Mike Strange: Vols' overinflated bubble gets popped

Alabama guard Andrew Steele (22) tries to keep control of the ball while being pressured by Tennessee's Trae Golden (11) as Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) watches during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 62-50. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)

Alabama guard Andrew Steele (22) tries to keep control of the ball while being pressured by Tennessee's Trae Golden (11) as Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) watches during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 62-50. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Can we call a halt to the talk of bubbles and brackets?

Please. I don't want to hear a peep about RPI this week.

A four-game winning streak had ignited late-season NCAA tournament talk for those who orbit in the Tennessee basketball world.

A stretch, but, hey, fair enough. And certainly Saturday's visit to Alabama appeared winnable with the Crimson Tide's two leading scorers on indefinite suspension.

Still, to interject a team with UT's résumé into Big Dance speculation worked best looking through orange-colored lenses. It was going to take a February/March near-miracle to make the Vols relevant on Selection Sunday.

Bottom line, Tennessee had a ton to prove.

And Saturday in Coleman Coliseum it ran into another team with something to prove.

"Coach said the hungriest team hunts best," said UT junior Jeronne Maymon.

Short-handed Alabama called in the Foreign Legion and hunted up a 62-50 victory, a badly needed one, and deflated Tennessee's overinflated bubble.

Missing suspended top scorers JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell, the Tide called on a pair of import 7-footers.

Moussa Gueye of Senegal blocked six shots, Carl Engstrom of Sweden had seven points and seven rebounds. Several native sons stepped it up as well.

"We're a team," said freshman Trevor Lacey, who scored 18 points. "We all have a piece of the pie."

It was a disappointing result for UT coach Cuonzo Martin, both the end product and how it came to be.

One week earlier, his team went into Gainesville and thoroughly beat No. 8 Florida at both ends of the floor to earn its first road win of the season.

Wednesday night, following another strong win over Arkansas in Knoxville, Martin was asked to anticipate going back on the road.

He said that if the Vols lost on the road from here on out, it wouldn't be because of their previous vulnerabilities. It wouldn't be, he said, pulling numbers out of the air, because they made 20 turnovers or went oh-for-15 from the 3-point line. It would be because they got beat by a better team.

Alabama was a better team for two hours Saturday. But Martin had to cringe when he looked at UT's box score:

The Vols made 17 turnovers and were 4-of-20 from the 3-point line. Ouch and ouch.

So if you were on the NCAA tourney selection committee and tuned in to evaluate the Vols and the Tide, forget all the stats. Throw out the RPI and the strength of schedule.

Just use the old standard, the eye test.

"Alabama did a good job protecting their home court," Martin said. "I told the team that the hungriest team is gonna find a way to win."

With 16:42 to play, either team was in shape to find a way. Alabama's previous 10-point lead was whittled to 34-33 on a Maymon free throw.

The following 11 minutes were a nightmare for the guys in orange. Alabama ran off an 18-2 spurt that was fueled with Tennessee turnovers.

Tide guard Andrew Steele ought to legally change his name to Steal. He had five.

Give the Tide credit for being assertive and creating some turnovers. But others were the result of being careless or passive.

Why would the Vols be careless or passive at this point in the season with so much on the line? Good question.

"It happens," said Trae Golden, who had six turnovers and only two assists. "I thought we were going to close it out and take the lead."

Alabama did the closing with its makeshift lineup that also was absent forward Nick Jacobs due to a root canal.

Much of the afternoon was a root canal for the Vols.

Jarnell Stokes played only three minutes in the first half after two quick fouls. Skylar McBee and Cameron Tatum were 0-for-6 twins shooting. Jordan McRae was 2-for-8, the only other perimeter player besides Golden with a field goal.

And so the Vols left the building 14-13 with four games to play before the SEC tournament.

"We're not thinking about the postseason right now," said Golden. "We were definitely thinking about Alabama and now we'll think about Ole Miss."

The NIT is still on the table if Tennessee can prove Saturday was a hiccup and take care of business this week, first against Ole Miss and then at South Carolina.

"We've got to continue to compete and play basketball," Martin said, "and not get caught up in the periphery."

Neither should anybody else. Not yet.

Run off four wins and then get back to me.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 72

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

What little I saw of the game seemed to come down to ball movement ( which we didn't do very well )protecting the ball, shooting free throws better,
and basically forgetting success in the past and deciding if we really wanted to out scrap the opponent........which we also didn't do.

Give credit to Alabama......a short handed Alabama at that.

When we see the effort, the results, we can then believe it.

Still I guess better than many projected the Vols to be this year. NIT it seems.

volaholic45 writes:

Back to attrocious shooting, inviting traps, Golden jumping up in the air and then looking for something to do with the ball, Golden losing the ball all by his lonesome. A reversion to some bad form we've seen before.

They'll do better. But a step back today.

oldster writes:

Martin is a wizard getting this group of no-talents and Maymon and Stokes to a position where we fans can even think of NIT. Really, no other team in the SEC would start any of the Vols other players and most would not get off the bench (maybe Golden would sub in for USC or UGA).

Ironcity writes:

in response to oldster:

Martin is a wizard getting this group of no-talents and Maymon and Stokes to a position where we fans can even think of NIT. Really, no other team in the SEC would start any of the Vols other players and most would not get off the bench (maybe Golden would sub in for USC or UGA).

Wrong! Mcrae would start for anyone South of Lexington and Golden would start for half the teams. Tatum certainly wouldn't start for anyone and he shouldn't start for us.

Right now our team goes as Mcbee goes and today he had nothing. A team can absorb that but you can't absorb that and the every game dump Tatum takes on offense. Their comes a time when you have to say enough is enough. I hate that I hope he gets two quick fouls so our offense can get moving. Teams beg him to shot and why not he hits 10%. whats worse is I keep hearing what a great defender he is and watch him get abused every game.

I commend the effort our team puts out but our defense doesn't turn teams over and UA leads the conference in that and we couldn't take advantage of that. I think that falls on poor planning.

This team has capabilities to beat anyone but we have proven more often then not that we really have the ability to also loose to anyone.

I love Golden and he is my favorite Vol but he really falls down or stumbles more then any PG I have seen.

lomas98 writes:

This article sums it up for those thinking a NCAA berth was possible. Concentrate on winning as many as possible for home games in the nit. Win the sec tourney and get in but since that has never happened in my lifetime I am not counting on it. Ole miss is a big game for nit hopes and sec seeding.

eduardo writes:

Should have been pounding the ball inside. No way should this team be shooting 20 treys! If it is not going in the basket pound the ball inside to your post players. The 1,2 and 3's did a terrible job today with the ball in their hands. Just bad decisions!

abnermc writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The fluke is Fla. being rated in top 25.

Razzle writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not the first time Tenn. has swept the Gators since the Vols are 10-5 against them since 2005. Calling fluke is a pretty far stretch there Jethro.

Razzle writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yea but those 2 were flukes.

DooleysOrangePants writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

1 is a fluke, 2 is a trend. OWNED!

DooleysOrangePants writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and still 0-2 against the pathetic VOLS!! lol

Razzle writes:

in response to DooleysOrangePants:

1 is a fluke, 2 is a trend. OWNED!

Way to pwn Jethro. He's pretty easy.

underthehill writes:

in response to oldster:

Martin is a wizard getting this group of no-talents and Maymon and Stokes to a position where we fans can even think of NIT. Really, no other team in the SEC would start any of the Vols other players and most would not get off the bench (maybe Golden would sub in for USC or UGA).

I agree the talent level of this team is less than their accomplishments and this is due to Martin..hard to disagree that any player other than Stokes and Maymon could start elsewhere in the SEC..still hoping they get to the NIT...and I know u r too...

AFTiger writes:

Roll Tide.

AFTiger writes:

Maybe the men’s basketball team can garner enough wins to earn a post-season scrimmage with the Lady Vols.

flatrock writes:

Trae Golden can dribble in to a double-team easier than any PG in Vol history...

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to AFTiger:

Maybe the men’s basketball team can garner enough wins to earn a post-season scrimmage with the Lady Vols.

At least be creative and think of something new to say. Who do you like anyway loser?!? GBO!

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to AFTiger:

Maybe the men’s basketball team can garner enough wins to earn a post-season scrimmage with the Lady Vols.

If you're logging in as a Memphis Tiger, your tourney prospects are better---as an 8 or 9 seed. From what I see, even if you win your first game (which is doubtful), good luck against the 'Cuse or Kentucky. Pack lightly. A beatdown is in sight.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

I don't think Bodeane logged in at all last Saturday, after the Gator meltdown at home against UT. But here he is again, once the Vols lose a game. It was a great pleasure beating the Crocks. Oh, and expect another loss at the O-Dome coming soon. If you couldn't handle Tenn's bigs, imagine dealing with Kentucky's. It may be a bigger thumping than at Rupp. Cat-scratch fever! Should be another broom-job, just like UT's.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

I admit it. I was among those who was talking post-season for this team. In my defense, I also said "IF". I contended that any such success would directly hinge on how well we played for the remainder of the year. Apparently, we didn't.

Still, I don't think the season will end at the conclusion of the schedule. We may not make the NCAA, but I'll bet the NIT will have us...and we should embrace it...for a couple of reasons. First, it extends the season. Gives us more time to work on our game. It wouldn't hurt to have another game or two in TBA, either. Need I mention how EVERYONE counted us out this season? Keep after it, gentlemen.

BTW Bodeane, are you sure you aren't Mike in Storrs? If not, you are clearly an idiot of the same caliber. Whether you're a slithering sewer lizard or just an obnoxious Yankee clipper...either way, it ain't pretty.

FanNotSheep writes:

This is not intended as a shot at Martin or the basketball team. But where is the outrage that was thrown at the football program when they suffered a similar defeat? Not that a (full-strength) Alabama basketball team is anywhere near as bad as the KY football team, but this Tide squad was waaaaaay more shorthanded than KY, even if the "cats used a QB who last played the position in high school.

Tennessee was better at four of the five spots on the floor and got beaten badly. They did not want this win nearly as much as Alabama, and unless a miracle happens it will be Alabama in the Dance -- if either team makes it.

So a lackluster loss against a team they should have beaten which likely costs us a shot at a meaningful postseason slot. Can't even blame injuries or cold, miserable playing conditions. I am certainly not one of them, but where are all the screaming idiots calling for the coach's head?

VOL1972 writes:

in response to oldster:

Martin is a wizard getting this group of no-talents and Maymon and Stokes to a position where we fans can even think of NIT. Really, no other team in the SEC would start any of the Vols other players and most would not get off the bench (maybe Golden would sub in for USC or UGA).

I really get sick of everyone saying Martin has no talent. I think we have at least six 4 star players and a 5 star (Stokes)on this team.The same team that swept Florida. Alabama had two starters and a bench.

Golden was a 4 star shooting guard. What we don't have it a true point guard or a true center or a coach who can take the talent we do have and win with it -- you know, like Pearl did when he first arrived in Knoxville.

With the exception of Stokes, CCM has only been able to recruit 3 star players. That doesn't sound like an upgrade to me.

Pearl isn't coming back. I guess we just have to get used to being mediocre, at best, like the rest of the SEC, with the exception of KY and FL.

KENVOL writes:

These guys just are not HUNGRY. Some days they are others they could care less.

VOL1972 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Wrong! Mcrae would start for anyone South of Lexington and Golden would start for half the teams. Tatum certainly wouldn't start for anyone and he shouldn't start for us.

Right now our team goes as Mcbee goes and today he had nothing. A team can absorb that but you can't absorb that and the every game dump Tatum takes on offense. Their comes a time when you have to say enough is enough. I hate that I hope he gets two quick fouls so our offense can get moving. Teams beg him to shot and why not he hits 10%. whats worse is I keep hearing what a great defender he is and watch him get abused every game.

I commend the effort our team puts out but our defense doesn't turn teams over and UA leads the conference in that and we couldn't take advantage of that. I think that falls on poor planning.

This team has capabilities to beat anyone but we have proven more often then not that we really have the ability to also loose to anyone.

I love Golden and he is my favorite Vol but he really falls down or stumbles more then any PG I have seen.

Golden isn't a point guard, he's a shooting guard. CCM couldn't recruit one so he is trying to convince Golden he needs to become one if he wants to play at the next level -- which isn't going to happen.

I hope this year is about CCM learning how to coach in the SEC. He sure doesn't seem to know how to recruit at this level.

jimr07 writes:

i do not think anything could have made KNS happier than for UT to lose a game. Knoxville, Tennessee... largest city in U.S. without a daily newspaper...

bigdisbig writes:

Its very difficult to win a basketball game on an opponent's court. Even with their 2 best players gone I figured Bama would win this one. Most all teams play better at home.
The Vols just do not play well on the road yet. Hopefully next year they will be more seasoned.
This Vol team MUST learn to play as a team. They take too many 3 point shots with no one to rebound. They don't protect the ball well consistently. They look for the 3 point shot before the high percentage inside shot.
They really are a better team at this point than earlier in the year. I feel Cuonzo is a good coach and if he can recruit as well as he can coach, the Vols will be back on top in a couple of seasons. He has achieved more than expected already this year. No doubt there are more wins in the games left and the Vols should finish in the middle of the pack instead of earlier predictions of last place.

Rome was not built in a day nor is this team going to be a championship team this year or next most likely. At least Cuonzo has beaten some good SEC teams thus far.....which is something Dooley has yet to do.

dillpic writes:

in response to VOL1972:

Golden isn't a point guard, he's a shooting guard. CCM couldn't recruit one so he is trying to convince Golden he needs to become one if he wants to play at the next level -- which isn't going to happen.

I hope this year is about CCM learning how to coach in the SEC. He sure doesn't seem to know how to recruit at this level.

So according to you, the J. Stokes was a bad get.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

i just hope that Hart sees that martin aint no sec coach and send him on his way

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

I admit it. I was among those who was talking post-season for this team. In my defense, I also said "IF". I contended that any such success would directly hinge on how well we played for the remainder of the year. Apparently, we didn't.

Still, I don't think the season will end at the conclusion of the schedule. We may not make the NCAA, but I'll bet the NIT will have us...and we should embrace it...for a couple of reasons. First, it extends the season. Gives us more time to work on our game. It wouldn't hurt to have another game or two in TBA, either. Need I mention how EVERYONE counted us out this season? Keep after it, gentlemen.

BTW Bodeane, are you sure you aren't Mike in Storrs? If not, you are clearly an idiot of the same caliber. Whether you're a slithering sewer lizard or just an obnoxious Yankee clipper...either way, it ain't pretty.

Good post; agree with all. Gotta say I was a bit taken aback by the somewhat trollish tone of Mike's article. All any of us were saying was that IF the Vols win out, then they MIGHT get in the dance, and wouldn't that be wonderful if it happened. I don't see how ANY fan or even any observer of college sports could put down any other fan for feeling that way. For that matter, wouldn't almost anybody want all TEAMS to feel that they still have a shot at whatever is in range until they don't anymore? I get the outright trolls gloating and putting words in our mouths--I get that they DO it, though I don't get WHY they do it--but I thought Mike was a good distance above that. In any case, you can BET the NIT would love to have the Vols and the Vols would benefit from the experience.

Ironcity writes:

in response to VOL1972:

Golden isn't a point guard, he's a shooting guard. CCM couldn't recruit one so he is trying to convince Golden he needs to become one if he wants to play at the next level -- which isn't going to happen.

I hope this year is about CCM learning how to coach in the SEC. He sure doesn't seem to know how to recruit at this level.

I would tend to agree. I do think Golden has potential. Remember he is only a Soph. and has two year to learn the position. Our problems show up when he struggles or teams rally press us hard. No one else wants the ball. Additionally this idea of slowing the ball down and not attacking is foolish especially when your playing against a team that is short three starters. This game was a learning experience for the team as well as Martin. Hopefully all will be better next time they get a golden opportunity like this.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

This is not intended as a shot at Martin or the basketball team. But where is the outrage that was thrown at the football program when they suffered a similar defeat? Not that a (full-strength) Alabama basketball team is anywhere near as bad as the KY football team, but this Tide squad was waaaaaay more shorthanded than KY, even if the "cats used a QB who last played the position in high school.

Tennessee was better at four of the five spots on the floor and got beaten badly. They did not want this win nearly as much as Alabama, and unless a miracle happens it will be Alabama in the Dance -- if either team makes it.

So a lackluster loss against a team they should have beaten which likely costs us a shot at a meaningful postseason slot. Can't even blame injuries or cold, miserable playing conditions. I am certainly not one of them, but where are all the screaming idiots calling for the coach's head?

I think "outrage" might be too strong a word for either case. "Disappointment" or some version thereof would suffice. How was this loss any worse for the Vols than it was for Kansas to lose to a similarly short-handed Vol team just a couple of years ago? Yeah, the Bama game had bigger implications for the Vols than the Kansas game had for the Jayhawks, but the biggest shortcoming for this Vol team all year has been their inability to SEIZE opportunities when they get them, whether on a given play or for a whole game. They may just not be that good or they may just not have enough experience to RECOGNIZE those opportunities and the discipline to take advantage of them.

I just don't think anybody can assume that just because a team played poorly, especially a team one supports, the players just "didn't care" or WANTED to lose. I'm reasonably certain Cam Tatum didn't say to himself, for example, "If I keep shooting bricks, then--hooray!--UT will lose!" Or that Richardson said to himself, "If I just barely get across the center line and pick up my dribble in a double-team, I just might be able to give the ball away." To some extent at least, teams and fans win together and they lose together. No fan, unless perhaps he or she is a big donor, has anywhere near the stake in a team's success or failure as the players and coaches, none of whom need any outsiders giving them extra reasons to feel bad about themselves. Besides, don't we have enough posters--semi-fans, fake fans, and outright interloping trolls--calling for Martin's head every day as it is?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VOL1972:

I really get sick of everyone saying Martin has no talent. I think we have at least six 4 star players and a 5 star (Stokes)on this team.The same team that swept Florida. Alabama had two starters and a bench.

Golden was a 4 star shooting guard. What we don't have it a true point guard or a true center or a coach who can take the talent we do have and win with it -- you know, like Pearl did when he first arrived in Knoxville.

With the exception of Stokes, CCM has only been able to recruit 3 star players. That doesn't sound like an upgrade to me.

Pearl isn't coming back. I guess we just have to get used to being mediocre, at best, like the rest of the SEC, with the exception of KY and FL.

Who is the Lofton on this team? Pretty sure he wasn't more than a 3-star but he was a stone-cold shooter who could stick it in anybody's face. Who is this teams's JuJuan Smith? He was a walk-on who had as much fighting spirit as anyone who ever wore orange. Who is a leader like Dane Bradshaw? He won games for the Vols playing with one arm, and often against guys with six or more inches and fifty pounds on him.

It's not the stars by the names, it's the particular talents that each player brings to the table. This is the main flaw in the recruit ratings. A guy can put up big stats doing one or two things particularly well without having or even needing the all-around game that is vital for success at the next highest level. Martin is having to teach these guys, first to understand the necessity of developing their talent and second how to employ that talent within a team framework. And it is just silly to blame Martin for not having recruiting a roster full of five-stars before he had ever coached a game at UT. The Vols will be MUCH more than mediocre next year. Martin WILL need some better recruits to keep it going after that, but again it is just silly to think now that he doesn't WANT better recruits or that he CAN'T get them. We will all know soon enough.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VOL1972:

Golden isn't a point guard, he's a shooting guard. CCM couldn't recruit one so he is trying to convince Golden he needs to become one if he wants to play at the next level -- which isn't going to happen.

I hope this year is about CCM learning how to coach in the SEC. He sure doesn't seem to know how to recruit at this level.

Apparently, Pearl didn't recruit a PG or a true center, either. And, no, Chris Jones doesn't count since he wouldn't have qualified academically. Even if he had, the squad was STILL going to be short of a true center. By the time Martin was hired, all the big-name players at every position had already been signed or had been recruited by the traditional powers for years. It was also unknown whether or not the NCAA might throw the book at UT and rival programs were working that for all they were worth. The next spring and fall signing periods will be VERY important for the program going forward, so we will see then who he gets. I for one think Martin has done a fine job with what he had to work with and, oddly enough, so does most of the rest of the basketball world.

boston5761#559459 writes:

NIT haha

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

i just hope that Hart sees that martin aint no sec coach and send him on his way

We all see every day that you "ain't no" knowledgeable poster. Unfortunately, we can't send you on your way.

crappieking writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

i just hope that Hart sees that martin aint no sec coach and send him on his way

Martin has a chance to get Coach of the Year goober.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Great post! Agree with all.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to VOL1972:

I really get sick of everyone saying Martin has no talent. I think we have at least six 4 star players and a 5 star (Stokes)on this team.The same team that swept Florida. Alabama had two starters and a bench.

Golden was a 4 star shooting guard. What we don't have it a true point guard or a true center or a coach who can take the talent we do have and win with it -- you know, like Pearl did when he first arrived in Knoxville.

With the exception of Stokes, CCM has only been able to recruit 3 star players. That doesn't sound like an upgrade to me.

Pearl isn't coming back. I guess we just have to get used to being mediocre, at best, like the rest of the SEC, with the exception of KY and FL.

Are you related to westknoxrepub? Cause you two sing the same tune. Yes, I agree he does have talent, but it is largely inexperienced and un-toughened and undeveloped talent. And a number of talented older players Martin inherited were originally recruited for Pearl's running, full court style and don't fit so well into Martin's game. And the basic reason these talented players are not mentally tough enough and are so undeveloped is because PEARL was their coach until this year.

Golden was PEARL'S recruit. The fact that we have no tru point guard is not Martin's fault. If in his first class he had recruited anyone but John Wall, we would still be relying on PEARL'S recruit to play the point this year. It is ridiculous to expect Martin to recruit brilliantly talented players in the first or second recruiting season given the mess PEARL left this program in. You may want to get used to the idea of being mediocre, but I never will. I don't think CCM will, either.

SeminaryVol writes:

1. This is not a bad loss.

2. We are still tied for 4th in the league. 4th!!!

3. Our odds of making the tournament are unchanged after yesterday. It is still a long shot, but possible. Win out, and win two in the SECT.

IBAVolFan writes:

Plain and simple, got out coached. Bring on the NIT so Martin can have a few more games to hone his coaching skills.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to VOL1972:

Golden isn't a point guard, he's a shooting guard. CCM couldn't recruit one so he is trying to convince Golden he needs to become one if he wants to play at the next level -- which isn't going to happen.

I hope this year is about CCM learning how to coach in the SEC. He sure doesn't seem to know how to recruit at this level.

CCM recruited the point guard that was left to him after all the five and four stars were picked before Pearl left - Washpun. It isn't his fault that PEARL did not recruit a point guard for this team to have ready to play this year. And, just what was Pearl thinking when he recruited a six foot shooting guard?? You have no basis yet to say that CCM can't recruit at this level, because none of his recruits have failed yet, like so many of Pearl's did. However, you do have Richardson and Stokes as indicators that he CAN recruit at this level.

Ironcity writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Are you related to westknoxrepub? Cause you two sing the same tune. Yes, I agree he does have talent, but it is largely inexperienced and un-toughened and undeveloped talent. And a number of talented older players Martin inherited were originally recruited for Pearl's running, full court style and don't fit so well into Martin's game. And the basic reason these talented players are not mentally tough enough and are so undeveloped is because PEARL was their coach until this year.

Golden was PEARL'S recruit. The fact that we have no tru point guard is not Martin's fault. If in his first class he had recruited anyone but John Wall, we would still be relying on PEARL'S recruit to play the point this year. It is ridiculous to expect Martin to recruit brilliantly talented players in the first or second recruiting season given the mess PEARL left this program in. You may want to get used to the idea of being mediocre, but I never will. I don't think CCM will, either.

You say you don't want to get use to the idea of mediocre but then you go on and on about what a great job martin has done to make us mediocre. Coach Pearl cam in and took a team that was suppose to come in next to lat that did not fit his style of basketball and turned them into a conference championship team. As I have said many times before we do not have to rip Pearl to build up Martin. Not having a PG was not for lack of trying. 4 committed to play and none showed up. Thats basketball. I am disappointed that Martin has not recruited a PG for this class when the need is obvious.

Their is still time so who knows. Maybe we get a stud PG this spring or this Stanton kid turns out to be the real deal.

Part of me commends Martin to sticking to his guns but part of me worries that he will not coach to his teams strengths or another teams weakness.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

i just hope that Hart sees that martin aint no sec coach and send him on his way

Man, what an ignorant post. There is no real way to respond to such moronic post.

Colliervol writes:

That was indeed a Class A Stinker. They forgot what got them two impressive wins last week. Happens sometimes.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Wrong! Mcrae would start for anyone South of Lexington and Golden would start for half the teams. Tatum certainly wouldn't start for anyone and he shouldn't start for us.

Right now our team goes as Mcbee goes and today he had nothing. A team can absorb that but you can't absorb that and the every game dump Tatum takes on offense. Their comes a time when you have to say enough is enough. I hate that I hope he gets two quick fouls so our offense can get moving. Teams beg him to shot and why not he hits 10%. whats worse is I keep hearing what a great defender he is and watch him get abused every game.

I commend the effort our team puts out but our defense doesn't turn teams over and UA leads the conference in that and we couldn't take advantage of that. I think that falls on poor planning.

This team has capabilities to beat anyone but we have proven more often then not that we really have the ability to also loose to anyone.

I love Golden and he is my favorite Vol but he really falls down or stumbles more then any PG I have seen.

Tatum should have been gone when he got pulled over speeding with a car load of thugs, loaded weapons, open alcohol and drugs. Now TN pays the price.

Ironcity writes:

in response to Ironcity:

You say you don't want to get use to the idea of mediocre but then you go on and on about what a great job martin has done to make us mediocre. Coach Pearl cam in and took a team that was suppose to come in next to lat that did not fit his style of basketball and turned them into a conference championship team. As I have said many times before we do not have to rip Pearl to build up Martin. Not having a PG was not for lack of trying. 4 committed to play and none showed up. Thats basketball. I am disappointed that Martin has not recruited a PG for this class when the need is obvious.

Their is still time so who knows. Maybe we get a stud PG this spring or this Stanton kid turns out to be the real deal.

Part of me commends Martin to sticking to his guns but part of me worries that he will not coach to his teams strengths or another teams weakness.

Sorry for the spelling guys but I was in a hurry and my typing stinks.

SilasDogooder writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You got your arse kicked. Accept it, STFU, and go on. Don't try to talk smack hoss, when you've already been smacked down.

BR_549 writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's as bad as the ESPN headline about Jeremy Lin. Somebody might get fired.

Razzle writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here's another funny one for you. . .

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-mlhIzm6B8s...

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to Ironcity:

You say you don't want to get use to the idea of mediocre but then you go on and on about what a great job martin has done to make us mediocre. Coach Pearl cam in and took a team that was suppose to come in next to lat that did not fit his style of basketball and turned them into a conference championship team. As I have said many times before we do not have to rip Pearl to build up Martin. Not having a PG was not for lack of trying. 4 committed to play and none showed up. Thats basketball. I am disappointed that Martin has not recruited a PG for this class when the need is obvious.

Their is still time so who knows. Maybe we get a stud PG this spring or this Stanton kid turns out to be the real deal.

Part of me commends Martin to sticking to his guns but part of me worries that he will not coach to his teams strengths or another teams weakness.

Martin has done a very good job to bring this team to a mediocre record. This team was predicted to finish 11th in the conference. What Pearl did SIX YEARS AGO was great, and I've praised him for bringing us out of the basketball wilderness we wandered around in for decades. But he undid much of the good he did and left Martin with a stained program that was terrible for recruiting success. I don't knock Pearl just to build up Martin. Never have. I just tell the truth about Pearl and Martin as I see it. And you don't like it. Let's see if I can illustrate:

You shrug your shoulders that Pearl missed with four pg commitments and say oh, well, "That's basketball," even though Pearl was in a strong recruiting position at the time(s). On the other hand, you express disappointment that Martin hasn't recruited a pg good enough to contribute as a freshman even though you know Martin has been in a position of weakness for recruiting, a position that Pearl put him in. I'm just saying give the guy a chance. It's WAY too early to judge his coaching or his recruiting abilities, although we are seeing hopeful signs this season about both. You can either have hope from what you see or decide not to. That's up to each of us.

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