After missing on Louisiana Tech’s Michael White, Tennessee might have done even better in hiring Southern Mississippi’s Donnie Tyndall. Tyndall isn’t a big name, but he’s turned around both Morehead State and Southern Miss fairly quickly. He also recruited in the region as an assistant at Middle Tennessee State.
When he took over at Morehead State, the team was going nowhere fast and finished 288th in KenPom his first year. By the end of his run, Morehead State had made two NCAA tournament appearances, and finished inside the KenPom top 100 twice.
One potential red flag against Tyndall is his teams typically allow a ton of threes and a ton of assists. That is mostly due to, and offset by, the gambling, pressure defense he plays which forces a lot of turnovers, but that sort of defense likely works much better in the OVC or CUSA than it does in the SEC. If he can get the type of athletes who will run the defense well, they might be onto something, but it would be a lot more dangerous to give Florida or Kentucky the potential for easy baskets.
Tyndall has turned around two programs, and invigorated two fanbases. He’ll certainly need to do the latter if he is to succeed at Tennessee.