Cuonzo Martin: Florida 'a potential Final Four team'

Trae Golden named SEC player of the week

Tennessee's Trae Golden is tripped up by LSU's Andrew Del Piero at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Tennessee wins against LSU, 82-72.

(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Trae Golden is tripped up by LSU's Andrew Del Piero at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Tennessee wins against LSU, 82-72. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Sandwiched between Saturday’s for-the-ages quadruple-overtime win at Texas A&M and Tuesday’s home date with No. 5 Florida, Cuonzo Martin addressed the press at his weekly noon Media luncheon Monday.

The Vols are riding a five-game winning streak and sit in a three-way tie for fifth place in the SEC alongside Arkansas and Missouri. Tennessee is 16-10 overall and boasts the longest winning streak in the conference.

Florida is coming off a 17-point win over Arkansas, but has dropped two road games – at Missouri and at Arkansas – in its last six games.

“You’re talking about a potential Final Four team coming in – a team that you feel like you can beat and you have a great opportunity to continue to add to your NCAA profile as an NCAA tournament team,” said Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin.

UT point guard Trae Golden, who scored 20 points in a win over LSU last Wednesday and 32 against A&M on Saturday, was named SEC player of the week moments before Monday’s luncheon.

“Well there you go,” said Martin, told of the honor just after his opening statement. “It’s not a surprise. It’s a credit to Trae.”

In Saturday’s 93-85 victory at A&M, three different UT players – Trae Golden (56), Jordan McRae (56) and Jarnell Stokes (53) – played over 50 minutes, while two other – Skylar McBee (48) and Josh Richardson (43) – played over 40.

Martin stated fatigue won’t be a factor Tuesday.

“You have to win ballgames,” he said. “This is the most important ballgame on our schedule at this point. After this, we’ll look forward to the next game. I’ve never been a guy (to say) it’s a must-win game, but you’ve got to win the game.”

Tuesday’s tip-off is set for 9:00 and will be shown nationally on ESPN. Tennessee leads the all-time series against Florida 71-52, including a 43-15 in Knoxville. UT handed Florida a pair of losses last season.

Over their five-game winning streak, the Vols are shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 46.4 percent on 3-point attempts and 75.7 percent from the free-throw line. They’ve made 25 of 41 treys in their last three outings.

“I feel like we’re all shooting the ball well – there’s a sense of confidence there,” UT guard Skylar McBee said during the luncheon, adding, “It was impressive during the Texas A&M game because some shots didn’t fall early and we kind of rode it out.”

Florida will be without Michael Frazier II against Tennessee. The freshman guard suffered a concussion against Arkansas. Gators coach Billy Donovan has said he doesn’t know how long he will be out of the lineup. Frazier averages 6.4 points per game and is tied for third on the team with 43 made 3-pointers. He ranks first in the SEC shooting 54.9 percent from beyond the arc in league play.

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

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 21

bosscat writes:

3 weeks ago, would anyone besides a die-hard Vol have believed how big a game this is going to be? One game at a time--go vols!

8inarow writes:

I already know the storyline. Vols hit 28 of 32 free-throw attempts. Gators, 5 of 8.

bUTch_please writes:

...some cheese with your whine??????

IC_Vol writes:

in response to 8inarow:

I already know the storyline. Vols hit 28 of 32 free-throw attempts. Gators, 5 of 8.

Add three Gators foul. Wilbikan plays twelve minutes. That will work for me.

8inarow writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

...some cheese with your whine??????

Everyone noticed you didn't dispute what I posted...

8inarow writes:

in response to IC_Vol:

Add three Gators foul. Wilbikan plays twelve minutes. That will work for me.

Who is "Wilbikan"?

lstbodeanvol writes:

@8inarow here is hoping Martin & Company make it 3 in a row over eddie munster GO VOLS BEAT University Florida At Gainesville

murrayvol writes:

in response to 8inarow:

I already know the storyline. Vols hit 28 of 32 free-throw attempts. Gators, 5 of 8.

That's about right.

murrayvol writes:

A Final Four team?? Not unless they do some serious healing.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Everyone noticed you didn't dispute what I posted...

That was because it was as stupid as nearly everything else you post on here. If it works out anywhere near like what you say, it will be because the Vols have been taking the ball to the hoop lately and will probably continue to do so, while the Gators were trying to win it from outside. You don't draw fouls unless you drive it inside.

8inarow writes:

in response to johnlg00:

That was because it was as stupid as nearly everything else you post on here. If it works out anywhere near like what you say, it will be because the Vols have been taking the ball to the hoop lately and will probably continue to do so, while the Gators were trying to win it from outside. You don't draw fouls unless you drive it inside.

No, it is because the statistics show that the Vols get calls at home at a much greater rate than on the road, not to mention the number of times the shot-clock is fixed.

johnlg00 writes:

Even without Frazier, Florida has several guys who can fill it up from outside. The Vols need to be careful to stay within reach of their shooters but not to overcommit to the extent that they leave a lot of open driving lanes. They will also have be careful with the ball. Florida will press and the Vols HAVE to be ready for it. If the Vols can limit Florida's runouts with live-ball turnovers, the Gators will have to really scorch it from outside to score enough to win. Stokes has to be strong with the ball inside, since the Gator guards like to dig at it in help defense. He also needs to use ball-fakes against Young and not force it. Young is a decent shot-blocker, but he WILL foul if Stokes is patient, and without Yguete(sp?), they don't have much depth in the post.

Basketvol writes:

in response to 8inarow:

No, it is because the statistics show that the Vols get calls at home at a much greater rate than on the road, not to mention the number of times the shot-clock is fixed.

Statistics also show that Tennessee owned Florida in basketball last year. Expect that to continue tomorrow night.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 8inarow:

No, it is because the statistics show that the Vols get calls at home at a much greater rate than on the road, not to mention the number of times the shot-clock is fixed.

Are those statistics to be found anywhere besides on the insides of your eyelids? Besides, MOST teams get more calls at home, at least in part because they tend to push the action more. Finally, I defy you to show me that the Vols have any more problems with the shot clock than anybody else. I can see you are concerned about this game, as well you should be. The Gators have left TBA disappointed way more often than comparative rankings would seem to indicate. Billy seems to think it is because the Vols have often played harder than his team, but I guess you feel better with another excuse.

Basketvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Even without Frazier, Florida has several guys who can fill it up from outside. The Vols need to be careful to stay within reach of their shooters but not to overcommit to the extent that they leave a lot of open driving lanes. They will also have be careful with the ball. Florida will press and the Vols HAVE to be ready for it. If the Vols can limit Florida's runouts with live-ball turnovers, the Gators will have to really scorch it from outside to score enough to win. Stokes has to be strong with the ball inside, since the Gator guards like to dig at it in help defense. He also needs to use ball-fakes against Young and not force it. Young is a decent shot-blocker, but he WILL foul if Stokes is patient, and without Yguete(sp?), they don't have much depth in the post.

I agree with all you said and would add that they also need TBA to be packed with loud UT fans, giving this hard-working team the home court advantage that they deserve for this big game.

johnlg00 writes:

Amen, brother, amen! I just wish I could be one of them. Florida doesn't usually travel as well as UK, so if TBA IS full, it will be full of Vol fans. I hope the team has enough left in the tank to give them plenty to be loud about!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Amen, brother, amen! I just wish I could be one of them. Florida doesn't usually travel as well as UK, so if TBA IS full, it will be full of Vol fans. I hope the team has enough left in the tank to give them plenty to be loud about!

Yep. I wish I could be there. I really do.

I predict a spectacular game. win or lose.

Winning will be a much better win this year than our two wins last year. Ok not just because last year's done and gone. But because I believe that UT is potentially so much better. For one if we can beat Florida and win a few SEC tourney games then I believe we're in. The NCAA could not deny our improvement over early in the year.

Beating Florida to me is a must for our team to know we can win out. We CAN beat Missouri too. We can win the SEC tourney AND we can go to the big Tourney.

I just love bball.

albert63 writes:

in response to Basketvol:

Statistics also show that Tennessee owned Florida in basketball last year. Expect that to continue tomorrow night.

YOU BEAT US 4 GAMES IN 06 AND 07, BUT WE WERE NATIONAL CHAMPS

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to albert63:

YOU BEAT US 4 GAMES IN 06 AND 07, BUT WE WERE NATIONAL CHAMPS

Maybe we'd rather be the winners against ya'll. HUH?? 'JA EVER THINK 'BOUT THAT?? HUH?
SOME NC you couldn't even beat UT. HUH??

btw no I'm NOT 10. I'm a little older now.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to albert63:

YOU BEAT US 4 GAMES IN 06 AND 07, BUT WE WERE NATIONAL CHAMPS

Yes, and when they are completely healthy, I think the Gators are one of about 20 or 30 teams that could win it THIS year. Right now, all we are worried about is whether or not the Vols will win THIS GAME. History shows that they have a good chance to do so.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Oops....there went the number 1 seed! Oh my!

Rock on Vols! Rock on!

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