It’s been less than a week since Florida Atlantic put what was a promising Tennessee basketball season to rest across Tennessee sports betting, upsetting the Volunteers in the Sweet 16, 62-55.
The third-round loss to the Owls wrapped up a 25-11 season in which Tennessee entered the year like a lion (ranked 11th in the AP preseason poll) and exited like a lamb, with the Vols losing their third Sweet 16 appearance in a row, dating back to 2014.
With the defeat to ninth-seeded FAU, which over at BetMGM Tennessee Sportsbook is +625 to win the national championship, Vols head coach Rick Barnes had his tournament record drop to 27-27. Barnes and the Vols failied to make it to his second Final Four (and first since leading Texas to the national semifinal in 2003).
Barnes also happens to have the most regular season wins (754 of them, to be exact) of any active coach who has yet to win a national championship.
With Barnes now sitting atop a list that few coaches would envy, BetTennessee.com wanted to contextualize where the longtime college figure stands among his peers.
Most Wins Among Active CBB Coaches, No National Championships
1. Rick Barnes (754 wins)
2. Dana Altman (710 wins)
3. Kelvin Sampson (699 wins)
4. Jim Larrañaga (696 wins)
5. Greg Kampe (662 wins)
6. Mark Few (658 wins)
7. Steve Alford (635 wins)
8. Bruce Pearl (626 wins)
9. Leonard Hamilton (596 wins)
Most NCAA Tournament Wins, No Titles
1. Mark Few (41 wins)
2. Bob Huggins (34 wins)
3. Rick Barnes (27 wins)
4. Kelvin Sampson (24 wins)
5. Dana Altman (16 wins)
Is Rick Barnes The Most Snakebit CBB Coach in America?
Barnes has now made the Big Dance 27 times, dating back to his first run to the tournament with the Providence Friars in 1989.
BetTennessee.com broke down the numbers, using regular season and NCAA Tournament wins and Final Four appearances to determine our list.
The top active coach in the country, in terms of tournament wins with zero titles, is Gonzaga’s Mark Few, who has reached two Final Fours and won 41 games in the event while failing to win a title in Spokane.
Next up is West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, who has pulled off 34 wins in the tournament at Cincinnati, Kansas State and West Virginia, reaching the semifinal round twice with the Bearcats and Mountaineers (in 1992 and 2010).
By that metric, Barnes would rank third on our list, with his 27 March Madness victories and lone Final Four appearance in 2003.
The longtime Vols’ head coach ranks ahead of Houston’s Kelvin Sampson (24 wins, 2 Final Four berths) and Oregon’s Dana Altman (16 wins, 1 Final Four), finishing in third place as the “most snakebit” coach in college basketball.
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Could 2024 Be Barnes’ Year?
There’s good news on the horizon for Barnes, as the Vols currently have the 17th-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports.com.
So far, Barnes has signed three prospects to that class; four-stars JP Estrella and Cameron Carr and three-star power forward Cade Phillips.
With lots of time to round out his recruiting class with players in the NCAA’s transfer portal, there’s reason to believe that 2024 could be the year for Barnes to break through across Tennessee betting apps and win his first ring.
For now, it’s back to the drawing board for the college basketball stalwart and his cadre of assistants, as Tennessee looks to right the wrongs that upended their season in this year’s Big Dance.