. Not to take anything away from Vanderbilt, because they present problems for us. They can obviously create problems inside with their size. They can also shoot it the way they can. With their size, they are able to pass over us, too. We were trying to double some to start the game but weren’t doing very good.”
(On if he thought Vanderbilt’s size influenced the game)
“I do, and again, I thought we go in there and we want to drive them. We took some bad shots around the rim. We got timid, and we weren’t looking for our shots, but we didn’t run our offense, either. We would drive, but you have to drive and kick them. We thought we could drive them, but look to make the right play. We just didn’t look to make the right play out of them.”
(On what he told the team at halftime)
“A lot of things. You can break it down to them, but the fact is that we just didn’t do anything that we talked about. I didn’t think we played with that kind of energy. I thought we played like a team, too, like we had a nice win Saturday. Like it was going to be easy, but it’s never going to be easy. It’s never going to be easy for us. I thought we were very immature. I think when Armani (Moore) is getting technical fouls out of frustration and those types of things, and we obviously didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, but I didn’t think we looked to take the shots that we should be taking when we were driving. We were not kicking the ball out and doing things we have talked about for the last couple of weeks. They beat us, and the way it was we deserved it because we didn’t give ourselves a chance.”
(On Vanderbilt having 20 assists on 23 field goals)
“They moved the ball. When you’re scrambling around like that you expect to score off of passes too because you’re flying at people, and you’re going to pass the ball. There’s going to be a lot of assists in a situation like that. I think they’re efficient. I think they know how they want to play, and I’m disappointed. We sure didn’t look like we knew how we wanted to play. Vandy’s had some injuries, but they present problems for us unlike a lot of teams because they can really shoot the ball from the three. In college, the only guys that may be able to go in there and stand tall with them and take up a little bit of space were skipping the ball over us, even when we were double teaming them, just to get the ball where they wanted it to go.”
(On the team not having energy)
“It goes back to what I said the other day, ‘proud peacock today, feather duster tomorrow.’ I said it to them when we came back: ‘What you do today looks big to you. You haven’t done anything today.’ I can’t tell you why. We just didn’t execute. You could say with the building not being what it has been, but when you walk between those lines you have to play. We didn’t.
“I thought Kevin Punter took as many bad shots as he has all year. We got down, and instead of staying together, and executing, and trying to grind it out, we didn’t do that. Bad offense will lead to bad defense. In the second half, we were going to come out and try and mix it up, run at them, prolong it. Just try and get some fight back in the game. We got it down. There were a couple of times where maybe we could have put a little bit of pressure on them, but we didn’t because we took some tough shots.”
(On overcoming a deficit in other games this season compared to tonight)
“This reminds me of the Nebraska game. We didn’t put up a fight in that game. I didn’t think we put up a fight tonight when we got down. Whether it was at Butler or Gonzaga, I thought we showed some fight, showed some pride. I didn’t think we had any of that tonight.”
(On Vanderbilt getting open looks because of their size)
“Some of it is. Then they screen. They run their stuff. It’s the same guys getting screened, the same guys that are slow getting into their gaps, or out of their gaps. They didn’t do one thing today that we didn’t think they were going to do. It looked like we still had too many guys thinking offense, offense, offense. We keep talking about taking it to another level defensively, and we really went backwards with that today.”
(On getting Damian Jones in foul trouble and how that affected the game)
“We were just awful today. I don’t know what else to tell you. We didn’t do anything that we wanted to do offensively. We didn’t run anything in transition other than one or two sets maybe, and we have four or five things we can do. We just came down, did the same thing, never got the ball moving. The ball stuck too much. Guys would get the ball and dribble, dribble, dribble. You go back to the games when we are best, the ball is just popping. It’s moving.
“I’m not surprised with Detrick (Mostella). I told coach today that it would surprise me that because he had a big game, like most young players even though he’s played a little bit – Admiral (Schofield) went through it – thinking it was going to be easy every night and he doesn’t stay locked in the way he needs to. We didn’t deserve to win. That was the team that everyone expected us to be at the beginning of the year.”