Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin can see Vols in NCAA play

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin calls to his players during the game against Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena in Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.  Kentucky defeated Tennessee 65-62.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin calls to his players during the game against Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena in Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 65-62. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin admits he's not a big reader, at least when it comes to what's being written about his basketball team.

That would explain why he missed what Kentucky coach John Calipari said about the Volunteers after the second-ranked Wildcats' close win in Knoxville on Saturday. It turns out the two coaches are in agreement.

Calipari ignored UT's 8-9 record and called the Vols an NCAA tournament team, and given how UT has played in its three SEC games, Martin said Monday he felt the same way

"Like I told our guys," said the first-year coach, "from Florida up until now, you say [we're] one of the 65 or 68 teams, I would say yes. But you have to put a lot of work to cover some ground. I would definitely say from the time we started league play up until now, when you pick 65 or 33, 35 [at-large] teams, I would say yes."

Continue reading at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Comments » 55

1bigvolman writes:

Definately improving, work hard and get better. Stop the turnovers by Golden and we're pretty good.

SummittsCourt writes:

This team definately is improving and playing hard. They held their own against three ranked opponents in their first 3 SEC games. A few bounces go their way and they could be 3-0 in conference.

SevenT writes:

It will be a miricle if UT is invited to the NIT. NCAA? Forget it!

westknoxrepub writes:

With 9 losses, including losses to Austin Peay, Charleston and Oakland. . .not likely. It's not like we're going to go undefeated for the rest of the SEC play. We'll be lucky to finish 8-8. . .and we're still 1-2 as it is.

lomas98 writes:

The optimism is great, but it is hard to make the NCAA with more than 12 or 13 losses at most. Even those teams have won some big out of conference games but usually fall flat in conference play. We haven't won any non conference games of significance. I dont see this team going 10-3 rest of the way in conference. The uconn game is last chance for a good non conference win. Ask pearl what beating non conference teams will do. I think if we lost to either pitt, nova, and didn't win at vandy that team would have missed the tourney. Last hears team still lost to charleston, Oakland, Charlotte, USC. I like Martin is trying to make the guys believe but our run in the NCAA appears over. Pulling out the first Memphis game would have given another opportunity for another strong out of conference game. Beating miss st would have helped too.

underthehill writes:

I look at the progress Hall, Maymon, and Woolridge have made in such a short time and with the addition of Stokes I can see how this team could finish strong and possibly win the SEC tournament. Otherwise it would be a minor miracle to get in the NCAA. The team defense and rebounding are greatly improved.

formerflgranny writes:

in response to SevenT:

It will be a miricle if UT is invited to the NIT. NCAA? Forget it!

You sound like you are a sorry loser - are you a florida fan?

TNVOLNTX writes:

Making the NCAA tournament will be a tall order, but it's possible. 17 wins puts us on the bubble. 18 wins likely gets us in. That means we would have to go 9 & 5 or 10 & 4 down the stretch to get in the conversation. Odds are certainly against it; however, with the addition of Stokes, and depending on his progression during that 14 game stretch, there is definitely a measure of hope that didn't exist a week ago. Go Vols!!

TNVOLNTX writes:

in response to SevenT:

It will be a miricle if UT is invited to the NIT. NCAA? Forget it!

Your making an intelligent comment (or even spelling "miricle" correctly)...now that, my friend, would be a miracle...of Biblical proportions no less.

volfan2002 writes:

If the team believes it can run off a streak of 4 or 5 wins in a row things certainly change as far as the NCAA. We need to win the rest of our home game which is 7 and 3 on the road. That would give us 10 and 6 SEC record and a NCAA opportunity. Road games we could win are Georgia, SC, and LSU. Home wins over Arkansas, Vandy, Auburn, Georgia, SC, and Ole Miss plus a win over UConn at home in a non conference games. That is a lot of work but all those games are winnable by this team.

samvol writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

With 9 losses, including losses to Austin Peay, Charleston and Oakland. . .not likely. It's not like we're going to go undefeated for the rest of the SEC play. We'll be lucky to finish 8-8. . .and we're still 1-2 as it is.

Steven, you sound like a broken record. Your daddy is NO LONGER the Tennessee Men's Basketball coach. There’s a new sheriff in Knox and his name is Cuonzo Martin, OK.

RoyaltyVol writes:

I have great confidence that coach Martin will be a winner at UT and will be in many NCAA tourneys at UT, however the only way we make it this year IMO is if we win the SEC Tournament, which I do think is possible. The future looks bright for UT BB. As much as I loved Pearl, the thing I like better about coach Martin is we play tougher and we hit freethrows.

GONAVY writes:

The next 3 games will tell a lot about UT. @UGA, U Conn at home, @VU. I think UT has molded into a better team than many predicted up front. NCAA team? That will have to play itself out. There's a lot of basketball ahead.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to samvol:

Steven, you sound like a broken record. Your daddy is NO LONGER the Tennessee Men's Basketball coach. There’s a new sheriff in Knox and his name is Cuonzo Martin, OK.

I'm not related to Pearl, but our new Sherriff has never been to an NCAA tournament, and this year will not be any different. People must not be paying attention to the record because we already have nine losses, and an SEC home loss. . .we're not making the NCAA tournament this year based on our record.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Every game is now a "must win"...or win the SEC tourney. Go Vols!

hikerdude writes:

The only way we go to the NCAA tournament is to win the SEC tournament. If the team continues to improve at the same rate, I think that is a definite possibility.

buzzkiller writes:

'Losing close' does not equal winning.
If a frog had wings...

GerryOP writes:

Win 4 in a row in March and we're in!

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

This made me laugh so hard I choked on my coffee..
Wins over
Chaminade
ETSU
Chatt
La Monroe
Ashville
Citadale
Greensboro
and a Florida team who had not won a road game all year is hardly impressive. Add a losing record with losses to Oakland, Austin Peay, Charleston and a Pitt team who scored 39 points in a loss this week, this guy must be crazy to mention the NCAA.
He needs to worry about his team that ranks number 90 in points per game and 123rd in rebounds per game. A couple of moral victories and he mentions the NCAA..beat somebody first!!
Hilarious.. this will not get a NIT Bid

CoverOrange writes:

"He needs to worry about his team that ranks number 90 in points per game and 123rd in rebounds per game"

I nominate those two categories for Most Meaningless Statistics in Sports. Geesh, talk about pulling stuff from the non-sunshiny part.

formerflgranny writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was correct you are a sorry loser! Stay on the subject and quit changing the topic. Why do you waste your time spewing garbage, don't you have a better life than that?

underthehill writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

This made me laugh so hard I choked on my coffee..
Wins over
Chaminade
ETSU
Chatt
La Monroe
Ashville
Citadale
Greensboro
and a Florida team who had not won a road game all year is hardly impressive. Add a losing record with losses to Oakland, Austin Peay, Charleston and a Pitt team who scored 39 points in a loss this week, this guy must be crazy to mention the NCAA.
He needs to worry about his team that ranks number 90 in points per game and 123rd in rebounds per game. A couple of moral victories and he mentions the NCAA..beat somebody first!!
Hilarious.. this will not get a NIT Bid

When I saw the progress this team has made against Fla, Miss St, and Ky ..I would've choked on my coffee too if I'd been sipping..This is not the same team we saw earlier in the year..The progress of Maymon, Hall, and Woolridge plus the addition of Stokes gives TN a tough inside game. I know the perimeter play has to get better and so does Martin and I know he is working on it. I do think it is possible (I agree it not likely) for this team to get to the NCAA by winning the SEC tournament and very possible they can make the NIT..a lot depends on the next 2 games and the progress of Stokes...

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your sorry UF team has two NC's. The sorry UF fans had a chance to buy tickets to the games, nothing more.

underthehill writes:

in response to hikerdude:

The only way we go to the NCAA tournament is to win the SEC tournament. If the team continues to improve at the same rate, I think that is a definite possibility.

Me too hiker....Martin is getting his players to start believing in themselves and playing up to their talent level..

CoverOrange writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

I'm not related to Pearl, but our new Sherriff has never been to an NCAA tournament, and this year will not be any different. People must not be paying attention to the record because we already have nine losses, and an SEC home loss. . .we're not making the NCAA tournament this year based on our record.

Based on our current record, correct. It is not impossible that UT could win the next 14 in a row. Not probable, but not impossible. The future is not a foregone conclusion yet, Mr. Pessimist.

born2ride writes:

I like the enthusiasm but we are 1-3 in our last 4 games including an embarrassing blowout loss to Memphis. Getting Stokes will help but I can't see this team making the NIT much less the NCAA.

I also don't see Martin sticking around long if he can't win soon. He is not Bruce Pearl.

Go Big Orange!

wigmeister writes:

Win the SEC tourney, and we are in!

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

Too many bad loses with I'm sure more to come. NIT only if The new guy plays 1/4 as well as Bernard King and that's a tall order.

dv8ing writes:

in response to born2ride:

I like the enthusiasm but we are 1-3 in our last 4 games including an embarrassing blowout loss to Memphis. Getting Stokes will help but I can't see this team making the NIT much less the NCAA.

I also don't see Martin sticking around long if he can't win soon. He is not Bruce Pearl.

Go Big Orange!

You're right, he is no Bruce Pearl. He has integrity! CM has done well. Given time, one more year, and UT will be a team to be reckoned with!

I can see UT winning the SEC tournament with a few breaks going their way.

UK fan here, so don't expect me to root for UT when they play, but living in Knoxville has tainted my "Blue" blood with a bit of "Orange"

underthehill writes:

in response to born2ride:

I like the enthusiasm but we are 1-3 in our last 4 games including an embarrassing blowout loss to Memphis. Getting Stokes will help but I can't see this team making the NIT much less the NCAA.

I also don't see Martin sticking around long if he can't win soon. He is not Bruce Pearl.

Go Big Orange!

The only way I can see Martin leaving UT is for a better job and I sure hope it don't happen. Martin is a total class act and is in the process of doing something very special at UT. Martin has a unique basketball background that will continue to serve him well in getting players like Jarnell Stokes and coaching them to the maximun level of their ability.. Of special interest to me is the comments from ESPN commentators and other coaches and the positive national attention it brings to UT basketball.

RoyaltyVol writes:

Sorry, can't resist, I still have the football bug, but just noticed we've moved up from # 14 to # 13 with Rivals in football recruiting, pretty impressive for a 5-7 team that most say is a sinking ship. If we can land 1 or 2 that are undecided, we can be a top 10 team this year in recruiting and with the talent thats returning, I'm very optimistic!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volfan2002:

If the team believes it can run off a streak of 4 or 5 wins in a row things certainly change as far as the NCAA. We need to win the rest of our home game which is 7 and 3 on the road. That would give us 10 and 6 SEC record and a NCAA opportunity. Road games we could win are Georgia, SC, and LSU. Home wins over Arkansas, Vandy, Auburn, Georgia, SC, and Ole Miss plus a win over UConn at home in a non conference games. That is a lot of work but all those games are winnable by this team.

That's almost exactly the way I see it. If they COULD finish that strong and if Stokes becomes the breakout star we hope he will, it will be obvious to all that this is NOT the UT team that lost to APSU, Oakland, et. al. Just how much good that does them will depend on a lot of other factors, but I think a finish like you described will at least get them on the bubble. Given where they were picked in the preseason, most people would call that progress.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

This made me laugh so hard I choked on my coffee..
Wins over
Chaminade
ETSU
Chatt
La Monroe
Ashville
Citadale
Greensboro
and a Florida team who had not won a road game all year is hardly impressive. Add a losing record with losses to Oakland, Austin Peay, Charleston and a Pitt team who scored 39 points in a loss this week, this guy must be crazy to mention the NCAA.
He needs to worry about his team that ranks number 90 in points per game and 123rd in rebounds per game. A couple of moral victories and he mentions the NCAA..beat somebody first!!
Hilarious.. this will not get a NIT Bid

Don't you think most of those teams are breathing a sigh of relief that they aren't playing the Vol team we have seen in the last 10 days or so? I don't know how far in advance you picked any spreads for Vol games that haven't been played yet, but if you have and if you haven't revised them somewhat, I don't see why any thinking person would rely on your advice. We all agree that the NCAA is a LONG shot right now, but people like you were giving them NO shot in the preseason. In the real world, there are no do-overs, but if there were, the Vols record would be more like 13-4 right now. Besides, the NCAA has traditionally given extra consideration to teams playing well late, especially if they have added a significant player. If the Vols go 10-6 in the SEC and beat UConn on Saturday, they will be in the NCAA conversation.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to dv8ing:

You're right, he is no Bruce Pearl. He has integrity! CM has done well. Given time, one more year, and UT will be a team to be reckoned with!

I can see UT winning the SEC tournament with a few breaks going their way.

UK fan here, so don't expect me to root for UT when they play, but living in Knoxville has tainted my "Blue" blood with a bit of "Orange"

No problem, buddy. Any fan of any team who is paying attention to what Martin is doing would agree that he has them going in the right direction. Gonna be awhile before he can draw in the equal to the parade of talent UK brings in every year, but a successful team doesn't have to be the best there IS, they only have to be the best on a given day, and Martin is almost there in how he gets the team to play.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If we go 8 and 8 in the SEC, which would be REALLY good given what he's got to work with, we'd finish the season either 16-15 (if we beat UConn) or 15-16 (in the more likely event that we lose). . .which isn't going to get an NCAA invite, and probably won't get an NIT invite.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

When I saw the progress this team has made against Fla, Miss St, and Ky ..I would've choked on my coffee too if I'd been sipping..This is not the same team we saw earlier in the year..The progress of Maymon, Hall, and Woolridge plus the addition of Stokes gives TN a tough inside game. I know the perimeter play has to get better and so does Martin and I know he is working on it. I do think it is possible (I agree it not likely) for this team to get to the NCAA by winning the SEC tournament and very possible they can make the NIT..a lot depends on the next 2 games and the progress of Stokes...

Just to make myself clear, I wrote my other reply referring to the teams the Vols lost to while your list was mostly the teams they beat. My main point stands.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

If we go 8 and 8 in the SEC, which would be REALLY good given what he's got to work with, we'd finish the season either 16-15 (if we beat UConn) or 15-16 (in the more likely event that we lose). . .which isn't going to get an NCAA invite, and probably won't get an NIT invite.

I agree; I think they will have to do better than 8-8 in the SEC and beat UConn to get in the NCAA. However, a closer look at the schedule makes me think they CAN do better than 8-8. I guess we'll see.

lomas98 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

That's almost exactly the way I see it. If they COULD finish that strong and if Stokes becomes the breakout star we hope he will, it will be obvious to all that this is NOT the UT team that lost to APSU, Oakland, et. al. Just how much good that does them will depend on a lot of other factors, but I think a finish like you described will at least get them on the bubble. Given where they were picked in the preseason, most people would call that progress.

Getting on the bubble begins and ends this week. I think we have to go 2-0 this week to even have talk of that. We don't have a good non conference win and need the UConn one. A home win over a ranked FL team will not get them on the bubble. Would have been nice to win one of these last 2 against ranked teams, especially the road game against Miss. St.. Not that many opportunities left in conference play to get a good one. I agree the team is playing a lot better now and the future is a lot brighter with Stokes, but you still have to win games to make the NCAA. A tough schedule only helps with wins. I think some are counting on GA being an easy W, but they will not. I know they are not as good as last year, but still playing at home and not wanting to go 0-4 in conference play.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to lomas98:

Getting on the bubble begins and ends this week. I think we have to go 2-0 this week to even have talk of that. We don't have a good non conference win and need the UConn one. A home win over a ranked FL team will not get them on the bubble. Would have been nice to win one of these last 2 against ranked teams, especially the road game against Miss. St.. Not that many opportunities left in conference play to get a good one. I agree the team is playing a lot better now and the future is a lot brighter with Stokes, but you still have to win games to make the NCAA. A tough schedule only helps with wins. I think some are counting on GA being an easy W, but they will not. I know they are not as good as last year, but still playing at home and not wanting to go 0-4 in conference play.

I don't recall UT EVER having an easy time with Ga. in either of the 2 main men's sports? Probably have sometime but I don't recall it off hand. I know this year Georgia has struggled some. But not as bad as Tn. has...well with the wins at least.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I don't recall UT EVER having an easy time with Ga. in either of the 2 main men's sports? Probably have sometime but I don't recall it off hand. I know this year Georgia has struggled some. But not as bad as Tn. has...well with the wins at least.

Um, UT didn't lose to Georgia in football during the 90's, and Pearl didn't lose a game to Georgia until about his 5th season (he never lost to Felton).

johnlg00 writes:

in response to lomas98:

Getting on the bubble begins and ends this week. I think we have to go 2-0 this week to even have talk of that. We don't have a good non conference win and need the UConn one. A home win over a ranked FL team will not get them on the bubble. Would have been nice to win one of these last 2 against ranked teams, especially the road game against Miss. St.. Not that many opportunities left in conference play to get a good one. I agree the team is playing a lot better now and the future is a lot brighter with Stokes, but you still have to win games to make the NCAA. A tough schedule only helps with wins. I think some are counting on GA being an easy W, but they will not. I know they are not as good as last year, but still playing at home and not wanting to go 0-4 in conference play.

Good points. While it does a team no good in terms of the record to lose to good teams, it does help in showing what the team needs to do to get better. Of course, that lesson can be learned in losing to teams they SHOULD beat, too, but winning a bunch of games against a bunch of cupcakes doesn't help in either case. Just ask last year's Bama team. As for UGA, there aren't many "gimmes" on the road in the SEC. A good win over the Dawgs on the road would be a nice way to start a good run through the SEC. As you say, it surely CAN'T start with a loss there.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

This made me laugh so hard I choked on my coffee..
Wins over
Chaminade
ETSU
Chatt
La Monroe
Ashville
Citadale
Greensboro
and a Florida team who had not won a road game all year is hardly impressive. Add a losing record with losses to Oakland, Austin Peay, Charleston and a Pitt team who scored 39 points in a loss this week, this guy must be crazy to mention the NCAA.
He needs to worry about his team that ranks number 90 in points per game and 123rd in rebounds per game. A couple of moral victories and he mentions the NCAA..beat somebody first!!
Hilarious.. this will not get a NIT Bid

BTW, PH, the figures you cite as if they were meaningful in themselves are evidence of fallacious thinking. In a given game, it DOESN'T MATTER what the averages are. While it is true that the Vols didn't score enough against MSU and UK, they held both teams CONSIDERABLY below THEIR averages. Same thing about rebounding numbers. I couldn't quote the specific rebounding stats in those games, but it was clear the Vols didn't get killed on the boards.

Both of those numbers reflect the pace of the game as much as they do anything meaningful enough to base picks on. The only thing that counts is the DIFFERENTIAL in those numbers in a GIVEN game, not the compilation of the teams' averages in PREVIOUS games. One would think that a professional handicapper would have a better knowledge of math than that.

johnlg00 writes:

PS to underthehill: My reply to you was intended for the "professional" handicapper. I'm definitely on YOUR side against that guy.

VolfanClinton writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

Sorry, can't resist, I still have the football bug, but just noticed we've moved up from # 14 to # 13 with Rivals in football recruiting, pretty impressive for a 5-7 team that most say is a sinking ship. If we can land 1 or 2 that are undecided, we can be a top 10 team this year in recruiting and with the talent thats returning, I'm very optimistic!

Even if we finished # 1 in recruiting we still have Dooley as coach !! With his on field blunders and lack of motivating players the team is doomed !! On the positive side, we will have better players for the next head football coach !!

volcraze writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

Sorry, can't resist, I still have the football bug, but just noticed we've moved up from # 14 to # 13 with Rivals in football recruiting, pretty impressive for a 5-7 team that most say is a sinking ship. If we can land 1 or 2 that are undecided, we can be a top 10 team this year in recruiting and with the talent thats returning, I'm very optimistic!

You arent the only one with the football bug. And glad to see I'm not the only one who is optimistic. I smell a bowl bid as long as everyone stays healthy.

TNVOLNTX writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well troll, now that you have mastered counting to two, might I suggest learning how to begin a sentence with the proper pronoun (Hint: "Us" is not correct). Once you've mastered counting and pronouns, you'll be one step closer to passing that GED. Keep up the good work.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

1/7/12 -- 67-56 ... Thought so.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Definition of a troll? Lil' ZZGataBoy ... where you been hiding?

GerryOP writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

However far your Gatas go, always remember ... 1/7/12 -- 67-56. And we're just getting started!

VolGrad writes:

We probably need to win 12 of the remaining 14 to make the NCAA tournament. The only way to get in with only 10 more wins is to make it to the championship game in the SEC tourney.

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