Cuonzo Martin hints at changes in lineup

Coach Martin talks about junior guard, Kenny Hall

Cuonzo Martin made it a point to get defensive at his Monday afternoon press luncheon.

The Tennessee men’s basketball coach is hoping his team will be ready to do the same when the Vols (3-5) take the court at the College of Charleston (7-1) on Wednesday (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.).

Martin hinted changes to the starting lineup and/or playing rotation are being considered on the heels of UT’s third consecutive loss, a 74-70 setback to Austin Peay (2-9) on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

“We’re definitely looking into it as we speak,’’ Martin said. “You look at every scenario. For us, we have to have a defensive mind-set, and I don’t know if we have that right now.’’

Martin has not changed the starting lineup since the start of the season, but UT’s loss to the Governors of the Ohio Valley Conference was troubling. The Vols squandered a 12-point lead in the second half and allowed Austin Peay to shoot 72 percent in the second half.

The Cougars, coached by Bobby Cermins, defeated UT last season in Thompson-Boling Arena, 91-78.

“I think our guys are working at better defense,’’ Martin said. “More than anything, it’s personal pride when you’re playing defense, and not just thinking you can outscore them.

“In order for our team to be successful, we have to defend; you weigh all your options.’’

Martin indicated a change in playing rotations isn’t meant to be a threat so much as a possible solution to make the team better.

It’s not Martin’s philosophy to use the bench as punishment.

“I don’t necessarily coach with an iron fist, because after a while that wears down,’’ he said. “You have to have guys understand what you’re doing, the level you are trying to do it, and make them comprehend it. It’s one thing to get a guy to embrace what you’re doing as long term, as opposed to a guy doing it because you have your foot on his throat.

“When guys understand what’s at stake, and how to study film, then you have long-term success, because then it’s passed down, as far as how to do things.’’

Martin said he felt good about the play of his big men, post Kenny Hall and Jeronne Maymon, and said that senior wing Cameron Tatum has bought into his defensive philosophy.

That leaves point guard Trae Golden and shooting guard Jordan McRae as the starters seemingly on the spot.

“We have guys that are built to be offensive players, whether they are good, great or average, but now they have to understand for us to have long-term success everybody has to defend and you have to do your part,’’ Martin said. “We have proven we can score points, but you have to be able to defend for us to be successful as a team.’’

The Vols rank 31st in the nation in scoring (79.3 points per game) and 59th in field goal percentage (47.0), but they are 284th (out of 345 teams) in scoring defense (73.1) and are ranked 260th in field goal percentage defense (45.0).

Freshman Wes Washpun is the backup point guard but has struggled running offensive sets.

Walk-on Brandon Lopez from Austin-East High School, however, has impressed Martin with his defensive skills at the point, and freshman Josh Richardson has exhibited skills at the point and shooting guard positions.

Martin said Tatum and Richardson have proven to be the best perimeter defenders.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 62

johnlg00 writes:

It is just a fact that there are a lot of one-dimensional players on this team. There are very few players one could look at and say that he is at least competent in all areas. Personally, I think he needs to tweak the lineup just to send the message that poor, uninspired play is unacceptable. That may make more of an impression on them than yelling at them during games, though I admit I would likely do some of that, too.

VolunteerLifer writes:

We have had too much trouble scoring and defending on the perimeter. Too many opposition guards are having their way with us. Though Golden isn't doing great at pg, I wouldn't make a change there for the sake of continuity. He is still very inexperienced, but the guy behind him is even more so. But I don't know what Tatum and McRae are doing for us at the 2 and 3. I would be giving their back-ups more minutes in hope of spurring them to either play harder and better or else.

vol49 writes:

Open tryouts to any kids on campus that want to SERIOUSLY PLAY THE GAME.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to vol49:

Open tryouts to any kids on campus that want to SERIOUSLY PLAY THE GAME.

I'll be there coach!

VolMoment writes:

One of the greatest coaches of all time did not yell. John Wooden!!!!!!!

MikeInTN writes:

How ugly will it get this year???

FanNotSheep writes:

The problem is the team is regressing. (That means getting worse instead of better for all you trolls) If Cuonzo was a good coach, we would see more defensive effort in game 8 than in game 1, better boxing out, and a better team-wide understanding of the motion offense.

At this rate, by the end of the season we will be getting beat 80-12 by Maryville… High School.

Looks like UT's brain trust has allowed the program to Wade back into the Houston era.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I don't know what this article was saying...but anyhow I'd like to see some in game pressure from the bench...I'd love it to be the players. Maybe makenjuola thelling Hall that if he can't dunk a few that "I will"! Richardson maybe tells Golden that if he can't shoot then move over. Or Miller telling someone playing that, "Hey I'm coming in for you if you don't start defending! McBee telling Golden that "Even I can guard better than that!". Our bench and our starters don't appear to be hungry enough! Maybe they are but the new system is too much for them to handle? Martin shoudn't be the one embarrassed by APSU. The players should be running sprints on their own! Also if Maymon or any inside player is open and the ballhandler doesn't get them the ball I'd sit the so-called ballhandler. A long while. I don't know that that was a problem but for whatever reason APSU shut our inside down 2nd half. I'm really just thinking about it and happen to be on the computer. Have been all day.LOL

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

The problem is the team is regressing. (That means getting worse instead of better for all you trolls) If Cuonzo was a good coach, we would see more defensive effort in game 8 than in game 1, better boxing out, and a better team-wide understanding of the motion offense.

At this rate, by the end of the season we will be getting beat 80-12 by Maryville… High School.

Looks like UT's brain trust has allowed the program to Wade back into the Houston era.

I'm just curious WHY the reference to Wade Houston? Who happens to be similar to Martin in other ways? Houston's coaching has nothing to do with Martin. Houston Did bring us one of our alltime greats in Allan. It was worth his coaching just for that. He (to me) was an excellent asst. coach and deserved a try at head coach. It didn't work. soooo he doesn't really deserve the bashing I see on here. Martin has proven at his former stay that he is a head coach. He may prove to be SEC caliber with time. Heck he's better than a few other SEC coaches now.IMHO

Razor784 writes:

First change i'd make is to put Cameron Tatum at the end of the bench, second i'd put Golden into a reserve role and give McBee a chance at starting. Our bigs are matching up ok in the losses, our guards are getting us killed especially on he defensive end.

hikerdude writes:

in response to Razor784:

First change i'd make is to put Cameron Tatum at the end of the bench, second i'd put Golden into a reserve role and give McBee a chance at starting. Our bigs are matching up ok in the losses, our guards are getting us killed especially on he defensive end.

Surely you aren't serious. For every point McBee scores, he gives up two.

westknoxrepub writes:

Let's see, we're playing our most talented players and losing, the Atlantic Sun All-Stars he's got on the bench, and the one's he's signed to scholarships won't allow things to get better.

HtownVol writes:

in response to Razor784:

First change i'd make is to put Cameron Tatum at the end of the bench, second i'd put Golden into a reserve role and give McBee a chance at starting. Our bigs are matching up ok in the losses, our guards are getting us killed especially on he defensive end.

I dont get that at all.

Have you seen McBee play defense? It is not a lack of effort is just the fact that he is too slow to guard anyone.

If McBee were more of a scorer it would be managable but he can not create his own shot and he is scared to pull the trigger half the time.

McBe is by far the best shooter on the team but I see a few times in every game when he has a shot but does not take it. If he will learn to shoot the second he has a good shot then his numbers will go up.

Until that time McBee is too much of a liability on defense.

I am not being sarcatic when I say that in most games this season when McBee has entered the opponents have gone to the man he is guarding right away and in 2 games that I can remember (memphis is one) McBees man scored on the first 4 possesions when he was in on defense. Please check the tape if you do not beleive me.

I am very happy to see Woolridge sitting.

Kenny Hall is never going to learn that traveling is not allowed and that is the only way he can score.

I am very tired of seeing Golden think he can drive to the rim. How many times does he have to get the ball smacked back at his face to understand?

Tatum is scared to dunk a ball with power.

UT's best scorer is McRae. Maybe try to make him more of a focal point on offense?

If there is a change to be made I vote for Yemi coming in for Hall. Kenny is a foul and travel machine.

Oh, and when Maymon is unstoppable (like vs Peay) FEED HIM THE BALL!

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

We have had too much trouble scoring and defending on the perimeter. Too many opposition guards are having their way with us. Though Golden isn't doing great at pg, I wouldn't make a change there for the sake of continuity. He is still very inexperienced, but the guy behind him is even more so. But I don't know what Tatum and McRae are doing for us at the 2 and 3. I would be giving their back-ups more minutes in hope of spurring them to either play harder and better or else.

Disagree about Golden. He lost the Memphis game single-handedly, then denied his team at least a shot at a win vs Pitt. Riding the pine might help him remember a little better. This team has nothing to lose.

HtownVol writes:

I should have said "check the espn3 replay" instead of "tape" tape has not been used since Wade Houston was at UT.

Flabbergasted writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pearl couldn't do any better with these players.
Tatum peaked as a freshman. Renaldo was a Pearl signee and can't get on the court (thank God).
Pearl's team got blown out several times last year. Get it in your head that BP is gone forever.

underthehill writes:

I had hoped to see defense and rebounding. Rebounding appears to be getting better. Defense..No..May need to play some zone..Hope Washpun comes on at point..Golden needs to be shooting guard..

taylorsvolfan writes:

Put Golden under the bench.

jomo11 writes:

Charleston had to go into overtime to beat Chattanooga at home

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

Disagree about Golden. He lost the Memphis game single-handedly, then denied his team at least a shot at a win vs Pitt. Riding the pine might help him remember a little better. This team has nothing to lose.

I can see your point. However, he is still a better pg at this time than Washpun, and I think he has a higher up-side than Washpun, and that is your only alternative. Remember, Golden was very lightly played last season, and he wasn't a point guard in HS. He's very inexperienced, but he's the most experienced we've got. I think you don't sit him until you've given up on him and decided to invest everything in Washpun, which might happen later this year, but I doubt it.

iowavol writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Didn't see the presser, but obvious this article is about half written. Disappointing, not that there is that much to report that you need to take short cuts.

VolnTex writes:

Maybe Coach Summitt could teach Coach Martin "The Stare". It's worked for her for years.

SneakyPete writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I'm just curious WHY the reference to Wade Houston? Who happens to be similar to Martin in other ways? Houston's coaching has nothing to do with Martin. Houston Did bring us one of our alltime greats in Allan. It was worth his coaching just for that. He (to me) was an excellent asst. coach and deserved a try at head coach. It didn't work. soooo he doesn't really deserve the bashing I see on here. Martin has proven at his former stay that he is a head coach. He may prove to be SEC caliber with time. Heck he's better than a few other SEC coaches now.IMHO

Thank you M&VF for beating me to the punch. I think you brought out the ovious without getting into details that would be nasty. Some people never will rid themselves of uncalledfor venom.

IBAVolFan writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

The problem is the team is regressing. (That means getting worse instead of better for all you trolls) If Cuonzo was a good coach, we would see more defensive effort in game 8 than in game 1, better boxing out, and a better team-wide understanding of the motion offense.

At this rate, by the end of the season we will be getting beat 80-12 by Maryville… High School.

Looks like UT's brain trust has allowed the program to Wade back into the Houston era.

He should have been with this team this summer instead of coaching the USA team. He could have figured out some problems.

SummittsCourt writes:

I live in Charleston and this team is for real. The arena will be loud and they will not be intimidated by an SEC team, especially one who is struggling.

vol75 writes:

By game eight, everyone has scouted your weaknesses. This team has some talent, but no identity. There is no go-to player for a crucial basket. The post game is weak and has been for the last three years. There is no point guard with leadership skills. Coach Martin is correct in his assessment that this team only wins by playing defense and playing unselfishly as a team. It will take this year to establish a culture of intensity and toughness. All these opinions, including mine, really don't matter. It will take time and determination.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

Pearl couldn't do any better with these players.
Tatum peaked as a freshman. Renaldo was a Pearl signee and can't get on the court (thank God).
Pearl's team got blown out several times last year. Get it in your head that BP is gone forever.

While I want get into the Pearl vs Martin discussion I will say this...if you know anything at all you would know CBP could win with VERY LITTLE TALENT on the floor...if he showed us anything at all...It would be that.....

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to vol75:

By game eight, everyone has scouted your weaknesses. This team has some talent, but no identity. There is no go-to player for a crucial basket. The post game is weak and has been for the last three years. There is no point guard with leadership skills. Coach Martin is correct in his assessment that this team only wins by playing defense and playing unselfishly as a team. It will take this year to establish a culture of intensity and toughness. All these opinions, including mine, really don't matter. It will take time and determination.

Like your comment. Everybody seems to be bashing Martin for UT's recent woes (yes, the AP game was awful, especially down the stretch). But think about this: UT has a team of complimentary players, nothing more. Maymon can play like a beast, but no one can make him taller. Hall has a forward's body but he has had to play down on the blocks every since he put on a Tennessee uniform. Yemi can't miraculously put on thirty pounds of muscle by Wednesday night. As for the perimeter players, there is some talent, but none of them can shoot lights out nor can they beat very many people off the dribble. This team has to bring it hard at both ends, belly-to-belly defense and get patient, good looks when they have the ball. Look, this team has already shown it can play competitively against Duke, Memphis and Pitt. But on the other hand, UT doesn't have the personnel to just walk out on the court and beat anybody. Austin Peay made that very clear on Saturday.

OrangeShmee writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The "apologists" I've read on here I think would agree with your simplistic strategies. I doesn't change the fact that a coach and players need time to learn from and react to each other. It takes longer I think in football. Let me see you stay in front of the Hamilton kid. I haven't liked Golden's play much since his big game(darn hot that game). but as others have suggested He seems to be a 2 right now instead of a one. He IS good at dishing the ball off when he wants to.
We need to get it inside more plain and simple on offense.
We ALL knew we'd lose some this year. The fact that they played a couple of seemingly overrated teams close has us thinking they're being selfish and lazy. I don't think that's the case. It's simply a new system and new team. (Well maybe they are a little selfish sometimes)

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Razor784:

First change i'd make is to put Cameron Tatum at the end of the bench, second i'd put Golden into a reserve role and give McBee a chance at starting. Our bigs are matching up ok in the losses, our guards are getting us killed especially on he defensive end.

Tatum at the end of the bench??? Give me a break!! You don't bench a senior who's played major minutes on 3 NCAA tourney teams and has a 12 ppg average..To be honest Tatum has one hole in his game his whole career.He is a hot and cold shooter and game to game it can be a real problem..Tatum kept us in the game at oakland than went stone cold in another..Same can be said for Golden and McRae..Like it or not one big reason we lost to APSU is Golden and McRae shot something like 1 for 17 from the floor!! Shoddy defense aside had they shot a meager 35% that would be 12 points and a win

Madkels writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kinda like my patience is running thin on Dooley?

Besides, I don't have too much patience when a team loses a 12 point lead at HOME and allows a 1-9 team to shoot 72% in the 2nd half. DUH!

Let me ask you, when does your patience run out? What will be the measurement you will use to decide you have seen enough?

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

Defense wins games (man to man and zones) need to be used.
6'10" - 6'11" - 7"0" Any Questions?
Start recruiting Division 1 players with desire and heart to play a full game.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to tgiles1944#654264:

Defense wins games (man to man and zones) need to be used.
6'10" - 6'11" - 7"0" Any Questions?
Start recruiting Division 1 players with desire and heart to play a full game.

It might help if he started recruiting division I players period instead of the jokes he's signed thus far.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to HtownVol:

I dont get that at all.

Have you seen McBee play defense? It is not a lack of effort is just the fact that he is too slow to guard anyone.

If McBee were more of a scorer it would be managable but he can not create his own shot and he is scared to pull the trigger half the time.

McBe is by far the best shooter on the team but I see a few times in every game when he has a shot but does not take it. If he will learn to shoot the second he has a good shot then his numbers will go up.

Until that time McBee is too much of a liability on defense.

I am not being sarcatic when I say that in most games this season when McBee has entered the opponents have gone to the man he is guarding right away and in 2 games that I can remember (memphis is one) McBees man scored on the first 4 possesions when he was in on defense. Please check the tape if you do not beleive me.

I am very happy to see Woolridge sitting.

Kenny Hall is never going to learn that traveling is not allowed and that is the only way he can score.

I am very tired of seeing Golden think he can drive to the rim. How many times does he have to get the ball smacked back at his face to understand?

Tatum is scared to dunk a ball with power.

UT's best scorer is McRae. Maybe try to make him more of a focal point on offense?

If there is a change to be made I vote for Yemi coming in for Hall. Kenny is a foul and travel machine.

Oh, and when Maymon is unstoppable (like vs Peay) FEED HIM THE BALL!

I agree with most of your post;Martin's option off the bench are limited and I don't see a sound method to what he's teaching on defense IE..guards switching off as opposition throws screens;collapsing in the paint on driving guards and shutting down all these guards who seem to have career games against us.If you want to see great defense watch the 2010 team in the tourney against SDSU;Ohio and Ohio State.Pearl's coaching and prep in those games were a highlight in his career;Say what you want about Bruce but he is twice the defensive coach as Martin..One thing sticks out with this team...When Maymon has a decent game;we almost always win if 2 players combined{{McRAE;Golden or Tatum}} shoot well and put up a combined 30 points..The only exception being the Oakland game. Better defense would certainly help but the biggest problem is very inconsistent shooting from those 3 players..McRae probably has the most potential to turn that around which he showed by having 2 back to back 25 point games..If you look at most successful NCAA teams that don't have domination in the post what they do have is 2 guards that consistently shoot 45% no matter who they play

martinvol34 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

The problem is the team is regressing. (That means getting worse instead of better for all you trolls) If Cuonzo was a good coach, we would see more defensive effort in game 8 than in game 1, better boxing out, and a better team-wide understanding of the motion offense.

At this rate, by the end of the season we will be getting beat 80-12 by Maryville… High School.

Looks like UT's brain trust has allowed the program to Wade back into the Houston era.

Aren't your little references just the cutest. You obviously have the coaching skills to be the head coach. Oh, no you don't because you're not the head coach. Oops!

kingofthevols writes:

And we passed on Rick Byrd for this?

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ahh no... did you not see the score from last seasons Pearl led team when they played College of Charleston? Coach Zo got this. Just sit on your hands as always.

Head Coach - Cuonzo Martin
Out of Coaching for lying - Bruce Pearl

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to kingofthevols:

And we passed on Rick Byrd for this?

We passed on Rick Byrd because he's a phoney. . .play two difficult opponents a year, lose to them, then play the easiest schedule in the easiest conference and bam, you're one and done in the tournament. Hamilton should have kept Pearl on, but barring that he should have spent alot of money to lure a good coach here to continue the momentum Pearl built. Instead we get another Blue Light Special hire who loses to Austin Peay and can't recruit.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

We passed on Rick Byrd because he's a phoney. . .play two difficult opponents a year, lose to them, then play the easiest schedule in the easiest conference and bam, you're one and done in the tournament. Hamilton should have kept Pearl on, but barring that he should have spent alot of money to lure a good coach here to continue the momentum Pearl built. Instead we get another Blue Light Special hire who loses to Austin Peay and can't recruit.

Wes - if he lands Stokes will you retract your comments?

Bubba_Knows writes:

This team sucks!

Willis writes:

262 DAYS TILL FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!!

JayTee writes:

You can't run an offense with a point guard who doesn't know the roll of what a PG is supposed to be doing and wants be THE shooter.
You can't play defense until you control the offense.

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to JayTee:

You can't run an offense with a point guard who doesn't know the roll of what a PG is supposed to be doing and wants be THE shooter.
You can't play defense until you control the offense.

Actually you can. If you're Bruce Pearl and you and your staff can teach players a harassing style of full-court and trapping defense that exhausts opponents just trying to bring the ball in after a made shot, a timeout or any play stoppage.

And a roll is what you have with Christmas Dinner or what Pearl's first several teams were on as they raced to break all the school's basketball records. Maybe you meant role.

Theo writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I'm just curious WHY the reference to Wade Houston? Who happens to be similar to Martin in other ways? Houston's coaching has nothing to do with Martin. Houston Did bring us one of our alltime greats in Allan. It was worth his coaching just for that. He (to me) was an excellent asst. coach and deserved a try at head coach. It didn't work. soooo he doesn't really deserve the bashing I see on here. Martin has proven at his former stay that he is a head coach. He may prove to be SEC caliber with time. Heck he's better than a few other SEC coaches now.IMHO

I noticed the same not so subtle reference. I wonder if Westknoxrepub has a new name?
Coach M is going to be fine. I believe he will make us proud in both his personal professionalism and the way his teams play and behave. It could be a lot worse - I'd take building the program the right way rather than the disgusting behaviors at the Cincy/Xavier game.

abnerPeabody writes:

Bruce Pearl lost a lot of games last year.His recruits,even though some were highly rated,were not panning out as hoped. Martin was left with these players. We can see now that Peral could not win with them and neither can Martin. Martin has not improved the personell with the players he has gotten. At least on paper and in my opinion he has not.There may be some surprises but I wouldn't bet on it.

It not only takes good coaching to win,it also takes good players. At this time, I do not see either at Tennessee.
My Christmas wish is for Football and Basketball to become enjoyable again. I don't see it happening until better players are brought in.

I will not take anything away from Martin or Dooley just yet. An excellent Coach can seem like a very poor coach when there is second tier talent.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I wasn't arguing with your strategy. I was pointing out the fact that Hamilton at least that night was a blur. Our defense looked to be in slomo! He made us look as bad as we were that night. We've had more than one game where our point defense or just the 2 defense has hurt us.
It didn't help that our offense collapsed at the final 5 minutes either. So you are correct that Martin needs to correct some things. I think he will.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Theo:

I noticed the same not so subtle reference. I wonder if Westknoxrepub has a new name?
Coach M is going to be fine. I believe he will make us proud in both his personal professionalism and the way his teams play and behave. It could be a lot worse - I'd take building the program the right way rather than the disgusting behaviors at the Cincy/Xavier game.

Wow, playing the race card when I've never made a racist comment on the board. Anyone who objectivly looks at Martin's signees should have concerns, and anyone who objectivly looks at the way this season has gone so far shouldn't be on a badnwagon. Our best win is against a Division II team, it's unacceptable. His recruiting thus far has been unacceptable.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

Wes - if he lands Stokes will you retract your comments?

If he lands Stokes in January, from what I've heard he's really only beat out Arkansas for him, since reportedly Memphis and Kentucky don't have a scholarship to offer him. If Stokes decides to wait until next year to play, and chooses us over Arkansas, Memphis and Kentucky, I'd be willing to give him a little more credit.

givehim6 writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

Pearl couldn't do any better with these players.
Tatum peaked as a freshman. Renaldo was a Pearl signee and can't get on the court (thank God).
Pearl's team got blown out several times last year. Get it in your head that BP is gone forever.

How soon some do forget CBP had UT in the sweet 16 every year he wore the HC hat. Just hope the BP haters are happy they ran the most winningest mens coach UT has had in a few years off, hope UT can get him back in 2014 or 2015. Pearl got blown out as you put in because of the suspensions he was under, he was not allowed near his team even for practices. But UT still made it to the sweetsixteen.

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