Cuonzo Martin talks about confident Vols

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin yells to his players in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin yells to his players in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Coming off a historic 30-point beatdown of 25th-ranked Kentucky, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin addressed the media Monday at his weekly press luncheon. Reversing course, Martin talked of a Vols team rolling along on a three-game win streak.

Just two weeks ago, UT was 11-10 overall, 3-6 in the SEC and had lost seven of its last 10 games.

Now the Vols are 14-10 and 6-6 in conference play.

“It’s amazing what confidence can do for you,” Martin said. “It’s the same team. We haven’t changed anything, outside of tweaks here and there. It’s the same system.”

Tennessee will take its newfound confidence into a meeting with LSU at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday night (TV: ESPNU 7:00 p.m.). The Tigers (15-8, 6-6) are led by sophomore Johnny O’Bryant, 6-foot-9 forward averaging 13.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

Martin used Monday to praise his Vols for their recent comeuppance. Trae Golden is averaging 17.3 points per game over the last three games, while, defensively, UT has held those three opponents – South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kentucky – to 55.0 points per game. A plus-10 average rebound margin has come despite a reliance on a four-guard lineup.

“You got to stick with it,” Martin said. “You’ve got to give guys a level of confidence. You can’t beat guys up, make them feel uncomfortable, make it where they hate coming to practice. You lose some games, you learn from them. Our problems were things we could correct. It’s not a case where we were out-manned and the other teams were that much better.”

More coming online and in Tuesday’s News Sentinel.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 22

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Well I guess I'll take first shot...maybe

I'm not sure about the system but those tweaks were good changes imho.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

The system is good, but if you don't execute and make the shots you lose. They're making the shots and getting good contribution from other player like McBee, Moore, Hall and Richardson. But the key is the big three being productive - Golden, McRae and Stokes.

VolGrad writes:

Keep 'em rolling, CCM. And thanks for a great Junior Day for the Tennessee program!

GBO!

CoverOrange writes:

OKay, granted it's the same system, I assume the same system as last year; just don't understand why most of the same players from last year had to take 3 months to relearn it. I'm hoping CCM's system doesn't only work in months with less than 30 days.

samvol writes:

whatever it is keep it going..rematch ole miss

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

OKay, granted it's the same system, I assume the same system as last year; just don't understand why most of the same players from last year had to take 3 months to relearn it. I'm hoping CCM's system doesn't only work in months with less than 30 days.

People underestimate how much the loss of Maymon affected the team. He was the hub around which all else revolved last year. He was a good enough ball-handler that the absence of a true point guard wasn't as significant as it has been at times this year. He took inside defensive pressure off of Jarnell. There just was no one to replace what he brought to the team, so of course the team had to learn to play a different way. It is too bad it took them so long, but they seem to be in a pretty good groove right now. I hope they can keep it going.

GrandCanyonVol writes:

Told you last week that I liked Coach Martin. He stands by his players and he has character. I believe he has the know how to get this done. Can the players back him up and be consistent. They have to have enough character to do that or nothing works. I believe they do have what it takes!!!!!!!!!!

freevol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

People underestimate how much the loss of Maymon affected the team. He was the hub around which all else revolved last year. He was a good enough ball-handler that the absence of a true point guard wasn't as significant as it has been at times this year. He took inside defensive pressure off of Jarnell. There just was no one to replace what he brought to the team, so of course the team had to learn to play a different way. It is too bad it took them so long, but they seem to be in a pretty good groove right now. I hope they can keep it going.

excellent post.martin hopefully will be at ut a very long time.

claiborneh writes:

Boring uninspiring brand of basketball. Kentucky feels like a quality win but it was not. Kentucky was as down as they ever been. I know, I'm not a "true Vol," a troll...whatever. Gene Keady never won a national championship in 25 years at Purdue with this boring brand of basketball. It's good to see wins and confidence. My point is the bigger picture. I'm not changing my feelings on this brand of basketball based on three wins against weak to average teams. Still not a quality win this season outside Wichita State

Rumblefish writes:

A 30 point beatdown on Kentucky almost makes me forget about the pains all season long prior to Saturday. Almost.....

FeelVol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

People underestimate how much the loss of Maymon affected the team. He was the hub around which all else revolved last year. He was a good enough ball-handler that the absence of a true point guard wasn't as significant as it has been at times this year. He took inside defensive pressure off of Jarnell. There just was no one to replace what he brought to the team, so of course the team had to learn to play a different way. It is too bad it took them so long, but they seem to be in a pretty good groove right now. I hope they can keep it going.

I think you're spot on again John,I think Golden has probably missed him as much as anyone and they just seemed to have a real nice feel for one another.It seems that this team is just now beginning to mesh,perhaps alittle late but none the less setting a nice foundation for next year but I've been encouraged by the development of the younger players this year.Go Vols!!! P.S. I also hope they can keep it going.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to johnlg00:

People underestimate how much the loss of Maymon affected the team. He was the hub around which all else revolved last year. He was a good enough ball-handler that the absence of a true point guard wasn't as significant as it has been at times this year. He took inside defensive pressure off of Jarnell. There just was no one to replace what he brought to the team, so of course the team had to learn to play a different way. It is too bad it took them so long, but they seem to be in a pretty good groove right now. I hope they can keep it going.

Good points as usual, J-l00. In thinking about them, I might expound that CCM's "system" is fluid in that each player has to find his role in it to make it work rather play the role handed to him. Jarnell has figured out to make the pass on the backside. Kenny Hall has figured out he doesn't have to play like a center all the time.

I hope they keep it going. I read another article that speculated that Kentucky may have to win another 5-6 games to get in the tourney. Where does that put us 4 fewer wins and only 6 reg season games to go.

kazoo writes:

..."praise for their recent /comeuppance/"? Is that supposed to be a pun--or just what I think it is, very bad word usage? Comeback, yes, but not comeuppance.

lstbodeanvol writes:

go vols go coach martin

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Like the team's attitude. Wasn't particularly sold after the South Carolina game, but my interest perked up a bit when they won at Vandy, especially after I watched the 'Dores chew up Arkansas the Saturday before. Then with the 30-point win over Kentucky, I'm thinking that maybe this team has really put something together. After being left for dead after the Georgia game, this team has played its best basketball the last three games. But they have to keep coming strong. Right now, they've pretty much assured themselves of an NIT berth. But even that was doubtful 3 games ago. To do anything else, like sitting on the couch watching Selection Sunday, the Big Orange will likely have to run the table in its last 6 regular season games, then make it at least to the finals of the SEC tournament. If they can somehow pull this off, they would have a 12-game win streak, a 23-10 record, and everything that comes with it. They would dance then. But all of this is a tall, tall order. They have to beat LSU before they can hope to do anything. But maybe, just maybe...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to claiborneh:

Boring uninspiring brand of basketball. Kentucky feels like a quality win but it was not. Kentucky was as down as they ever been. I know, I'm not a "true Vol," a troll...whatever. Gene Keady never won a national championship in 25 years at Purdue with this boring brand of basketball. It's good to see wins and confidence. My point is the bigger picture. I'm not changing my feelings on this brand of basketball based on three wins against weak to average teams. Still not a quality win this season outside Wichita State

C'mon Claire!! EVERY win's a quality win. well other wise it's a loss.

OK I get what you're saying. You don't really like watching people dribble, pass, and playing defense. You just like fast breaks, dunks, and lots of made 3 pointers. Don't want to have to use any game plan but scoring.

hmm I like it when can we start?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to kazoo:

..."praise for their recent /comeuppance/"? Is that supposed to be a pun--or just what I think it is, very bad word usage? Comeback, yes, but not comeuppance.

Speaking of weird words? Where did the word "kazoo" come from (and I don't mean your handle)?
Odd word.

Comeuppance? Should you use 2 ps in that word? come-upence? come-uppance? comersup? I'm gonna look it up....some time I will...maybe

hikerdude writes:

It is amazing how much better a team is when it makes its shots.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Good points as usual, J-l00. In thinking about them, I might expound that CCM's "system" is fluid in that each player has to find his role in it to make it work rather play the role handed to him. Jarnell has figured out to make the pass on the backside. Kenny Hall has figured out he doesn't have to play like a center all the time.

I hope they keep it going. I read another article that speculated that Kentucky may have to win another 5-6 games to get in the tourney. Where does that put us 4 fewer wins and only 6 reg season games to go.

The whole idea about the "motion offense" is that players have to recognize and take advantage of their own opportunities. It is not necessarily a slow-down offense, it's just that this team has not been as quick to spot their opportunities. It DOES require that the players have a good feel for what each of them likes to do and what they are best at. Then they can help each other out by setting screens and looking for them when they get in favorable positions. It has taken a while, but I think they are getting that sense now.

As for your last question, it puts the Vols right where we all think they are, i.e., they have to win all they can and let the NCAA selection committee make whatever decision they want, hopefully based on criteria everybody can understand.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to kazoo:

..."praise for their recent /comeuppance/"? Is that supposed to be a pun--or just what I think it is, very bad word usage? Comeback, yes, but not comeuppance.

I was thinking the same thing! "Comeuppance" is what some sneaky person gets when his sins have found him out. "Comeback" or something similar works much better there. As I have said before, I applaud Brendan for stretching himself as a writer but he is subject, as I guess we all are to some extent, to using words wrongly sometimes.

Basketvol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Good points as usual, J-l00. In thinking about them, I might expound that CCM's "system" is fluid in that each player has to find his role in it to make it work rather play the role handed to him. Jarnell has figured out to make the pass on the backside. Kenny Hall has figured out he doesn't have to play like a center all the time.

I hope they keep it going. I read another article that speculated that Kentucky may have to win another 5-6 games to get in the tourney. Where does that put us 4 fewer wins and only 6 reg season games to go.

That puts us in need of an SEC Tournament Championship!

Basketvol writes:

in response to decades_vol:

Like the team's attitude. Wasn't particularly sold after the South Carolina game, but my interest perked up a bit when they won at Vandy, especially after I watched the 'Dores chew up Arkansas the Saturday before. Then with the 30-point win over Kentucky, I'm thinking that maybe this team has really put something together. After being left for dead after the Georgia game, this team has played its best basketball the last three games. But they have to keep coming strong. Right now, they've pretty much assured themselves of an NIT berth. But even that was doubtful 3 games ago. To do anything else, like sitting on the couch watching Selection Sunday, the Big Orange will likely have to run the table in its last 6 regular season games, then make it at least to the finals of the SEC tournament. If they can somehow pull this off, they would have a 12-game win streak, a 23-10 record, and everything that comes with it. They would dance then. But all of this is a tall, tall order. They have to beat LSU before they can hope to do anything. But maybe, just maybe...

I like your 23-10 scenario. Just took care of LSU and step one. On to the next game!

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