For the third straight year, the Vols will not play in the month of March.

After finishing with a 16-16 record, 15-16 in the eyes of the NIT committee, they find themselves as spectators. 

But don't hit the panic button quite yet. It's important to remember Rick Barnes was the third coach in three years when he took over the program.

"That does a lot of damage to a roster. You're doing different systems and you're having guys transfer in and out so you're always having a lot of things happen," said GoVols247's Wes Rucker. "Honestly I think the way they started out so well makes this feel more disappointing than it really was because they were playing above their heads for a while."

In a press conference Monday, Head Coach Rick Barnes mentioned the expectations the team built for themselves only to fall short down the stretch. 

"The most disappointing is the way we finished the year," said Barnes who wants his team to remember how it felt to fall short of their goals. "It's not that you want to harp on them but I want them to feel the sting of what it's like to not meet your goals."

Barnes attributed their struggles to lack of consistency and mental toughness and said improving starts with raising the bar in this off season.