Cuonzo Martin: Vols are a 'better team' now

Cuonzo Martin explains the phrase 'staying ugly'

Cuonzo Martin believes Tennessee is a better team than when it most recently faced Kentucky, on Jan. 14 when the Wildcats scored a 65-62 victory in Knoxville.

"We're a better team, but now you have to go on the road in a hostile environment and prove it," the Vols' first-year coach said at his Monday press luncheon. "Let's go play and have some fun and compete. As a ballplayer, you embrace that (Rupp Arena) type of atmosphere. You want a hostile environment.

"It's a matter of carrying out the necessary assignments on both ends of the floor.'

The rankings indicate Kentucky is a better team since the teams last played, too. The Wildcats have ridden a 13-game win streak to the No. 1-ranking in the nation.

The Vols (10-11, 2-4 SEC) play at Kentucky (20-1, 7-0) on Tuesday night (TV: 7 p.m., ESPNU).

The Wildcats also boast the longest active home win streak in the nation at 47, with 46 of those coming at Rupp Arena.

More details as they develop online and in Tuesday's News Sentinel.

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Comments » 49

HarryHood writes:

47 game home win streak, with 46 of the wins at home. Can someone clarify?

lomas98 writes:

Where was KY's other home win during this streak? That doesn't make any sense. TN has certainly played better at home recently and Stokes does make them better since his debut against KY. KY will elevate their level of play at home just like TN does. I know we matched up with them pretty well in Knoxville but I don't think we can pull this one out. For some reason I see this one going like KY did to Arkansas. Arkansas plays very well at home and some thought they would give KY a good game in Rupp and it was not that competitive. Hopefully our guys will elevate their level of play like they did at Miss St. and not Vanderbilt.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm guessing that one game was played very close by either on campus or the civic center or something. But obviously not at Rupp.
Let's say we play our very bestest! Let's say they play their absoute worstest! Now that would be a great game to watch...and that 47 games in a row would stop...I think.
Their worstest against our worstest would be a toss in their favor a little.
Their average game against our best game we win.
Our bestest game against their best game uhhhh
let's say we win 'cause I want it.
Any way you look at it our cheerleaders/dancers are better looking...though theirs have more muscle...and armpit hair...and
Actually the cheer thing I really don't have a clue but GO VOLS BEAT the CATS!!!
I hate cats...gagging hairballs etc.

BrassMonkey writes:

Yeah right! keep dreaming. Wait till we play another road game. Vols get slammed by 20 at Rupp tomorrow. We can't even hang with a mediocre Vandy team. MTSU played them tighter.

lomas98 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

Yeah right! keep dreaming. Wait till we play another road game. Vols get slammed by 20 at Rupp tomorrow. We can't even hang with a mediocre Vandy team. MTSU played them tighter.

Maybe we can the game switched to their other home arena??? MTSU did play Vandy tighter, pretty easy to get up more for a conference rival who swept you twice last year though. Using that logic, you should have said Indiana St. and Cleveland state BEAT Vandy in Memorial. Different games mean different results.

troubleinc writes:

in response to HarryHood:

47 game home win streak, with 46 of the wins at home. Can someone clarify?

UK played the opening round of the NIT in 2009 in Memorial Coliseum on the UK campus. It was their gym prior to Rupp being built, and I think the game was moved to Memorial because Rupp was hosting the KHSAA high boys finals. NOT a UK fan, just happen to live in Lexington. GO BIG ORANGE

troubleinc writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't think the NCAA counts the game UK played in the Yum Center in Louisville as a 'home game'. Think the streak includes the NIT game versus UNLV that was played in Memorial.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Makes you question what the definition of home is, doesn't it Mike. Someone should offer UK a million dollars to let UT move The Summitt to Rupp for one game.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

To win we may have to make the # of 3s we've been missing. We may have to turn Ky. over more than that 26% rate that we get sloppy. We will have to turn it over zero times. We make every free throw which will need to be a lot and we'll need them to miss their free throws. They'll need to shoot 30% from the floor. The refs will need to help us and hurt them. Their best players are kicked off their team before the game so they'll only have 3 or four NBA futures left. Then we need a crater the size of their bench to open up right under their bench just as they sit down so they can't leap away with their huge amount of athleticism leaving them with only maybe 2 possibly non-NBA talents left that probably maybe can't beat us. And our defense will still need to step it up along with our offense. Oh yeah!! We'll need to shoot 100% of our floor and foul shots really.
It's gonna be awful.
Ok really I don't think it will be as bad as the Vandy game. I put our chances of winning at= possibly or maybe.

Ironcity writes:

I expect a blow out loss but have hope for something better. I don't think we can shoot any worse then we have but unfortunately I have a feeling UK will not take UT lightly after the near loss a couple of weeks ago.

jamgod writes:

Tenn is going to get killed at Rupp! Especially with Tatum on the floor for UT. Hey! I wish it wasn't the case but Kentucky is sooooo much more talented than Tenn. and knows what to do with the ball. Tenn has some really STUPID players on the floor that overshadow the great efforts by the other players....and you guys know who I'm talking about. I'm not "dogging" Tenn, that is just the way it is, plain and simple. Maybe next year will be different--but not Tuesday night. I can hope though, and that is pretty much what every Tenn fan is doing...Hoping for a win that will not happen...shure would love to eat some crow though....

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to troubleinc:

UK played the opening round of the NIT in 2009 in Memorial Coliseum on the UK campus. It was their gym prior to Rupp being built, and I think the game was moved to Memorial because Rupp was hosting the KHSAA high boys finals. NOT a UK fan, just happen to live in Lexington. GO BIG ORANGE

I thought Rupp was built in the late 70s. I don't remember. I do remember my late sister saying that TN won the game on the opening night with Grunfeld and King. I may be talking out the other end, I honestly can't remember. Go Vols! Skin the cats!!!

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

Oops. My bad. I misread the article. Thought he posted that they were waiting on Rupp to open. This TX weather is killing me slowly.

Ironcity writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your ideas would still have wings that can't throw it in the ocean or handle the ball. You could put D Rose out their but it wouldn't make our wings better ball handlers and passers. Your focus is on the wrong area. Add a wing will good ball skills and suddenly Golden looks really good.

notorange writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

May happen if we can play a wide receiver at point guard.........lol

gboyd_98#326757 writes:

Will someone please fire this idiot coach!! We had the best basketball coach in the country who could win against any team with the players we have now and this idiot is making us a laughing stock. Then our former idiot AD hires this idiot and then the AD resigns. So why are we keeping this stupid coach?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to notorange:

May happen if we can play a wide receiver at point guard.........lol

If he can complete the short passes, I say go for it!

69grad writes:

Ballers, go in there with a chip on your collective shoulders. GBO!

Katphan29 writes:

in response to lomas98:

Where was KY's other home win during this streak? That doesn't make any sense. TN has certainly played better at home recently and Stokes does make them better since his debut against KY. KY will elevate their level of play at home just like TN does. I know we matched up with them pretty well in Knoxville but I don't think we can pull this one out. For some reason I see this one going like KY did to Arkansas. Arkansas plays very well at home and some thought they would give KY a good game in Rupp and it was not that competitive. Hopefully our guys will elevate their level of play like they did at Miss St. and not Vanderbilt.

The other home win was at UK's Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, the previous UK arena prior to Rupp, and its current practice facility.

JDL211 writes:

in response to gboyd_98#326757:

Will someone please fire this idiot coach!! We had the best basketball coach in the country who could win against any team with the players we have now and this idiot is making us a laughing stock. Then our former idiot AD hires this idiot and then the AD resigns. So why are we keeping this stupid coach?

you were obviously in a coma all last year, so I hope you are feeling well enough to handle the news that your beloved coach led his team to 8-9 in the second half of the season and took a totally demoralized team into the tournament. His team stone cold quit on him against a mediocre Michigan team (9-10 in the Big 10)and were humiliated 75-45 to close out a disastrous season. Maybe he will turn out to be a "great" marketer for a regional foodservice company though. The jury is still out.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

This is one where the best to expect is a "moral" victory. Don't call me a troll. We can always hope for an upset.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to gboyd_98#326757:

Will someone please fire this idiot coach!! We had the best basketball coach in the country who could win against any team with the players we have now and this idiot is making us a laughing stock. Then our former idiot AD hires this idiot and then the AD resigns. So why are we keeping this stupid coach?

You need to check into a clinic ASAP for your obvious problem.

Sounds like a break down waiting to happen.

Sick................

Ironcity writes:

in response to JDL211:

you were obviously in a coma all last year, so I hope you are feeling well enough to handle the news that your beloved coach led his team to 8-9 in the second half of the season and took a totally demoralized team into the tournament. His team stone cold quit on him against a mediocre Michigan team (9-10 in the Big 10)and were humiliated 75-45 to close out a disastrous season. Maybe he will turn out to be a "great" marketer for a regional foodservice company though. The jury is still out.

Wow. SO even though Coach Pearl had success for something like 20 straight years, brought UT up from the depths of basketball purgatory, you focus on one game in April that the team played awful knowing their coach was getting fired the next day. You may not like the guy, you may not like his style, you may be upset he invites players over to barbecues and doesn't want to share that info with the NCAA, but you should absolutely understand the man could coach and resurrected this program to a point where their are a lot of people who actually care if we win or lose. I like Martin and think he has a plan that can work. He hasn't though even come close to duplicating what Pearl did during his time here. Given time I hope he can get close to or equal to what Pearl did but I doubt he is capable of making UT basketball the must see event Pearl did.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not sure Freedom Hall even exists anymore, but I could be wrong about that. Now that the U of Louisville has their own arena, I doubt the 'Cats will ever play a "neutral-court" game in Louisville again.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your keyboard to God's eyes, RTR!

My prediction for the game is as follows: 1) most of the Vols will play really hard; 2) one or more of the Vols will ALSO play really WELL, gaining the respect if not admiration of even the UK fans; however, 3) none of that will prevent a UK win, if only because 4) if the Vols have a three-possession lead with a minute to go, someone will trip a fire alarm in Rupp Arena, whereupon the UK administration will petition the SEC to declare the game a "no-contest" rather than allow the Vols to walk out of Rupp with a win!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Your keyboard to God's eyes, RTR!

My prediction for the game is as follows: 1) most of the Vols will play really hard; 2) one or more of the Vols will ALSO play really WELL, gaining the respect if not admiration of even the UK fans; however, 3) none of that will prevent a UK win, if only because 4) if the Vols have a three-possession lead with a minute to go, someone will trip a fire alarm in Rupp Arena, whereupon the UK administration will petition the SEC to declare the game a "no-contest" rather than allow the Vols to walk out of Rupp with a win!

Correction: I should have said "none of that will produce a UT win". Maybe we'll get 'em next year.

DougSharp writes:

As I posted on another thread: here's a stretch at an effort to find something to give us hope.... Auburn out rebounded Kentucky a few weeks ago. Yeah, amazing to think considering their feet never left the floor against us on Saturday. If we can win the boards, prevent the easy put backs, and make a few ourselves we'll keep it close til the end. If there is a team out there that is overdue for a positive outcome on a last second situation this year it's the Vols.

The key will be to have less than three turnovers in the first half and hold the turnovers to single digits in the second half. I haven't seen anything of late that suggest we can do that in the second half against a team like KY. on their home court though.

And in closing here's some obscurity:

The Vols are 4-2 in their last six games against Number 1 ranked teams, including 2-0 in recent years.

Dougb-VFL writes:

in response to gboyd_98#326757:

Will someone please fire this idiot coach!! We had the best basketball coach in the country who could win against any team with the players we have now and this idiot is making us a laughing stock. Then our former idiot AD hires this idiot and then the AD resigns. So why are we keeping this stupid coach?

Please calm down,it is just a game and while I agree that our former coach could win anywhere I also understand that Cuonzo is working hard to get us back where we need to be.People keep trashing Golden,McRae,and Cuonzo but I feel that they are vital to our success and I have faith in them to do their job.Trae really needs some help closing out games and another ball handler would be nice.No matter what happens do not let it get you down because we wil be a tourney team soon! VFL

GONAVY writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

Yeah right! keep dreaming. Wait till we play another road game. Vols get slammed by 20 at Rupp tomorrow. We can't even hang with a mediocre Vandy team. MTSU played them tighter.

Vanderbilt is far above mediocre. They're a very good team. MTSU is better than UT, this year.

Ironcity writes:

in response to DougSharp:

As I posted on another thread: here's a stretch at an effort to find something to give us hope.... Auburn out rebounded Kentucky a few weeks ago. Yeah, amazing to think considering their feet never left the floor against us on Saturday. If we can win the boards, prevent the easy put backs, and make a few ourselves we'll keep it close til the end. If there is a team out there that is overdue for a positive outcome on a last second situation this year it's the Vols.

The key will be to have less than three turnovers in the first half and hold the turnovers to single digits in the second half. I haven't seen anything of late that suggest we can do that in the second half against a team like KY. on their home court though.

And in closing here's some obscurity:

The Vols are 4-2 in their last six games against Number 1 ranked teams, including 2-0 in recent years.

I hope your right.

VolunteerLifer writes:

According to some, they don't have much depth. We do. I say we send our bench players at them in waves with instructions to pound on Kentucky. Hell, we're gonna get called for more fouls than them anyway cause its Rupp. Let's get our money's worth and make them black and blue. We have four bigs, including Woolridge, besides our top two. Our bench bigs could just pound on their bigs in hopes we could wear them down by the second half. That's the only advantage that I see we have. I say we use it. And for those faint of heart, I recall the Joe B Hall days when the blue b@st@ards came in to Stokely and did just that to us.

GONAVY writes:

An earlier poster wrote that he/she felt UT will slow it down and it will be a lower scoring game. I think that's pretty accurate. I think UT will play it closer than the public thinks, but UK will win. I really wish UT or someone would knock Calipari off his throne. His rant last week about being willing to play anyone at midnight on an interstate, or some such garbage, was over the top. He doesn't wear his narcissism well.

Orangeball writes:

Kentucky did not play their best ball against us two weeks ago and we played about as good as we could play. When they decided to kick it in gear they did. Kentucky will not make the same mistake and they obviously have film on how we're using Stokes. We WILL slow down the game, it's all we know how to do. It's boring basketball at it's best and I really don't see how that will change. Coach Martin is a Big 10 guy and that's how they play. Walk the ball up, run down the shot clock and jack up a shot. Once in a while you get lucky against a team who gets impatient. Watched a couple Big 10 games this weekend and one was like 24-19 at the half. Kentucky scores more than the total of those two teams in a half. My girl's Upward team scores more than those teams scored for a half. As Hardee's says,"It's just the way it is!"

Ironcity writes:

in response to GONAVY:

An earlier poster wrote that he/she felt UT will slow it down and it will be a lower scoring game. I think that's pretty accurate. I think UT will play it closer than the public thinks, but UK will win. I really wish UT or someone would knock Calipari off his throne. His rant last week about being willing to play anyone at midnight on an interstate, or some such garbage, was over the top. He doesn't wear his narcissism well.

The problem with slowing it down is you have to be able to execute your offense without turning it over. UT hasn't been able to do that. Against a team like UK who is talented defensively and has a player like Davis that can cover up for the risk the guards take for UK it could get real ugly real fast.

I hope UT can have a good shooting game. We are really due for one. Tatum is due of his one good game in six Golden is real streaky and him hitting his last shot suggest he will come out firing. Its going to take great rebounding great defense and blazing shooting to stay in this game. Even then UK will probably shoot 40FT to our 10.

IBAVolFan writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Wow. SO even though Coach Pearl had success for something like 20 straight years, brought UT up from the depths of basketball purgatory, you focus on one game in April that the team played awful knowing their coach was getting fired the next day. You may not like the guy, you may not like his style, you may be upset he invites players over to barbecues and doesn't want to share that info with the NCAA, but you should absolutely understand the man could coach and resurrected this program to a point where their are a lot of people who actually care if we win or lose. I like Martin and think he has a plan that can work. He hasn't though even come close to duplicating what Pearl did during his time here. Given time I hope he can get close to or equal to what Pearl did but I doubt he is capable of making UT basketball the must see event Pearl did.

I doubt it too. Pearl was one good coach.
Coach Martin should have a decent year next year and then it is downhill again, if Stokes leaves.

FanNotSheep writes:

Have to agree, but not gonna matter at Rupp. I think they will play better than they did at Georgia and hopefully better than they did at Vandy, but Kentucky at Rupp with the zebras and the fans on their side: This could get ugly.

If UT can keep it within 10 points they should get a trophy. It's like playing a second-tier NBA team when you go up to Rupp these days – except the Kentucky players have to hide their money in their sock drawer until draft day.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Have to agree, but not gonna matter at Rupp. I think they will play better than they did at Georgia and hopefully better than they did at Vandy, but Kentucky at Rupp with the zebras and the fans on their side: This could get ugly.

If UT can keep it within 10 points they should get a trophy. It's like playing a second-tier NBA team when you go up to Rupp these days – except the Kentucky players have to hide their money in their sock drawer until draft day.

FannotSheep,

You're probably right.

It'll be a tough go against the OAD's.

Voltillyafall writes:

Did I hear Jimmy Dykes correctly that Tennessee turns the ball over 24% of its possessions??

If so...come on Cuonzo. Tighten things up.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to gboyd_98#326757:

Will someone please fire this idiot coach!! We had the best basketball coach in the country who could win against any team with the players we have now and this idiot is making us a laughing stock. Then our former idiot AD hires this idiot and then the AD resigns. So why are we keeping this stupid coach?

Worst post I've seen in a while. Makes me long for born2ride. Martin is not an idiot, for one thing. Bruce Pearl did a very good job as coach, for a while. Then he did the most idiotic thing he could have done, lying to the NCAA. Plus, his last team, with Harris, Hopson and four other departing players, took 15 games on the chin, eight of them at home. A blowout loss to Michigan made it a season to remember. We lost to Charleston and Oakland at home last year, plus a poor Charlotte team on the road. We went 3-5 in the SEC at HOME, LAST YEAR. The greatest of all was the 15-point home loss to Indianapolis last year, in front of 18,000 or so fans (wonderful effort in that one). Circumstances were complicated, yes, but last year we stunk. This year, with less talent and inconsistent play, the team is playing with much more enthusiasm and hustle than last year's crew. As much as I liked Bruce Pearl (and I did, a lot), he ended up with a mediocre team, a blowout first-round loss in the Big Dance, and a three-year show-cause penalty for all his efforts. Don't talk to me any more about Bruce Pearl magic. Let Cuonzo Martin coach this team and get the best effort out of it that he can. He and the team will need all the support it can get tomorrow night. I don't expect a win in Rupp, but I do believe they'll bring the effort. Enough said.

Theo writes:

in response to gboyd_98#326757:

Will someone please fire this idiot coach!! We had the best basketball coach in the country who could win against any team with the players we have now and this idiot is making us a laughing stock. Then our former idiot AD hires this idiot and then the AD resigns. So why are we keeping this stupid coach?

Yyyaaaaaawwwwwwwwnnnnnnnn. I'm sorry, did you say something?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

This is one where the best to expect is a "moral" victory. Don't call me a troll. We can always hope for an upset.

Troll?? Why would anyone call you a troll if you're really for UT? I don't think anyone on here regularly thinks we will win at Rupp. Besides it's in the player's hands. Right?
The only people I call trolls are the ones who without knowing anything about the team put down everything UT is and create who they think we are. That's my excuse anyhow.
Ok sometimes just for fun I might use the word "troll" just for fun and excitement and all around jocularity. hehe
However I can't speak for the other "trollsters".

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to decades_vol:

Worst post I've seen in a while. Makes me long for born2ride. Martin is not an idiot, for one thing. Bruce Pearl did a very good job as coach, for a while. Then he did the most idiotic thing he could have done, lying to the NCAA. Plus, his last team, with Harris, Hopson and four other departing players, took 15 games on the chin, eight of them at home. A blowout loss to Michigan made it a season to remember. We lost to Charleston and Oakland at home last year, plus a poor Charlotte team on the road. We went 3-5 in the SEC at HOME, LAST YEAR. The greatest of all was the 15-point home loss to Indianapolis last year, in front of 18,000 or so fans (wonderful effort in that one). Circumstances were complicated, yes, but last year we stunk. This year, with less talent and inconsistent play, the team is playing with much more enthusiasm and hustle than last year's crew. As much as I liked Bruce Pearl (and I did, a lot), he ended up with a mediocre team, a blowout first-round loss in the Big Dance, and a three-year show-cause penalty for all his efforts. Don't talk to me any more about Bruce Pearl magic. Let Cuonzo Martin coach this team and get the best effort out of it that he can. He and the team will need all the support it can get tomorrow night. I don't expect a win in Rupp, but I do believe they'll bring the effort. Enough said.

Pearl, the media, NCAA, SEC, "rabid" so called fans, ???
I blame everyone BUT last years players. They gave up yes but who wouldn't with all the uncalled for exposure of the media.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to DougSharp:

As I posted on another thread: here's a stretch at an effort to find something to give us hope.... Auburn out rebounded Kentucky a few weeks ago. Yeah, amazing to think considering their feet never left the floor against us on Saturday. If we can win the boards, prevent the easy put backs, and make a few ourselves we'll keep it close til the end. If there is a team out there that is overdue for a positive outcome on a last second situation this year it's the Vols.

The key will be to have less than three turnovers in the first half and hold the turnovers to single digits in the second half. I haven't seen anything of late that suggest we can do that in the second half against a team like KY. on their home court though.

And in closing here's some obscurity:

The Vols are 4-2 in their last six games against Number 1 ranked teams, including 2-0 in recent years.

I responded to that response btw and I'll do it again here.
Our rebounding is our best feature! Who'd a thunk it before the season? But as I pointed out before I agree with the stretch part. Because we can't shoot much better than Auburn AND there may not be many rebounds from their shooting(hope I'm wrong). I love your optimism however.

What was that Aubie vs. Ky. score? Again (as on the other article) don't tell me.
Lol
We WILL somehow pull this one out.

UT 3 UK 0

who knows after that first shot?

JDL211 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Wow. SO even though Coach Pearl had success for something like 20 straight years, brought UT up from the depths of basketball purgatory, you focus on one game in April that the team played awful knowing their coach was getting fired the next day. You may not like the guy, you may not like his style, you may be upset he invites players over to barbecues and doesn't want to share that info with the NCAA, but you should absolutely understand the man could coach and resurrected this program to a point where their are a lot of people who actually care if we win or lose. I like Martin and think he has a plan that can work. He hasn't though even come close to duplicating what Pearl did during his time here. Given time I hope he can get close to or equal to what Pearl did but I doubt he is capable of making UT basketball the must see event Pearl did.

1.) I was just responding to the guy who said he could beat any team with the current players when the facts clearly dispute that. 2.) calling out his 2nd half record and referring to the season as disastrous is obviously focusing on more than just one game. The Michigan rout was just a gigantic cherry with whipped cream on top of the mess Pearl created at UT 3.) If Martin gets the program going he will truly have accomplished something. When Pearl slithered into town he took over a UT program in the doldrums, but clean nonetheless. Martin is taking over a program in crisis. I personally think coaches should be held to a higher standard than just giving people something to do during the winter.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to DougSharp:

As I posted on another thread: here's a stretch at an effort to find something to give us hope.... Auburn out rebounded Kentucky a few weeks ago. Yeah, amazing to think considering their feet never left the floor against us on Saturday. If we can win the boards, prevent the easy put backs, and make a few ourselves we'll keep it close til the end. If there is a team out there that is overdue for a positive outcome on a last second situation this year it's the Vols.

The key will be to have less than three turnovers in the first half and hold the turnovers to single digits in the second half. I haven't seen anything of late that suggest we can do that in the second half against a team like KY. on their home court though.

And in closing here's some obscurity:

The Vols are 4-2 in their last six games against Number 1 ranked teams, including 2-0 in recent years.

That works for me, Doug! A few less silly, careless plays and a few more strong, tough-minded plays, and who knows what might happen. There are no unbeatable teams, this year especially. As Martin says, this team must learn to embrace games like this as opportunities to excel and not think of themselves as beaten before they ever take the floor. I'm pretty sure a win would put a whole different shine on the whole season, and it IS possible, if unlikely.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

According to some, they don't have much depth. We do. I say we send our bench players at them in waves with instructions to pound on Kentucky. Hell, we're gonna get called for more fouls than them anyway cause its Rupp. Let's get our money's worth and make them black and blue. We have four bigs, including Woolridge, besides our top two. Our bench bigs could just pound on their bigs in hopes we could wear them down by the second half. That's the only advantage that I see we have. I say we use it. And for those faint of heart, I recall the Joe B Hall days when the blue b@st@ards came in to Stokely and did just that to us.

Good idea. I don't want to see the game devolve into a slug-fest, but the Vols will need to be physical and make all their fouls count. Nothing annoys me worse than those one-finger "excuse-me" fouls when a guy is putting in a layup. Make a solid, physical--but NOT dirty or flagrant--play on the ball, but don't just give him a little pat as he goes by. If you have a chance to stop him, then STOP him and make him earn it at the line. If he has you beat, let him go and play him better next time.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I didn't realize that! Irony abounds! So many complain about how Martin has done with a team of scrubs he mostly inherited at a relatively undistinguished basketball school, while Louisville, a marquee program coached by a future Hall-of-Famer, is struggling and hasn't really made a splash in the NCAA for several years now.

Ironcity writes:

in response to JDL211:

1.) I was just responding to the guy who said he could beat any team with the current players when the facts clearly dispute that. 2.) calling out his 2nd half record and referring to the season as disastrous is obviously focusing on more than just one game. The Michigan rout was just a gigantic cherry with whipped cream on top of the mess Pearl created at UT 3.) If Martin gets the program going he will truly have accomplished something. When Pearl slithered into town he took over a UT program in the doldrums, but clean nonetheless. Martin is taking over a program in crisis. I personally think coaches should be held to a higher standard than just giving people something to do during the winter.

Pearl took over a clean program? Ha! You have a short term memory. Buzz ran one of the worst programs in the country. Before the year started Pearl kicked off the starting PF (Hendrix) for a fight with a football player he had a center that couldn't stop smoking dope and eventually got kicked off the next year. The other forward had been kicked out of UCLA. He had to endure a scholly shortfall for two years thanks to Buzz and Jerry. Buzz tried to get a kid in school who couldn't pass an 8th grade test. Lofton, Bradshaw and Watson were great guys but the rest were questionable at best. The fact is every basketball program has its warts and their will always be recruits who end up being bad seeds. Pearl actually did well with his players with the exception of Ramar Smith but that was a necessary risk because like this year we had no PG.

You can look at every program in the country short of Duke and Stanford and your going to find issues. Now you can bury your head in the sand and think that all the players Martin is bringing in will be great citizens but the facts will bare out that some will not be. I like to look at grad rates and Pearls is pretty good. Also you may bring up Tyler Smith but he was a commit to your great guy Buzz before he went somewhere else. You should ask the players that played for Pearl to be the judge. Ask Lofton, Watson, Bradwhaw, Jajuan about Pearls character. All of those guys along with players he kicked off the team defend him. I am sure you have reasons for your hatred of coach Pearl but the facts pretty much slam your argument. By the way at least UT got to the dance to get hammered. This team probably won't have to worry about that or getting hammered in the NIT either. Additionally Pearl never lost to a team as inept as Austin Peay.

Now I like Martin but I think he is boring. I think our offense looks pretty lame and reminds me of the O'neal days. We play hard on defense but I don't see us turn anyone over nor due I see us turn defense into offense. Pearl was the master of getting the east buckets. Thats why we always won the close games. I see Martin as a coach in learning with great potential. I do worry that we are a stepping stone program for him and if he is wildly successful he will be gone.

JDL211 writes:

I must have missed the NCAA sanctions levied against UT because of Peterson. As far as Austin Peay you must have blocked this one out....University of Charlotte 49 (10-20; 2-14) University of Tennessee 48.

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