You can't fully appreciate what went wrong for Tennessee in Thursday night's loss to Arkansas without remembering what has gone right.
The Lady Vols had won their last three SEC games by an average of 21 points.
In their last game at Thompson-Boling Arena, they beat then seventh-ranked Kentucky by 37 points.
In their last meeting against Arkansas, they won by 31 points.
That was way too much success for this team to handle.
The only thing these Lady Vols handle worse than prosperity is a close game. So you can imagine the uneasiness emanating from the Thompson-Boling Arena crowd when Arkansas made clutch plays down the stretch to force an overtime period.
Another close game turned into a 72-71 loss and left UT players beating themselves up. It's all so predictable for a team that probably has played its way out of a third consecutive SEC championship.
The Lady Vols still could tie Kentucky for the regular-season championship if they beat Florida at home and Kentucky loses to Mississippi State on Sunday.
You could argue this team doesn't deserve even a fraction's share of the title after all the opportunities it has botched in the second half of the season.
Since beating Arkansas 69-38 in early January, UT has gone 8-5 overall and lost four SEC games, including two on its home court.
No wonder Arkansas was confident it could win — despite the way it embarrassed itself in UT's presence on Jan. 8.
Arkansas wins at Tennessee for the first time in school history
"Every time we huddled up, somebody would say, 'We're winning this game,' " said Arkansas senior guard Lyndsay Harris, who scored a game-high 20 points.
I'm just guessing, but I doubt the same assurance was being expressed in UT huddles. The Lady Vols are now 2-5 in games decided by single digits. They're also 0-2 in overtime play.
"They wanted the game more than we did," UT associate head coach Holly Warlick said afterward.
She espoused similar sentiments after a 64-60 loss to South Carolina three weeks ago on the same floor.
In fact, the Lady Vols are better grieving such outcomes than preventing them.
Senior Shekinna Stricklen was in tears after the defeat, which she blamed on her four missed free throws in overtime. Teammates Glory Johnson and Ariel Massengale quickly pointed out that the team's dreadful first-half play played a greater role in the outcome.
"We weren't focused," Massengale said.
That's hardly breaking news. The team can't maintain its focus much longer than it takes to snap a picture.
And Stricklen is the leading lady when it comes to losing focus. The preseason All-American went 10 minutes of the first half without a point or rebound before her coaches summoned her to the bench. She responded with 17 second-half points.
Her second-half response not only came up short, it served as an indictment of her first-half performance.
But this isn't just about Stricklen. It's about a team whose lack of focus is exceeded only by its inconsistency.
Warlick was asked if she had ever been around a team whose individual performances varied so drastically from one game to the next — or, in some cases, from one half to the next.
"Frankly, no, I have not," she said. "I see their ability and what they can do. When they don't stay close to their potential, it's frustrating."
It's also predictable.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj//twitter.com/johnadamskns.