Vols Coach Rick Barnes Returns to Texas For Opening Round of NCAA Tournament

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is back in Texas, where he led the Longhorns to 16 NCAA appearances in 17 years. That included a trip to the Final Four in 2003. Barnes makes his first NCAA trip with the Vols in his third season. Wright State is in the tournament for the first time since 2007 as Horizon League tournament champion. The Raiders are 0-2 all-time in the tournament and facing the Vols for the first time.

LOOKING FORWARD: The Vols are led by a pair of forwards in unanimous All-SEC first-team choice Grant Williams (15.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Admiral Schofield, who averaged 17 points and 8.3 rebounds in the SEC Tournament.

WRIGHT’S INSPIRATION: Ryan Custer is with Wright State after sustaining a spinal cord injury last April that left him in a wheelchair. He was at the end of the bench when the Raiders won the Horizon tournament. Custer had just finished his freshman season when he was injured jumping into a makeshift pool. “He’s got the hardest job of us all – waking up every day, pushing through some obstacles that some of us have never faced,” freshman center Loudon Love said.

DID YOU KNOW: Barnes is the 13th coach to lead four programs to the NCAA Tournament (one of seven active coaches). He went three times each at Providence and Clemson before taking the Texas job. Barnes has made six trips to the Sweet 16 (one Clemson, five Texas) and three to the Elite Eight (all with Texas).


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