Vols seeking a remedy for chronic road rash

Florida trip chance to end season-long skid away from home

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin looks on as his players take on South Carolina during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Tenn., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin looks on as his players take on South Carolina during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Tenn., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin can't point to any one reason his Tennessee men's basketball team is 0-7 on the road this season.

But the first-year UT coach listed a number of factors he hopes to have corrected before the Vols (12-12, 4-5 SEC) tip off against No. 8-ranked Florida (19-5, 7-2) today (TV: WVLT, 4 p.m.) in Gainesville, Fla.

"I think it's making the extra pass, playing inside-out and not turning the ball over, more than anything," Martin said Friday. "You don't want to get behind and play catch-up, because you get a tendency to shoot after one pass and get the ball up quickly when you're down big."

As for how Martin manages the trip, he said the script will remain the same, for at least one more game.

"We'll arrive tonight (Friday), go to the hotel and watch film as a team, eat dinner as a team and meet with the team chaplain, just like always," Martin said. "We'll get up and have team breakfast, and then we'll go to their gym for a team shoot-around session. We try to get an hour-and-a-half block, but for sure an hour."

Tennessee is trying to avoid its longest road losing streak since the 2003-04 Vols dropped nine in a row on the road — including all eight in the SEC — under former coach Buzz Peterson.

Tennessee performed admirably in a 62-58 road loss at Mississippi State on Jan. 12, but road losses to Georgia, Vanderbilt and Kentucky have left much to be desired.

"You look at Georgia, we had open shots we didn't make and turnovers," Martin said. "At Vanderbilt, we had quick turnovers and got down big early.

"In (non-conference games at) Oakland and the College of Charleston, we just weren't a very good team, we were still finding our way."

The numbers show that UT turns the ball over an average of 15.8 times per game in opponents' gyms but just 12.7 times in home games.

Shooting numbers vary from player to player: Trae Golden shoots a better percentage from 3-point range on the road (43 percent) than at home (30 percent), as does Jordan McRae (36 percent road, 34 percent home) and Renaldo Woolridge (47 percent road, 33 percent home).

The opposite is true for Cam Tatum (22 percent road, 40 percent home), Josh Richardson (7 percent road, 36 percent home) and Skylar McBee (23 percent road, 47 percent home).

"I think it's confidence; we just have to know we can make those same shots on the road," said McBee, who's coming off a career-high 18-point performance in UT's 69-57 home win over South Carolina on Wednesday.

"I think we have played a little different on the road," he said. "We're a little more hesitant; it's like we think the possessions will be limited so we don't take as many shots as we do at home."

Martin has said he wants his team to be more deliberate on the road, making five or six passes before shooting instead of three or four.

"You've got to grind it out," Martin has said.

Golden, who predicted "a good night for the Vols" the day before UT scored a 67-56 win over Florida in both teams' SEC opener on Jan. 7 in Thompson-Boling Arena, said he's once again confident.

"We have to play one of our best games, but I think we're ready," Golden said. "We just have to make sure we control the tempo down there and not turn the ball over."

Stokes Questionable: Martin said Friday that it will be a game-time decision if freshman Jarnell Stokes plays.

"We'll ask the doctor, and see what he says," Martin said.

Stokes suffered a sprained right hand in Tuesday's practice and dressed but did not play in UT's win over South Carolina.

Martin did not discuss the details of how Stokes got injured other than saying "it was a physical practice with guys getting after it."

Stokes had a soft cast on his hand during Thursday's practice and was limited to non-contact work.

Martin said Stokes isn't expected to have his hand in a cast today.

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

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Comments » 28

born2ride writes:

Another road game.

Another loss.

Flabbergasted writes:

in response to born2ride:

Another road game.

Another loss.

Another negative comment from Born2Wank.

underthehill writes:

A road win..not likely but not impossible..Fla strength is the 3 point shot..if UT can match them there who knows...sure would be special for this team..hope they do it...

volinuptonky writes:

If by some amazing happening we win tomorrow and I hope we do, I predict we will win 10 games in the Conference season. If we do not probably 9. I hope I am not dreaming. I saw something in the SC game that I had not seen. They allowed their lead to shrink but did not give it up and ended up winning by 12, should have been 20 but they are growing. Go Vols and beat the Gators.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

Another negative comment from Born2Wank.

I wouldn't mind born-to-hide's negative comments so much (as we all have them from time to time), but I think he honestly wants Tennessee to lose against the Gators, and everybody else in the SEC. That would make him absolutely giddy. If he has any other motives, he probably needs to talk to a professional who specializes in disturbed individuals.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I liked Golden's talk about controlling the tempo. Martin says we have to grind it out.
All good. We can't give up the tempo early with turnovers.Deliberate accurate passing. Work together to get the ball upcourt. Don't leave Golden bringing the ball up by himself because there will be traps.

Heck I can't even watch the game tonight. Church band rehearsal! Why would anybody schedule a rehearsal during the Florida game!!??
The "scheduler" graduated from UT? Where's his priorities? Church band or UT bball?

Nevertheless go VOLS!

Maybe the Lord will help UT win for my dutiful efforts at practice.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to decades_vol:

I wouldn't mind born-to-hide's negative comments so much (as we all have them from time to time), but I think he honestly wants Tennessee to lose against the Gators, and everybody else in the SEC. That would make him absolutely giddy. If he has any other motives, he probably needs to talk to a professional who specializes in disturbed individuals.

He's just a troll. Don't sweat trolls. As long as they're around, they are worried about us.

This is an opportunity. Everyone expects a loss, so a win would be major.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

It is a very boring style of ball to watch. I hope I don't have to channel surf because we are getting beat by 15 at the half. I can't stand to see the Vols getting pounded - makes me nauseous.

SouthPaVol writes:

Tempo? TEMPO! If we pass the ball 3-4 times at home and win most games...then pass the ball 5-6 times on the road and loose all games...my question is Why? Why slow the tempo and change what works? We have race horses--scoring machines--held over from Pearl recruits. Don't hook these guys to an apple cart, let them run. Run fast breaks, run plays, and put the ball in the hole. Score !#*&!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Win and everything is forgiven. Fans wouldn't mind if every trip down the floor took 30 seconds if the ball went in the basket a high percentage of the time. Problem is it doesn't. It is hard to appreciate defense. It is the art of making something not happen.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

Tempo? TEMPO! If we pass the ball 3-4 times at home and win most games...then pass the ball 5-6 times on the road and loose all games...my question is Why? Why slow the tempo and change what works? We have race horses--scoring machines--held over from Pearl recruits. Don't hook these guys to an apple cart, let them run. Run fast breaks, run plays, and put the ball in the hole. Score !#*&!

They lost when they would pass 1-2 times on the road. CCM's direction is to instill discipline. Do you think each player is counting each pass waiting for the green light to come on? It is a reminder not to take a shot after only a couple of passes.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm guessing none of you like chess? TV baseball? Or any game with great defense?
Try volleyball. That's fast-paced. Try RACING if you want to see boring. Round and round and round...read a book!! Nah that's probably out.
Oh well I wish I could watch the "boring" game.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Win and everything is forgiven. Fans wouldn't mind if every trip down the floor took 30 seconds if the ball went in the basket a high percentage of the time. Problem is it doesn't. It is hard to appreciate defense. It is the art of making something not happen.

Exactly! Most people thought Mears' teams were pretty entertaining even though they played a very deliberate style. I was an undergrad in those days and Stokely was crowded and rockin' most nights. It does take a certain sophistication to appreciate good defense, but there ARE no big-time winners who don't play it well.

I disagree with another poster who said these guys were recruited by Pearl to run. That might be true of McRae and possibly even Golden, but the fact is that Pearl's last couple of teams really DIDN'T run that well, so they didn't run MUCH, either. I would hope that in time Martin's teams will play with more precise execution on offense. It is also possible that if he gets more talented players, especially ball-handlers, they may pick up the tempo.

However, tough defense will always be something he will insist on. Even though it may seem a long way off, winning basketball at tournament time is nearly always determined by good defense and an ability to execute in the half-court offense. One could count the number of true run-n-gun champions without taking your shoes off to say the least.

writer#358485 writes:

Me too! I also have a church commitment, but I'll catch as much as I can by radio--if I can get it down here in Georgia. I personally prefer a good defense, basketball or football, any day. Of course, I remember Gen. Neyland and the great defenses he built. Obviously I'm from a different era when things were much less "gotta-have-it-now", whatever "it" is. Go Vols, beat Florida!

IBAVolFan writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

It is a very boring style of ball to watch. I hope I don't have to channel surf because we are getting beat by 15 at the half. I can't stand to see the Vols getting pounded - makes me nauseous.

Its a return to Buzz ball.

IBAVolFan writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

Another negative comment from Born2Wank.

Truth hurts.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to IBAVolFan:

Its a return to Buzz ball.

YouNotBeAVolFan

CoverOrange writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Exactly! Most people thought Mears' teams were pretty entertaining even though they played a very deliberate style. I was an undergrad in those days and Stokely was crowded and rockin' most nights. It does take a certain sophistication to appreciate good defense, but there ARE no big-time winners who don't play it well.

I disagree with another poster who said these guys were recruited by Pearl to run. That might be true of McRae and possibly even Golden, but the fact is that Pearl's last couple of teams really DIDN'T run that well, so they didn't run MUCH, either. I would hope that in time Martin's teams will play with more precise execution on offense. It is also possible that if he gets more talented players, especially ball-handlers, they may pick up the tempo.

However, tough defense will always be something he will insist on. Even though it may seem a long way off, winning basketball at tournament time is nearly always determined by good defense and an ability to execute in the half-court offense. One could count the number of true run-n-gun champions without taking your shoes off to say the least.

UNLV with the Shark and Houston with Phi Slamma Jamma is about all I can think of. But then again, for all the defense intensity of Izzo at Michigan St, he's won only one championship.

kyvol98 writes:

HAHAHA We win! Wanna debate me on Cuonzo being a good coach? Didn't think the dbag's would come out to play.

devo-evol writes:

martin owns donavan! any comment Giselle!

kyvol98 writes:

Trolls????? hello???? Cuonzo OWNS Eddie Munster.
Gators....

devo-evol writes:

in response to IBAVolFan:

Truth hurts.

uuhhhh, what truth. truth is the vols are 2-0 vs Gators!

jt45 writes:

You gotta love a sweep of florida !
Good job setting the tempo and keeping them out of their 3 point game.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

VOLS WIN!!

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Another road game.

Another loss.

Another incorrect post!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

UNLV with the Shark and Houston with Phi Slamma Jamma is about all I can think of. But then again, for all the defense intensity of Izzo at Michigan St, he's won only one championship.

Obviously, the true champions play great offense and great defense. However, it is possible to play great offense even if you don't score a lot of points. It's all about being the best team on the floor when it counts, not what everybody's averages are.

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

UNLV with the Shark and Houston with Phi Slamma Jamma is about all I can think of. But then again, for all the defense intensity of Izzo at Michigan St, he's won only one championship.

UNLV in 90 and UCLA in 95...Houston never won one...a national title that is..

movinonup writes:

in response to born2ride:

Another road game.

Another loss.

Oh, so sorry you are having to find something else to do tonight (and sure we do NOT want to know what that is) besides post trash on here. Way to go vols !!!!!

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