Cuonzo Martin examining starting lineup, may make changes if results don't improve

Tennessee guard Darius Thompson (15) drives downcourt as North Carolina State forward Kyle Washington (32) tries to catch up after Thompson stole the ball from North Carolina State forward T.J. Warren (24) during the second half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. Tennessee lost to North Carolina State 65-58. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee guard Darius Thompson (15) drives downcourt as North Carolina State forward Kyle Washington (32) tries to catch up after Thompson stole the ball from North Carolina State forward T.J. Warren (24) during the second half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. Tennessee lost to North Carolina State 65-58. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

A conversation Tennessee men’s basketball coaches started kicking around two weeks before the Vols lost to N.C. State became more pressing after the Wolfpack left Thompson-Boling Arena with a win last Wednesday. The starting rotation is being examined. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin’s comments after the fourth loss of the season made it even more clear.

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Comments » 18

VibrantVol writes:

Martin has never figured out the point guard position since he's been here. Trae Golden left because he was going to be replaced.

rocket22 writes:

Vols only have a few problems...

1. Offense is terrible. No direction. too much passing the ball around before getting a shot, does not take advantage of fast break chances.

2. Defense is worse. Refusal to play zone when man-to-man is not working. Lack of full court pressure, especially when they are behind.

3. Coaching. Two 5-star players (Stokes and Hubbs)have been coached into being 2-star players.

It is time for the administration to swallow their pride and bring Bruce back or accept the attendance at TBA as averaging less than 10K per game.

wigmeister writes:

The reason he wants to hold opponents to 60 or less is because our offensive scheme sucks. We don't score points. We can't shoot foul shots. We make stupid fouls and too many turnovers. Other than that, we are fine!!!! Coach is in over his head. Like Dooley, he cannot make changes he needs to on the fly.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to rocket22:

Vols only have a few problems...

1. Offense is terrible. No direction. too much passing the ball around before getting a shot, does not take advantage of fast break chances.

2. Defense is worse. Refusal to play zone when man-to-man is not working. Lack of full court pressure, especially when they are behind.

3. Coaching. Two 5-star players (Stokes and Hubbs)have been coached into being 2-star players.

It is time for the administration to swallow their pride and bring Bruce back or accept the attendance at TBA as averaging less than 10K per game.

Totally agree along with a few more points, but there is no reason to beat a dead horse.

UT fans need to understand they have a voice in who the coach is in all major sports. All they have to do is stop going to the games and buying gear. Then let the media know how displeased you are. Change will come.

If the fans will stop going to TBA this season and Zo doesn't make the tourney he will be gone. Bama Dave played the game for the Tide in college. He knows good and bad basketball.

FWIW, how in the world is there any doubt that the line-up should change? Or they can keep doing the same thing and lose. Duh.

magicbyswh#221420 writes:

Martin with the talent you have you only give the grade "c" ? Come on man ! I would like you as my teacher. I see an "F" As far as Barton we now see why he was second team at Memphis. He is not starting material. But he does fit in Martins system because he CAN"T SCORE the ball. Better find someone other than McRae. NIT BOUND AGAIN

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Let's see: after losing four games, and thinking it over for a few weeks, he might tweak the lineup a little?

How about after a few minutes in any game, when those in the game are not producing?

Of course, if coach has not prepared his five stars to perform, what are the odds he has prepared the other light bulbs?

I'm just saying.

Plasticman85 writes:

" if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". I guess CCM hasn't figured this out. He needs to make changes in the lineup immediately, not say " we haven't made any decisions". Even the fans can see there needs to be some changes. There needs to be a spark in this team.. Armani Moore is the one player that plays 110% every play. Give him an opportunity and put some of the dead weight on the bench.

irishcoffee writes:

one thing he can do is stop splitting minutes between point guards. how can you get chemistry if you are rotating your court leaders? it is apparent that Thompson needs to be in the game 30 miutes and let Barton spell him.

Free Armani Moore!! He sparked us against TN Tech, saw 4 minutes against Wichita State, and never left the bench against NC State. Stop playing head games Conzo!!

underthehill writes:

I hope Martin does something that turns this thing around ..quick..his players seem to have far more character than those brought to K Town by Bruce Pearl..I'm sure law enforcement would agree...

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rocket22:

Vols only have a few problems...

1. Offense is terrible. No direction. too much passing the ball around before getting a shot, does not take advantage of fast break chances.

2. Defense is worse. Refusal to play zone when man-to-man is not working. Lack of full court pressure, especially when they are behind.

3. Coaching. Two 5-star players (Stokes and Hubbs)have been coached into being 2-star players.

It is time for the administration to swallow their pride and bring Bruce back or accept the attendance at TBA as averaging less than 10K per game.

Bruce(or anybody else). IS. NOT. Coming back. Before. The. Season. Is. OVER! You and all the others who have said much the same thing are wasting your time and pixels to suggest anything else.

johnlg00 writes:

One thing that might help is playing the same five players more than about two minutes at a time. The only way for a team to have cohesion on the court is for them to play enough together to have a feel for what each one does best and a commitment to make it possible for them to do that. Of course, the unfortunate tendency for Stokes, to name one, to get in early foul trouble makes it hard to KEEP the same five on the floor, but that idea is certainly a good place to start. Then perhaps bring in some of the subs as a unit to press full court for, say, five minutes at a time. Or something--but please do SOMETHING!

rocket22 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Bruce(or anybody else). IS. NOT. Coming back. Before. The. Season. Is. OVER! You and all the others who have said much the same thing are wasting your time and pixels to suggest anything else.

It is my time and my pixels to waste as I see fit.

Optimism is better than defeatism.

bUTch__please writes:

Okay...I'll jump in. Coach Zo is between a rock and a hard place because if he doesn't play Stokes, or give him enough minutes to build his stats, Coach Zo gets a black mark from other 5 star prospects for not being able to get him to the league.

Fact is, Stokes is a cancer. The offense is tuned to him playing up to his potential, which he has never done. He pouts and shuts down if he gets doubled, gets an early whistle or the rest of the team quits feeding him the ball. Can't blame them, I have never seen a big man with his obvious strength be so weak, slow and lacking in creativity around the rim. Sit. Him. Down.

Maymon's lost that first step explosion to attack the rim but still has the basketball intelligence find the open shooter from the top of the key.

We need Davis on the floor 30+ minutes. He is fast, can shoot and is very disruptive on defense. Give him Stokes minutes.

Let Thompson take over the team. Barton and Richardson can split the wing, depending on which one decides to attack the paint on a given night. Like irishcoffee said, Free Armani if these two cats can't get 12 points a night between the 2 of 'em.

Speaking of attacking the paint, who has put super glue on McRae's shoes? Why is he just standing around 19 feet from the basket? Last year and the few times this year he's come to play...his quick intelligent drives into the paint are unstoppable. When he makes it known that is what he will do every time...all of a sudden he has the room to step back and shoot an uncontested three. Let Davis and Maymon clean up the boards.

Am I the only one that sees this?

This trying to force an inside-out offensive game is hogwash. We have NO inside threat. Time to dribble drive 'em to death and take the 9 foot jumpers.

wilk58 writes:

To drive you need lanes. To open up the key you need an outside threat. Shooting 3 for 23 and some shots there was not a defender within 10 feet just isn't a threat.

Like John said try something different!

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Bruce(or anybody else). IS. NOT. Coming back. Before. The. Season. Is. OVER! You and all the others who have said much the same thing are wasting your time and pixels to suggest anything else.

I do not think Pearl will come back to coach UT but I do believe he will be hired by another school if he wants a coaching job..and Martin will be the UT coach for the remainder of this season..

no1djkb#278630 writes:

I had faith in this guy and he has been a awful coach so far. He has been the worse I have seen at UT. I just hope we can play competitive because right now we are a awful basketball team. These guys have no confidence to do anything.

johnlg00 writes:

Butch, I'm not sure I would go quite as far as you do in some areas, but I definitely agree with the idea that the lane area needs to be kept open more than it is. I think Stokes can play if he moves around more. He is just not a Kareem or an Olajuwon who can be constantly posted low and expected to score among the trees. Part of it is creativity, as you say, but most of it is sheer lack of size to play that style. While he is camped down there, so are a couple of defenders, so McRae and the others don't have room to drive. I would rather see him at the high post and then flash to the low block for feeds. He can pass easier from that position as well. I don't know what the answer is to the serious lack of outside shooting. There are things I might try to correct about how they set up to shoot, but basically that is on the players.

johnlg00 writes:

I was happy to see that the Vols did some of the things I recommended, not that MY recommendation had anything to do with it! Stokes showed that he can shoot and handle from the high post, the middle was kept open much of the time for others to drive the lane, and the team generally showed better movement and cohesion on the offensive end than they have for most of the season so far. Let's just hope they can keep it going after the holidays!

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