Kentucky crowd gives Cuonzo Martin the blues

Cuonzo Martin said he couldn't help but notice the scores of blue-clad Kentucky fans in Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

"Yeah, it concerns you,'' Tennessee's men's basketball coach, who had a handful of Kentucky fans sitting behind his team's bench, said Monday at media day. "We see 21,000 there, but we'd like to see the 21,000-plus in orange, especially when you say you're going up against a rival.''

The Vols' 65-62 loss to the No. 2-ranked Wildcats represented UT's first sellout crowd of the season, with 21,678 packed into the arena.

"If the upper bowl is not packed (with orange), it's one thing,'' Martin said. "But you have the lower bowl ...

"There was not a lot of red in that lower bowl when Indiana came to the gym at Purdue.''

Martin played at Purdue 1991-95 and coached there as an assistant 2000-08.

Tennessee (8-9, 1-2 SEC) is averaging 16,639 per home game this season, which based on last year's figures would rank in the nation's top 10 in attendance.

Kentucky coach John Calipari implored the Wildcats' following to buy up unsold tickets weeks before the Tennessee game.

Media at Saturday's game estimated Kentucky fans made up 25 to 35 percent of the crowd. Some who watched the game on television said they could distinctly hear the Wildcats' fans chanting "Go big blue.''

Martin said what's done is done.

"Now, I'd like to see a lot of orange in Lexington (Ky.),'' he said.

The Vols' next home game is Saturday (TV: WVLT, 4 p.m.) against defending national champion Connecticut. UT plays at Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Jan. 31.

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Comments » 63

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Wow...I guess Kentucky fans has more money for tickets than UT fans. Doesn't mean they're better fans though. Weell a fan is a fan whoever they pull for or from wherever we sit to watch the game. Unfortunately to support the programs people have to show up. The Kentucky fans helped both programs with their ticket buying. Just like at UK if we help fill their seats then both teams win in money. The idea is to fill it up to the money makers.
Martin I hope we as a UT fan base can do better for you in the future 'cause seeing orange in there is gotta help confidence. I think fans are behind the team though many of us are forced to sit at home most games. At lest UT has easy access on the air. UTC now days is quite impossible on radio or TV to see without paying. I understand that (I think) but it's impossible for the average Joes out there to afford being a "show up" fan. Some moc fans can't even listen on the radio anymore!

NashvillePreds writes:

Maybe if the men's athletic department was not in a constant state of upheaval, people would consider spending the $.
Wait until Alabama takes over Neyland Stadium in October. Hopefully that dark day, which seems unavoidable at this point, will get someone's attention.
For the past two/ three years, UT sports have been more reality television than any sort of cohesive unit worth the price of admission.

HarveyDent writes:

Shame on the season ticket holders in the lower level selling their season tickets. If it were up to me I would make note of which seats Kentucky fans were occupying and send a letter to the ticket holder stating that if rival fans end up in those seats again then your tickets will not be up for renewal. Having season tickets is a privilege not a right and if you are going to sell them to our biggest rival to make a quick buck then that privilege will be given to someone with a better sense of loyalty.

OwensboroVol writes:

Coach Martin, I live in Kentucky and are around their fans constantly. Heck, My grandson is graduating from Kentucky next spring.(He Loves the Big Orange but High Heels was his attraction when he enrolled. The young lady is now his wife) But with that experience I can tell you that Kentucky Fans feel the same way with that sea of orange at Commonwealth Stadium. Your just going to have to provide a basketball team that Tennessee fans will follow. I think that you are on your way and that is hard to say because I am one of your worse detractors.

hootn writes:

in response to HarveyDent:

Shame on the season ticket holders in the lower level selling their season tickets. If it were up to me I would make note of which seats Kentucky fans were occupying and send a letter to the ticket holder stating that if rival fans end up in those seats again then your tickets will not be up for renewal. Having season tickets is a privilege not a right and if you are going to sell them to our biggest rival to make a quick buck then that privilege will be given to someone with a better sense of loyalty.

I brought church friends who live in Knoxville that are UK fans. They are fine people who happen to root for UK. They are behave themselves, use no vulgarity, and buy lots of refreshments and snacks. They were smart enough not to dress in blue.

By the way, as an original arena donor, I do have a contract for my seats in the lower bowl! I usually bring Vol fans but many friends (ohio State, UCONN, ETSU, Texas) really appreciate a chance to root for their team on the rare occasion they come to UT

IMissBruce writes:

Are you kidding me Cuonzo? You can't go 8-9 playing the weakest non-conference schedule we have had in the past 6 years and expect to keep the blue out of TBA. Tennessee has played uninspired basketball AT HOME this year. Bruce Pearl earned the loyalty of Big Orange Nation because of the way his teams played. You will have to do the same sir.

kyvol98 writes:

Harder to get than Super Bowl tickets? Are you kidding me? Now, it is always a tough ticket to get, I admit, but c'mon. Yes, the BBN does travel well, as good if not better tan any team in the country. That said, I plan on being in Rupp and yes, I WILL BE IN BIG ORANGE!

westknoxrepub writes:

If you're not out there creating enthusiasm for the program, or selling your program, it happens. Didn't happen with Mears, didn't happen with Pearl, because they were salesman, and that's what UT basketball needs, a salesman. You can't be disappointed all you want, just don't be surprised.

VolunteerLifer writes:

This is something the athletic department should look into. All that blue looked bad on TV, even though the overall presentation of the game was very good for UT. But seeing that blue or any other color but orange is bad for recruiting and bad for the morale of our fans watching on TV. It's bad enough that the floor is ugly on TV and the place looks dingy and dark. What we should see in the background of the TV shots of the game is an active, orange crowd, maybe students and/or younger alumni. Enough with the blue hairs and other dullards sitting courtside.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

If you're not out there creating enthusiasm for the program, or selling your program, it happens. Didn't happen with Mears, didn't happen with Pearl, because they were salesman, and that's what UT basketball needs, a salesman. You can't be disappointed all you want, just don't be surprised.

More dumping on Martin by guess who. The guy is doing a great job and you just can't say anything supportive or positive at all about him, can you? Is it personal? Did he flirt with your boyfriend?

Realist writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hardest arena to get tickets? Easier to get tickets at the Super Bowl? You obviously are drunk! I have never had any trouble getting tickets to any of their games. I have been there 11 times and more than half of the games did not have tickets until I arrived at Rupp. You would have been better to state what a wonderful atmosphere the arena has. By far the hardest ticket goes to Cameron. I have been four times and only got in twice. Duke Carolina tix were selling for $200 for the cheap seats. While I despise Duke more than Calisorry, Cameron's atmosphere is first and second!

Pullingguard writes:

Face the facts...Vol fans are fair weather fans for the most part... If you win they are there, if you are so-so with the W/L they don't do so well in attending.. Ky basketball fans are there win or lose in support of their team.

wildcatbasketball writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Face the facts...Vol fans are fair weather fans for the most part... If you win they are there, if you are so-so with the W/L they don't do so well in attending.. Ky basketball fans are there win or lose in support of their team.

VERY WELL SAID!!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"You heard." Yeah right, kiddy/troll.

Know where you "heard that?" From yourself in another troll/fabricated attempt to be cute.

Futurecoach16 writes:

Too many schmucks who would prefer to make a buck instead of cheer on their own team. Yes, they paid for the tickets, they can do with them what they please. But, it's a shame too many donors give up on the team, and take tickets away from those that really care for the men in Orange. I was fortunate enough to go the UT-UK game last season, only because the guy I went with said he'd rather have empty seats than let a UK fan sit in them. Wish more season ticket holders would have that approach.

wildcatbasketball writes:

I will say this...Bought my tickets from a season ticket holder on craigslist. He stated he had a "family" deal he had to go to and I did not question any of that. I bought his 2 tickets and took my daughter to the game and we enjoyed it. We sat next to the band and the stbudent section and had our "blue" on but did not did not get any foul comments at all from the UT fans. That was really positive since I had my 15 year old daughter with me!!! KUDDOS to the UT fans for making this game a great experience for my daughter!!

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Except Martin's showing us he can't finish close games against big time opponents. Memphis, Duke, Kentucky. . .all losses. Beating Florida is something Bruce did alot, and frankly I'm pretty sure Buzz beat Florida more often than he lost to them (I know Lee Humphrey had a losing record against Tennessee in a stretch that spans two coaches). Losses to Austin Peay, Charleston and Oakland didn't help either.

underthehill writes:

With the way Martin has this team playing and with Stokes getting more playing time..UT tickets will be harder to come by. I know I am going to see Stokes in person the first chance I get. I had season tickets when Bernard King filled Stokely and I can't recall ever selling one but I do recall one game where I was asked to name my price. Kentucky and UT basketball fans have a keen understanding and appreciation for the game of basketball and I think both appreciate a great game like we just had and look forward to more of the same.. I really believe Martin is in the process of doing special things at UT. Thank goodness he was here before the bama bunch moved in..oops..shouldn't have said that..but I do mean it...

Ayres_Hall writes:

I saw the game on TV. It was obvious the toothless fans in blue were the Kitty fans.

stevefrommemphis writes:

Kentucky fans waste money on basketball tickets they should be using to fund their state retirement system. The Bluegrass State has the third worst funded pension plan of any state in the U.S., which amounts to approximately a $15 billion shortfall. They'll be one of the states coming to Tennesseans someday soon begging us to bail them out.

Kentucky basketball: bread and circuses for the proletariat.

thevoice writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

If you're not out there creating enthusiasm for the program, or selling your program, it happens. Didn't happen with Mears, didn't happen with Pearl, because they were salesman, and that's what UT basketball needs, a salesman. You can't be disappointed all you want, just don't be surprised.

Very true. I like Martin as a coach and a person. The "problem" is, compared with Pearl, Martin's enthusiasm is a flat line. One thing for which I will credit Pearl is his ability to sell the program (minus the chest painting, student-stooping episode). Pearl's personality, even in phone interviews now, is dramatic and draws many folks in. Martin just doesn't have that and I don't think he'll change. If he starts winning like Coach K, etc., then it doesn't matter what kind of personality you have. But for the time being, I think we'll continue to see similar attendance and opposing fan invasion.

cloudodust writes:

Dear Coach, You and the team can help make TBA a sea of Orange and White for every home game. It's called success. Sorry that it wasn't what you'd hoped for against Kentucky but it can be going forward. In the words of a truly great American, 'Git 'er done'...and GBO

lomas98 writes:

Ky fans will find a way and will spend 5 times the face value to see their basketball team. I would not be surprised if scalpers were trying to sell to ut fans and the ky fans just outbid. I was at sec tourney the last 2 years and the sessions ky are at are a much tougher ticket compared to the other session. 2 years ago in Nashville, ky and tn were in same bracket. Ky won their Friday game and tn beat ole miss to play ky on saturday. After tn won I saw a few tn fans trying to buy the ole miss fans tickets. A ut fan was going to buy a pair for 150 and a ky fan offered 300 and sold. The ut fan looked like somebody kicked his dog. I know Martin is disappointed but unless there is lots of black and gold when vandy plays in Knoxville I wouldn't be too worried about ky buying all the tickets. At least Martin is commenting on it and doesn't like it.

1vavolfan writes:

Totally with CCM on this one, it is one thing for scalpers to do this but you are a SUCKY fan if you sell donor seats to a Kentucky fan. My main point of contention with UK fans is that many of them are the ones who follow UK basketball and then like Alabama or Florida at football. Most of them couldn't name the starting lineup on the basketball team or even know who Rex Chapman or Kenny Walker are.

BlueManToo writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

Kentucky fans waste money on basketball tickets they should be using to fund their state retirement system. The Bluegrass State has the third worst funded pension plan of any state in the U.S., which amounts to approximately a $15 billion shortfall. They'll be one of the states coming to Tennesseans someday soon begging us to bail them out.

Kentucky basketball: bread and circuses for the proletariat.

steve....
For a change I will have to agree with you, regarding the KY pension fund. It should be a lesson to all as to what happens after decades of government run by Socialists Democrats. For worst examples see California, Illinois, Michigan and NY. Glad I have been able to vote in TN to effect the changes in State Government. Hopefully my home state will come to their senses some day and quit voting in national elections for conservatives while continuing to vote for socialists on the state level. KUDOS to TN for stopping that destructive practice. Now if we can just vote the Fascist Obama out of the WH, maybe everyone's pensions can recover.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

When we get a coach brought in that knows how to coach,i'll renew my season tickets but until then fill it up with blue,red or whatever color you want.All previous coaches wore that UT orange jacket where was martins jacket....he aint about Vol Nation

Volborn writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I dont think the big game pack tickets are in the lower bowl. Some may be, but the lower bowl side tickets are season and big money people anyway. The problem is that most folks that sold those good tickets don't need the money that bad.

Sorry coach, there won't be that much orange in Rupp b/c the UK fans do not sell their tickets or sell out their team..they consider them priceless for the most part. Unfortunately, most of those tickets were sold to UK fans immediately following the Austin Peay game...And Ill bet those Vol fans were trying to get them back after the Florida game.

Hopefully we'll get to play UK in Knoxville next year. Not sure how the schedule will be since we are not playing divisions any longer.

budd#207344 writes:

First of all , thanks to the ky fans for supporting UT athletics. Why not buy a whole season ticket and get the best seats in the house. Plus with the extra money from you we will hire a better football coach and start the streak again.
To those season ticket holders who chose not to attend. Why not offer your tickets to friends or relatives or folks you might know that will support UT. I assume you are a UT fan and would rather the tickets go so someone who will root for UT. If you can't afford the tickets and need to sell some to make ends meet why not just give them up and put it toward your cable or cell bill.
And finally for those of you who leave the game with 2 minutes left. Please explain what you are doing. It really looks stupid.

maciste54 writes:

Isn't Coach Martin basically just saying " support us " ? Different approach than Pearl certainly but he does seem to be building in the same direction.

HoustonVol writes:

in response to thevoice:

Very true. I like Martin as a coach and a person. The "problem" is, compared with Pearl, Martin's enthusiasm is a flat line. One thing for which I will credit Pearl is his ability to sell the program (minus the chest painting, student-stooping episode). Pearl's personality, even in phone interviews now, is dramatic and draws many folks in. Martin just doesn't have that and I don't think he'll change. If he starts winning like Coach K, etc., then it doesn't matter what kind of personality you have. But for the time being, I think we'll continue to see similar attendance and opposing fan invasion.

Compared to Pearl, Richard Simmons' enthusiasm flat lined.

rocky_topper writes:

in response to HarveyDent:

Shame on the season ticket holders in the lower level selling their season tickets. If it were up to me I would make note of which seats Kentucky fans were occupying and send a letter to the ticket holder stating that if rival fans end up in those seats again then your tickets will not be up for renewal. Having season tickets is a privilege not a right and if you are going to sell them to our biggest rival to make a quick buck then that privilege will be given to someone with a better sense of loyalty.

Harvey, where were you sitting? Just curious. You did go, right?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't KNOW about any stands being filled up!? I wasn't even talking about fans who show up to games, What were you reading?? I was talking about affordability for MOST fans to even go to the games. I don't care if Kentucky fills there seats up frankly. It has nothing to do with people who love sports but do not have the financial ability to go. I think in UT's case they need to make more tickets available to the students and let the older people watch from the upper seats or from home. No offense lol to older people like me. But if they want energy that's where you get it.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to maciste54:

Isn't Coach Martin basically just saying " support us " ? Different approach than Pearl certainly but he does seem to be building in the same direction.

Yep.

brokebackvol writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

When we get a coach brought in that knows how to coach,i'll renew my season tickets but until then fill it up with blue,red or whatever color you want.All previous coaches wore that UT orange jacket where was martins jacket....he aint about Vol Nation

I was also disappointed that CCM didn't continue the tradition that Bruce brought back during his tenure. Us older fans loved and appreciated the Ray Mears days, and I for one would like to see CCM embrace OUR traditions instead of trying to make UTK another Purdue.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to Futurecoach16:

Too many schmucks who would prefer to make a buck instead of cheer on their own team. Yes, they paid for the tickets, they can do with them what they please. But, it's a shame too many donors give up on the team, and take tickets away from those that really care for the men in Orange. I was fortunate enough to go the UT-UK game last season, only because the guy I went with said he'd rather have empty seats than let a UK fan sit in them. Wish more season ticket holders would have that approach.

I see little difference between empty seats and seats filled with the opponents fans, both indicate non-interest.

barefoot43 writes:

in response to brokebackvol:

I was also disappointed that CCM didn't continue the tradition that Bruce brought back during his tenure. Us older fans loved and appreciated the Ray Mears days, and I for one would like to see CCM embrace OUR traditions instead of trying to make UTK another Purdue.

The orange jacket was not a tradition. Two coaches have worn the orage jacket, Mears and Pearl. Last worn by Mears in 1977 and first worn by Pearl in 2005. Mears always wore the jacket and Pearl only against Kentucky and Vandy. I am glad CCM did not wear the jacket, it would have looked like a stunt. I don't care if he sits on the bench on his hands and a blindfold - as long as they 1-Play hard 2-Act in a classy manner 3-Win. Coach Martin has 2.5 out of 3 going right now. The other .5 will happen.

Winning will put people in the seats. Losing will keep them at home watching on TV then posting on a site like this complaining about why this staff is not like the last staff and showing their own expertise by exposing their backsides to all that read their stupid (yes stupid - beyond idiotic - lower than ignorant) posts.

Southland writes:

this is not a story It has been that way since anyone living can remember. The are also like bama in that a lot of fans that have no connection with the state or the school become avid fans. When UT builds a dynasty in basketball that lasts for decades then you will not see this kind of junk but until then you can always count on UK fans making up a large part of the crowd anywhere. PS I hate the kittens as much as I do bama football

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Bodeanvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually he had a fair hand in the schedule. While there were contracts for some games (Charleston, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Maui) he did fill out the schedule. Basketball scheduels are rarely if ever completed far in advance.

switcher76 writes:

in response to IMissBruce:

Are you kidding me Cuonzo? You can't go 8-9 playing the weakest non-conference schedule we have had in the past 6 years and expect to keep the blue out of TBA. Tennessee has played uninspired basketball AT HOME this year. Bruce Pearl earned the loyalty of Big Orange Nation because of the way his teams played. You will have to do the same sir.

I totally agree!!!! BRUCE WHERE ARE YOU!!!!! UT NATION NEEDS YOU!!!!!!!

I did hear alot of Kentucky fans...they were louder than the UT fans...shame what a shame!

ewhite#207432 writes:

I have no respect for UT season ticket holders who sold their seats to UK fans. The economy cannot be that bad, but UT fan loyality is.

GONAVY writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Buying the Big Game Pack, etc., is not anything unique to UT/UK, really. This happens across the US where available type packages (3 game, etc.) are offered. Heck, when UT plays Vanderbilt in Nashville every other fall it is a documented fact a couple of thousand UT fans purchase the $119 football season ticket package from VU just for the one game. UK fans are by far the most loyal and travel crazy basketball fans in America. Cuonzo, sorry...it isn't going to change because you've arrived. Just beat them next year when they comprise 1/4 or better of TBA. You'll never see a more quiet 5000 stroll out when this happens.

OrangeBloodFlood writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

When Kentucky winds up on probation let's see how many fans they have!

Theo writes:

in response to hootn:

I brought church friends who live in Knoxville that are UK fans. They are fine people who happen to root for UK. They are behave themselves, use no vulgarity, and buy lots of refreshments and snacks. They were smart enough not to dress in blue.

By the way, as an original arena donor, I do have a contract for my seats in the lower bowl! I usually bring Vol fans but many friends (ohio State, UCONN, ETSU, Texas) really appreciate a chance to root for their team on the rare occasion they come to UT

You should be shot at sunrise. Please sell your tickets to me. I would burn them before giving them to an opponents fans. How nice that the enemy appreciates the chance to root for their team. Are you insane!
When I can't use my football tickets they either go to UT fans or the trashcan. I will not scalp them because you never know who gets them.
Good God, I hope you are in a very small minority.

Theo writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

If you're not out there creating enthusiasm for the program, or selling your program, it happens. Didn't happen with Mears, didn't happen with Pearl, because they were salesman, and that's what UT basketball needs, a salesman. You can't be disappointed all you want, just don't be surprised.

Wow, I bet you were relieved to find something to criticize Coach M for. Your life has been pretty dismal lately with a black coach putting a tough, hustling team on the floor and recruiting starting to take off.

Theo writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I heard they are looking to revoke your GED.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Theo:

Wow, I bet you were relieved to find something to criticize Coach M for. Your life has been pretty dismal lately with a black coach putting a tough, hustling team on the floor and recruiting starting to take off.

Wow, race baiting, pretty low class. . .recruiting is not taking off. We got ONE big time recruit because of the circumstances surrounding his eligibility. Also, we still have a losing record, so there's plenty to criticize.

Theo writes:

in response to BlueManToo:

steve....
For a change I will have to agree with you, regarding the KY pension fund. It should be a lesson to all as to what happens after decades of government run by Socialists Democrats. For worst examples see California, Illinois, Michigan and NY. Glad I have been able to vote in TN to effect the changes in State Government. Hopefully my home state will come to their senses some day and quit voting in national elections for conservatives while continuing to vote for socialists on the state level. KUDOS to TN for stopping that destructive practice. Now if we can just vote the Fascist Obama out of the WH, maybe everyone's pensions can recover.

As opposed to the Nazi republicans?

Theo writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Wow, race baiting, pretty low class. . .recruiting is not taking off. We got ONE big time recruit because of the circumstances surrounding his eligibility. Also, we still have a losing record, so there's plenty to criticize.

Why is it race baiting when I mention you can't stand the fact we have a black coach? I think this is commonly referred to as the truth.
There is no other explanation for your vile attacks, which by the way started before UT played their first game. You still can't stand to give the man an iota of credit. Pretty easy call.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Theo:

Why is it race baiting when I mention you can't stand the fact we have a black coach? I think this is commonly referred to as the truth.
There is no other explanation for your vile attacks, which by the way started before UT played their first game. You still can't stand to give the man an iota of credit. Pretty easy call.

Which completely explains my lament at the fact Kevin Sumlin was not hired as our football coach during the last vacancy. I don't care what race our basketball coach is, but we went out and hired an unproven guy who has never taken a team to the NCAA tournament. Thus far 90% of his recruiting has been lackluster, we have a losing record, and he's wondering aloud why more UT fans aren't showing up to games (i'm one that is for the record). Were it not for Jarnell Stokes, what exactly would give you any hope for the future of UT basketball?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to brokebackvol:

I was also disappointed that CCM didn't continue the tradition that Bruce brought back during his tenure. Us older fans loved and appreciated the Ray Mears days, and I for one would like to see CCM embrace OUR traditions instead of trying to make UTK another Purdue.

Hmmm "Brokeback???" Scary handle but ok. Golly man. Who cares what he wears. It's not a fashion show.
Also Purdue's had some excellent teams and a very good program. Besides Martin probably read the flak about Dooley's orangy pants. I 'm thinking maybe even Dooley is rethinking those. I like anything Tennessee orange though including that jacket you mentioned. They have been wearing the classy looking orange striped ties. But AGAIN I say WHO CARES about fashion.lol

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