Rick Barnes won’t stop complaining after getting shellacked by Texas A&M basketball

Even though his team lost by almost 20, Rick Barnes doesn’t have the sense to stop complaining about Texas A&M basketball.

Feb 7, 2024; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes during the first
Feb 7, 2024; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes during the first / Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
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Rick Barnes continues to complain about Buzz Williams

Late in the dominating victory by Texas A&M basketball over 6th-ranked Tennessee, Rick Barnes, the coach for the Volunteers, appeared to be livid. He was lighting into the officials on the court, and gesturing over towards the bench for the Aggies. At this point, the game was well out of reach, so it’s almost impossible that anything he could have been complaining about would have had a material impact on the outcome.

As it turned out, that assessment was correct. Barnes was apparently complaining that Texas A&M basketball coach Buzz Williams was too far out on the court and should have received a technical foul.

As the above tweet mentions, this was, technically speaking, correct by the letter of the law. Williams only received a bench warning, when he should have been T’d up.

Having watched this live, what clearly appeared to be happening is that Williams’s original call for a timeout, made before he moved out to the court, was not heard by the referees. Usually, when a coach calls for a timeout like this, they walk out onto the court to sort of bring the players in, which is what Williams’s original trajectory seemed to be. By the time he realized the refs hadn’t heard him, he began to wave his arms around to emphasize that he had been calling for a timeout, at which point they granted it.

Barnes, apparently extremely incensed by this, said in postgame that he would “start telling [his] players if somebody is on the floor, just run him over because that way it is an obvious technical foul.” Who ever said bloodlust never led to innovative solutions?

I am, of course, exaggerating. But this certainly felt like a way for Barnes to vent some frustration in what was an embarrassing loss for his team and program rather than emotion that entirely arose from the substance of the incident.

The Aggies and Volunteers will have an opportunity to settle this score soon enough, as the Maroon and White make their way to Knoxville on February 28. It will be interesting to watch and see if tensions run high in what is a key contest for both sides.

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