Mike Strange: Vols gave themselves a chance, but Rupp won again

Mike Strange
Kentucky's Ryan Harrow (12) shoots in front of Tennessee's Jordan McRae during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Photo by James Crisp

Kentucky's Ryan Harrow (12) shoots in front of Tennessee's Jordan McRae during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Snatching a win at Rupp Arena happens about as often as a total solar eclipse.

In Tennessee's case, it happens maybe once per coaching tenure — if you're lucky.

Don DeVoe, Jerry Green and Bruce Pearl were lucky — once. Wade Houston and Buzz Peterson weren't.

Cuonzo Martin's first trip to Rupp last year was a 25-point sacrifice to the future national champions. His second, Tuesday night, was an entirely different deal.

As the minutes, the possessions, the media timeouts came and went, the seeming impossible was growing, in fact, quite possible.

Derek Reese, a freshman playing his fourth game, swished a 3-pointer that put Tennessee ahead of Kentucky 54-53 with 7:15 to play.

Moments later, Reese toed the free-throw line and hit both tries to forge a 56-56 tie.

With only 6:27 to play, anything was on the table. Anything included Kentucky losing again three days after upstart Texas A&M swooped in from the Lone Star State and won.

You know how it ended. Kentucky won 75-65, the final margin being its biggest lead of the night.

That leaves the Vols 4-34 in Rupp. And it leaves them wondering when there might be another chance as ripe as this one.

"When you're on the road,'' Martin said, "you always say to give yourself a chance.

"But we're not trying to just be respectable. We're trying to win a ballgame and we came up short.''

The Vols did so many things right to give themselves a chance.

They shrugged off their slow-start blues, shooting 56 percent in the first half.

They hung tough, keeping the crowd of 24,033 fidgeting in their seats rather than raising the roof.

Jordan McRae continued his tour de force, scoring 23 points, producing clutch baskets so often when the Vols needed one to stifle a Kentucky run.

Reese and fellow freshman Armani Moore didn't look in the least intimidated, combining for 14 points.

Yemi Makanjuola doesn't have the stat line to show for it, but he made a difference in the paint during his 14 minutes before fouling out.

Just give yourself a chance.

Even after Kentucky eased out to a 71-63 lead with a minute to play, Tennessee, against all odds, still found a way to give itself a chance.

Josh Richardson's driving bucket made the difference 71-65 and Martin called a quick timeout with 50.4 seconds on the clock.

Then the Vols did something they almost never do — they pressed and forced Kentucky's Julius Mays into a turnover.

Not just any turnover. This was better. After the officiating crew replayed the sequence, Mays was called for a flagrant offensive foul.

That meant free throws and possession for the Vols.

With 42 seconds on the clock, Richardson stepped alone to the free throw line for two shots. The other nine players watched from near their respective benches.

And when you're at the line in an orange uniform in Rupp in the final minute, that is as alone as it gets.

Richardson, a sophomore, is a career 58 percent free-throw shooter. He'll never forget his first try. Hopefully, in time he'll be able to laugh about it.

Airball.

Then Richardson's second shot didn't fare any better, although it did draw iron.

The Rupp denizens, knowing their heroes had dodged a bullet, roared. Tennessee put the ball in play, but McRae's driving try was off the mark.

Instead of closing the gap to 71-69 or — with a trey 71-70 — UT was still down six.

Kentucky got a free throw then Trae Golden missed a wide-open driving layup, putting it up off the glass too hard.

The door closed.

Who knows when the Vols will give themselves another opportunity like this one.

This is Kentucky's vulnerable moment, a pause between the typically dominating juggernauts coach John Calipari has produced with his one-and-done formula.

"I thought our guys put ourselves in position,'' said Martin. "We just didn't capitalize.''

Visitors don't put themselves into that kind of position very often. Not here.

Rupp won again.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 43

stevefrommemphis writes:

When did the rules start allowing coaches to ask the refs to go check the TV monitor for a foul/elbow that wasn't called? I've never seen it before, but the UT-Ky game is the only one I watch played at Lexington. Incredible.

If DeVoe, Green, and Pearl had the opportunity to ask the refs to check the monitor at Corrupt Arena, Tennessee might have 12-15 wins there over the past 35 years, instead of 2.

Rumblefish writes:

Just cut the string already. Get rid of Gonzo.

Face it...if he were a good coach, he would be doing better.

Oh wait...here comes the "patience" crowd. My retort---why isn't he recruiting the "one and done" kids that win championships??? Fact is...he can't. If he could, he would.

Gonzo can't get to the NCAA tourney with "2 and done" kids.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Hey Grumblefish. How's your morning?

JonGrudensAgent writes:

Shooting air balls from the stripe with the game in the balance is not amusing.

An upperclassman guard who has almost as many turnovers as points is not amusing.

Watching a top 20 prospect regress badly in his second season under this coach is not amusing.

4 game losing streaks in the heart of the season is not amusing.

Strange says Richardson may eventually be able to laugh off that air ball but there isn't anything remotely enjoyable or fun about the product Martin is putting on the court.

crmcm44#321757 writes:

They got beat by a mediocre UK team. Biggest problem is coaching but not all the problems are a result of coaching. Buzz or Wade Houston ball again. Not fun to watch; waiting for the next mental lapse or a brick to be launched.

Sir_Spanky writes:

Bruce Pearl.

brokebackvol writes:

BRING BACK BRUCE!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Just cut the string already. Get rid of Gonzo.

Face it...if he were a good coach, he would be doing better.

Oh wait...here comes the "patience" crowd. My retort---why isn't he recruiting the "one and done" kids that win championships??? Fact is...he can't. If he could, he would.

Gonzo can't get to the NCAA tourney with "2 and done" kids.

All the coaching in the world is no good if players don't make plays. That flagrant foul sequence is one example. The half-dozen or more missed layups are another. The failure to secure a few more defensive rebounds and loose balls were others. The team actually ran more plays on offense, more successfully, than at any time so far this season. The Vols went toe-to-toe with the program and at the place that has frustrated a variety of UT coaches--and lots of others, for that matter--for decades if not generations. This Vol team is not dead yet. This particular crop of UK "one-and-dones" is not likely to win a championship; last year's crop was lightning in a bottle, not a formula to ensure championships. No one else has succeeded with that formula, only UK under Calapari would even try it, and it may not work for him again.

claiborneh writes:

This team invents ways to lose. Left all kinds of points on floor. I cringed watching the last sloppy mismanaged last minutes of game. The ball should have been in Jordy's hands every possession in the end. What on Earth are you doing coach. Manage the game!

CoverOrange writes:

I read the title of this article and expected it to be about the refs.

Interesting that we struggle to score against a team known for playing poor defense.

How many times did an orange shirt slip or otherwise have his legs come out from under him while driving to the basket? Was it just the shoes?

dcap8424 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

All the coaching in the world is no good if players don't make plays. That flagrant foul sequence is one example. The half-dozen or more missed layups are another. The failure to secure a few more defensive rebounds and loose balls were others. The team actually ran more plays on offense, more successfully, than at any time so far this season. The Vols went toe-to-toe with the program and at the place that has frustrated a variety of UT coaches--and lots of others, for that matter--for decades if not generations. This Vol team is not dead yet. This particular crop of UK "one-and-dones" is not likely to win a championship; last year's crop was lightning in a bottle, not a formula to ensure championships. No one else has succeeded with that formula, only UK under Calapari would even try it, and it may not work for him again.

I agree with you to a certain extent, but how else do you explain the regression of Stokes and Golden if not by poor coaching? Lack of effort and intensity and focus and whatever else you want to say? Sure, but aren't these things they are supposed to learn from their coach? Coaches don't make the plays, but they teach the kids how to. When you look at the talent we have compared to the results we've seen it's hard not to blame coaching.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Uk's 10 FT's to UT's 0 in the first half pretty much nailed this game.

Rupp magic.

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to johnlg00:

All the coaching in the world is no good if players don't make plays. That flagrant foul sequence is one example. The half-dozen or more missed layups are another. The failure to secure a few more defensive rebounds and loose balls were others. The team actually ran more plays on offense, more successfully, than at any time so far this season. The Vols went toe-to-toe with the program and at the place that has frustrated a variety of UT coaches--and lots of others, for that matter--for decades if not generations. This Vol team is not dead yet. This particular crop of UK "one-and-dones" is not likely to win a championship; last year's crop was lightning in a bottle, not a formula to ensure championships. No one else has succeeded with that formula, only UK under Calapari would even try it, and it may not work for him again.

They went toe to toe? Well at least they were on the same court, but the final result was all too familiar - another big "L".

Missed layups and FTs, lack of def rebounds, turnovers...all point to something far short of all the coaching in the world. It was not just a bad night, that is the way they play every game. It is clear they are getting beat in all facets of the game, so why can't some coaching get some of that corrected? Cuz they can't, don't know how, who knows?

Current players seem to regress vs improve under this staff. Lose, lose, lose and lose again, that is our last 4, but wait - more to come!

underthehill writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

When did the rules start allowing coaches to ask the refs to go check the TV monitor for a foul/elbow that wasn't called? I've never seen it before, but the UT-Ky game is the only one I watch played at Lexington. Incredible.

If DeVoe, Green, and Pearl had the opportunity to ask the refs to check the monitor at Corrupt Arena, Tennessee might have 12-15 wins there over the past 35 years, instead of 2.

There is no question in my mind this is outside the rules of the game..play continued after the contact by McBee with no foul being called..then when a foul was called on Harrow..Cal stated he told the ref..we saw an elbow by McBee..if you're going to call a foul on my guy you have to call a foul on them..the refs then went to the monitor and called the foul as instructed..when you go to Rupp you know they will have the edge..but you don't expect this..and Golden played so bad it was amazing the Vols even were in the game..I was proud of the way the young guys stepped up and hope we see far more of them the rest of the year..with a win in sight ..I was highly disappointed (that is putting it mildly) last night..but I can take a more reasonable look this morning..UT did compete hard and exceeded my expectations in this game..it is evident this is not the Ky of the last 2 years ..but they are a very talented team who has played a tough schedule..I still think they will make the big show...

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

All the coaching in the world is no good if players don't make plays. That flagrant foul sequence is one example. The half-dozen or more missed layups are another. The failure to secure a few more defensive rebounds and loose balls were others. The team actually ran more plays on offense, more successfully, than at any time so far this season. The Vols went toe-to-toe with the program and at the place that has frustrated a variety of UT coaches--and lots of others, for that matter--for decades if not generations. This Vol team is not dead yet. This particular crop of UK "one-and-dones" is not likely to win a championship; last year's crop was lightning in a bottle, not a formula to ensure championships. No one else has succeeded with that formula, only UK under Calapari would even try it, and it may not work for him again.

I had hoped UT would compete and not let the officials take them out of the game..I thought UT did that as much as possible..re: missed layups by Golden and the numerous stupid decisions he made..senseless..he looked lost on defense..if this is due to him being hurt..have to get him off the floor till he heals..your observation that UT ran more plays on offense is right on..as for UK..some forget Cal has won only ONE championship with all the talent he has had..and the team he had last year was not led by just "one and dones"..Miller and Lamb were the guys who stepped up in the clutch and proved to be the leaders that won it for KY..this Ky team has no Lamb and Miller but are highly talented..they have lost several close games to outstanding teams..including #1 Louisville..and I still think they make the big show..I did like the way the young Vols fought and did not quit..

ewhite#207432 writes:

Has Martin ever gotten a technical foul in his coaching life? I hate coaches who will not fight for their players on the court! Martin looks and acts like a coach who can't get the job done. The refs have to enjoy working UT games..no hassle from the coach.

laraccoon writes:

in response to ewhite#207432:

Has Martin ever gotten a technical foul in his coaching life? I hate coaches who will not fight for their players on the court! Martin looks and acts like a coach who can't get the job done. The refs have to enjoy working UT games..no hassle from the coach.

i have to agree with on that, i used to think his laid back approach with the refs was a benefit but man i would have come unglued just on the Mcbee incident alone . when Makanjuola got his fifth foul and ESPN showed the replay there wasnt even anybody near him i knew that game was over ,there was no way the refs were going to let Kensluppy lose .

hikerdude writes:

When Martin was hired,I thought that with his resume of having played major college ball and some in the pros, he would be able to coach his players up, something that I thought BP didn't do too well. I thought that that would help a lot in recruiting. Looks like I was way wrong. Stokes hasn't improved a bit. In fact, he has gotten worse. That is a coaching problem.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to ewhite#207432:

Has Martin ever gotten a technical foul in his coaching life? I hate coaches who will not fight for their players on the court! Martin looks and acts like a coach who can't get the job done. The refs have to enjoy working UT games..no hassle from the coach.

No doubt, he doesn't give the players much grief either..The guy seems disconnected from the game completely (perception or reality) either way he looks totally lost, and the results would lean toward totally lost.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to dcap8424:

I agree with you to a certain extent, but how else do you explain the regression of Stokes and Golden if not by poor coaching? Lack of effort and intensity and focus and whatever else you want to say? Sure, but aren't these things they are supposed to learn from their coach? Coaches don't make the plays, but they teach the kids how to. When you look at the talent we have compared to the results we've seen it's hard not to blame coaching.

I don't know any more than anyone else what the coaches are trying to teach these guys, but I'm pretty sure they have tried to tell Golden to be more careful with the ball. In a previous article, Stokes said he was having trouble finding the balance between being aggressive and taking what the defense gives him. I don't know what is wrong with Golden lately, but I don't see how poor coaching changes a player from an 80%+ free-throw shooter into about a 60% one from one year to the next. Both of those seem to be things that the player has to figure out for himself. The only thing the coaches can do is tell and show the players what they need to do. If they don't do those things satisfactorily, the coaches can sit them down to encourage more effort and diligence in doing those things. CCM has shown that he is not afraid to use pine time as such a teaching tool. It still comes back to the player doing what he is supposed to do. If you noticed, this year's UK team--despite having what most would regard as far superior talent overall compared to what UT currently fields and despite the fact that most would consider Calapari superior to Martin as a coach--doesn't always do what he tells them to do, either. If you think all this has to do with poor coaching, then it may be that you don't fully understand how coaching works and what it can and can't do.

thevoice writes:

in response to laraccoon:

i have to agree with on that, i used to think his laid back approach with the refs was a benefit but man i would have come unglued just on the Mcbee incident alone . when Makanjuola got his fifth foul and ESPN showed the replay there wasnt even anybody near him i knew that game was over ,there was no way the refs were going to let Kensluppy lose .

Yep, and a team (or business, family, etc.) takes on the personality of its leader.

hikerdude writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I don't know any more than anyone else what the coaches are trying to teach these guys, but I'm pretty sure they have tried to tell Golden to be more careful with the ball. In a previous article, Stokes said he was having trouble finding the balance between being aggressive and taking what the defense gives him. I don't know what is wrong with Golden lately, but I don't see how poor coaching changes a player from an 80%+ free-throw shooter into about a 60% one from one year to the next. Both of those seem to be things that the player has to figure out for himself. The only thing the coaches can do is tell and show the players what they need to do. If they don't do those things satisfactorily, the coaches can sit them down to encourage more effort and diligence in doing those things. CCM has shown that he is not afraid to use pine time as such a teaching tool. It still comes back to the player doing what he is supposed to do. If you noticed, this year's UK team--despite having what most would regard as far superior talent overall compared to what UT currently fields and despite the fact that most would consider Calapari superior to Martin as a coach--doesn't always do what he tells them to do, either. If you think all this has to do with poor coaching, then it may be that you don't fully understand how coaching works and what it can and can't do.

Apparently some coaches do it a lot better than others. Compare Pearl and Martin for example. BBB

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

The name of the game is recruiting in every sport. Until we get players that can play that are between 6'10" and 7' that can control the boards on offense and defense we will be a sub par program.

MR_VOL writes:

Here is the problem. Vol nation had experienced much success in Men's Basketball with Bruce and have come to expect, even demand success. After a person once experiences success, it is much harder to accept little to no success.

It is like driving a Ford Escort most of your life [DeVoe, Houston, Green, O'Neil, Peterson], then hitting the lottery and driving a Mercedes 550 [BRUCE] for a few years, then losing all your money and having to bring the old Ford Escort back into service [Martin]. It is an automatic recipe for disappointments, anger, and regrets!

B3 [BRING BACK BRUCE]

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to claiborneh:

This team invents ways to lose. Left all kinds of points on floor. I cringed watching the last sloppy mismanaged last minutes of game. The ball should have been in Jordy's hands every possession in the end. What on Earth are you doing coach. Manage the game!

Martins offensive scheme after Yemi fouled out with 7 minutes left was awful..Don't know what game you were watching but Martins game plan in the last 6 minutes was give the ball to McRAE and let him go one on one and go to the basket..For a while it was working but the Cats threw 3 big bodies at Jordan and made it impossible for him to do anything but throw up wild shots

martinvol34 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Okay. Enough. If Stokes had any work ethic and wasn't lazy as he!! he would be a highlight reel. Undersized post players have to develop their skills - themselves. He has to get to the gym outside of practice and take a 1000 shots so that he doesn't have to be 2 feet from the basket to make a shot. He also has bad footwork and seems lost on defense and rebounding. They need to watch Izzy and Bashaara pursue the basketball on rebounds - that is part learned skill but mostly want to. And the Martin bashing is almost turning into racism it seems. It's Year 2 and basketball is about the players for the most part. They have to want to play defense and bang and hustle and Trae plays when he wants and Jarnell can't stay out of foul trouble. Kudos to Cuonzo for benching their behinds. Fricking Microwave generation - right now. Right now. The sky is falling. The sky is falling. I want my gratification right now. Well even in our best Tennessee basketball days under Jerry Green, they still had lapses. We've never been a basketball powerhouse - Oh yes we have, GIRLS! Get over yourselves.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to tgiles1944#654264:

The name of the game is recruiting in every sport. Until we get players that can play that are between 6'10" and 7' that can control the boards on offense and defense we will be a sub par program.

I agree..We had 6 highly rated recruits in TN this year..Martin landed one..One went to Marquette and as usual the rest landed at Memphis..Martin has failed to make any head way with all these top notch west state kids

ktownorange32 writes:

in response to MR_VOL:

Here is the problem. Vol nation had experienced much success in Men's Basketball with Bruce and have come to expect, even demand success. After a person once experiences success, it is much harder to accept little to no success.

It is like driving a Ford Escort most of your life [DeVoe, Houston, Green, O'Neil, Peterson], then hitting the lottery and driving a Mercedes 550 [BRUCE] for a few years, then losing all your money and having to bring the old Ford Escort back into service [Martin]. It is an automatic recipe for disappointments, anger, and regrets!

B3 [BRING BACK BRUCE]

I don't believe a better analogy exists. I just hope that Hart realizes the golden ticket he has in Pearl when the suspension is up. Besides the winning factor, the money the athletic dept would generate from packing Thompson Bowling again would help ease the financial burden of the football payouts. 90% of UT fans would open their arms to him and maybe even cry from happiness. Most of us, even ESPN peeps, thought penalty was too rough. And just a little conspiracy theory.... we hired CCM really quick and hired him outta nowhere. IMO it was Hamilton's plan to ride the suspension till Pearl could come back. Quickly hire a coach that they could get away with paying a low salary, maybe even under the table CCM was told "hey this is just your's for 4 years". That would explain CCM's lack of enthusiam because he knew what Tenn was about under Pearl, excitement and energy. But we have Hart now...... hopefully he will see the prize he has and act on it. It would be a move that might actually get the fans behind him instead of criticizing every breathe he takes.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Long and short of it is KY played very good defense in the second half..Every shot was contested..That is why they won..In the first half our offense and passing was crisp and we had them on their heels with them blowing assignments..To say Martin is horrible coach is somewhat extreme..Most coaches have 7 strong players in rotation that they can count on for some sort of consistency..The only players Martin can count on are Josh and McRae..Martins forced to play with a piece meal line up and you never know what combo of players are on the floor..Things were somewhat steady when Golden was playing well and was the leading scorer but now Martin is forced to adjust on the fly..Having to switch Josh or Mcrae to the PG position makes things hard!!!Hall's defense in the first half was awful..Lost count of the times Hall stood and watched players blow by him!!!Hall doesn't have a productive replacement so Martin can't do much to fix that problem..To say Martin is a horrible coach is to extreme..Because of the lack of consistent players it puts Martin in a bad coaching situation..The last 3 teams we played don't have that problem.. I will say CCM's offensive scheme after Yemi fouled out with 7 minutes in the game was terrible..He basically just told McRae to run from the point and play one on one ball and make plays but KY began smothering him..Should have stuck to the crisp passing and good ball movement we played with good success in the first half..Really bad plan and the offense was in total disarray

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

Coach Pearl did a great job while he was here but folks - BRUUUUCE has left the building, and he ain't comin back.

The scrutiny heaped on UT by the high and mighty ESPN and similar announcers would be tremendous, and AD Fart blossom does not have the gonads to go there.

And even if he did, Pearl would need to win very quickly or there would be a Shinola storm the likes we've never seen, and those sports critics would heap so much horse manure on UT there would not be enough lime in E TN to keep us from suffocating.

Bruce would get here under the gun for quick results, inheriting a team with not much talent, and surely not his type of players. So it would depend on if he could recruit. You don't think those kids watch ESPN and listen to jay bilas and his types do you, naaa.

Nope, BRUUUUCE is gone, and he ain't comin back no mo, no mo...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Don't need Bruce no mo mo mo. We got a coach.

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to martinvol34:

Okay. Enough. If Stokes had any work ethic and wasn't lazy as he!! he would be a highlight reel. Undersized post players have to develop their skills - themselves. He has to get to the gym outside of practice and take a 1000 shots so that he doesn't have to be 2 feet from the basket to make a shot. He also has bad footwork and seems lost on defense and rebounding. They need to watch Izzy and Bashaara pursue the basketball on rebounds - that is part learned skill but mostly want to. And the Martin bashing is almost turning into racism it seems. It's Year 2 and basketball is about the players for the most part. They have to want to play defense and bang and hustle and Trae plays when he wants and Jarnell can't stay out of foul trouble. Kudos to Cuonzo for benching their behinds. Fricking Microwave generation - right now. Right now. The sky is falling. The sky is falling. I want my gratification right now. Well even in our best Tennessee basketball days under Jerry Green, they still had lapses. We've never been a basketball powerhouse - Oh yes we have, GIRLS! Get over yourselves.

Yes, if anyone disagrees with how Coach Martin coaches, the results he attains or fails to attain, it surely must be racism. Thank you DA.

If anyone disagrees with the President's comments and orders at gun clamp down today, yes, you too must be a racist.

And guess when some in the first year, and more the 2d and 3rd years into Dooley's tenure disagreed with what he was doing and NOT doing - that was all non-white folk on here, racism?

No free passes at this level, we are well into our 2d year, you either produce or get called out for failing to produce. No one should get less scrutiny because of their race, religion, etc. Losing game after game is not a racial issue since it is not the reason or an excuse. Ws and Ls are simply cold, hard, black and white facts.

If the Ls continue to outnumber the Ws the way we are going now, then Coach Martin, just like Dooley at the same time in his tenure here, needs to buck up.

And those who want to drop the race card at the first opportunity can go buck off.

claiborneh writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Martins offensive scheme after Yemi fouled out with 7 minutes left was awful..Don't know what game you were watching but Martins game plan in the last 6 minutes was give the ball to McRAE and let him go one on one and go to the basket..For a while it was working but the Cats threw 3 big bodies at Jordan and made it impossible for him to do anything but throw up wild shots

Sorry my point was same as yours, typo- I left out word "not"
Even though he has turned into SEC scorer, he should not have been allowed to slop it up once they smothered him. Martins fault. But again I kind of feel for Martin when you never know who is going to show up and be consistent

johnlg00 writes:

in response to martinvol34:

Okay. Enough. If Stokes had any work ethic and wasn't lazy as he!! he would be a highlight reel. Undersized post players have to develop their skills - themselves. He has to get to the gym outside of practice and take a 1000 shots so that he doesn't have to be 2 feet from the basket to make a shot. He also has bad footwork and seems lost on defense and rebounding. They need to watch Izzy and Bashaara pursue the basketball on rebounds - that is part learned skill but mostly want to. And the Martin bashing is almost turning into racism it seems. It's Year 2 and basketball is about the players for the most part. They have to want to play defense and bang and hustle and Trae plays when he wants and Jarnell can't stay out of foul trouble. Kudos to Cuonzo for benching their behinds. Fricking Microwave generation - right now. Right now. The sky is falling. The sky is falling. I want my gratification right now. Well even in our best Tennessee basketball days under Jerry Green, they still had lapses. We've never been a basketball powerhouse - Oh yes we have, GIRLS! Get over yourselves.

You make a number of good points. I would like to offer yet another way to look at this basketball season to hopefully add a little context to this UT team's failings. Last night, Wisconsin beat #1 ranked Indiana at Bloomington, IN. This is the same Wisconsin team that lost to the Virginia team that UT came within an eyelash of beating on THEIR home court. It is risky to try to predict outcomes of games on the basis of comparison of common opponents, but it does provide a certain context.

As for the Vols' poor FT shooting, a significant cause of several of their losses, I saw an article the other day that said this year is on track to be the worst overall year for FT %-age in the modern history of college basketball. This can't all be because of poor coaching all over the country.

My main point is that there are very few teams that consistently live up to the very best of their capabilities. MANY fans complained about the inconsistency of some of Bruce Pearl's better teams. These are some of the same fans who are criticizing Martin now. The Vols have had the misfortune of playing some of their worst games in a row, so of course they look worse than anybody else to anybody who sees them a lot. I will be as disappointed as anybody else if they don't start playing better soon, but, in part because I have played and coached a bit myself, I am just not going to blame the character, intelligence, or human worth of players and coaches for on-court failings the way some seem all too ready to do.

Almost no matter what happens the rest of this season, Martin will be back next year. I have no doubt that he, the staff, and the team will do a lot of soul-searching about what they all need to do to turn things around. All of the key players will be back. The whole program knows that their futures and their legacies are at stake. If they can't produce better results with that team in year three of the Martin era, that era will likely end then, and probably rightly so.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

I agree..We had 6 highly rated recruits in TN this year..Martin landed one..One went to Marquette and as usual the rest landed at Memphis..Martin has failed to make any head way with all these top notch west state kids

In fairness, NO UT coach has had much success recruiting players out of Memphis. With reference to the poster you agreed with, I don't think any of the current Memphis crop were the 6'10" to 7' types he referenced. And once again, I don't think all the gratuitous slams some fans on here constantly throw at Memphis do much to improve their image of K'ville and UT fans, not that you were doing that.

smokeygrowl writes:

in response to underthehill:

I had hoped UT would compete and not let the officials take them out of the game..I thought UT did that as much as possible..re: missed layups by Golden and the numerous stupid decisions he made..senseless..he looked lost on defense..if this is due to him being hurt..have to get him off the floor till he heals..your observation that UT ran more plays on offense is right on..as for UK..some forget Cal has won only ONE championship with all the talent he has had..and the team he had last year was not led by just "one and dones"..Miller and Lamb were the guys who stepped up in the clutch and proved to be the leaders that won it for KY..this Ky team has no Lamb and Miller but are highly talented..they have lost several close games to outstanding teams..including #1 Louisville..and I still think they make the big show..I did like the way the young Vols fought and did not quit..

YEAH THE YOUNG VOLS PLAYED WELL MCBEE SR STOKES SO KENNY HALL SR MCRAE JR TRAE GOLDEN JR SOME OF THE YOUNG VOLS WHO PLAYED WELL.

doctorvol#211700 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

I agree..We had 6 highly rated recruits in TN this year..Martin landed one..One went to Marquette and as usual the rest landed at Memphis..Martin has failed to make any head way with all these top notch west state kids

?? HIBBS. We have little history signing top players. We are about to have two on team. A real point, add Hibbs and Maymon, and we might just be very good. Everyone seems to have forgotten that last year's team was picked 11th, yet finished tied for second. Hard to do that with bad coaching.

Basketvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

You make a number of good points. I would like to offer yet another way to look at this basketball season to hopefully add a little context to this UT team's failings. Last night, Wisconsin beat #1 ranked Indiana at Bloomington, IN. This is the same Wisconsin team that lost to the Virginia team that UT came within an eyelash of beating on THEIR home court. It is risky to try to predict outcomes of games on the basis of comparison of common opponents, but it does provide a certain context.

As for the Vols' poor FT shooting, a significant cause of several of their losses, I saw an article the other day that said this year is on track to be the worst overall year for FT %-age in the modern history of college basketball. This can't all be because of poor coaching all over the country.

My main point is that there are very few teams that consistently live up to the very best of their capabilities. MANY fans complained about the inconsistency of some of Bruce Pearl's better teams. These are some of the same fans who are criticizing Martin now. The Vols have had the misfortune of playing some of their worst games in a row, so of course they look worse than anybody else to anybody who sees them a lot. I will be as disappointed as anybody else if they don't start playing better soon, but, in part because I have played and coached a bit myself, I am just not going to blame the character, intelligence, or human worth of players and coaches for on-court failings the way some seem all too ready to do.

Almost no matter what happens the rest of this season, Martin will be back next year. I have no doubt that he, the staff, and the team will do a lot of soul-searching about what they all need to do to turn things around. All of the key players will be back. The whole program knows that their futures and their legacies are at stake. If they can't produce better results with that team in year three of the Martin era, that era will likely end then, and probably rightly so.

"I am just not going to blame the character, intelligence, or human worth of players and coaches for on-court failings the way some seem all too ready to do."

Well said!

Basketvol writes:

"Then the Vols did something they almost never do — they pressed and forced Kentucky's Julius Mays into a turnover."

More of this please! I'm starting to question this strategy, or lack of, by Coach Martin. There never seems to be a sense of urgency when they are behind with time running out. They don't even run up the floor when they have the ball. I still think they can turn the SEC season around and at least finish with a winning SEC record. NCAA tourney isn't looking like a possibility this year, unless there is a dramatic turnaround or conference tournament championship. Both seem unlikely at this point. I expect a much better team next year and think judgement on Coach Martin should be reserved until then. There were some positives in this game. McRae's improved play is continuing, Moore and Reese seem to be developing. Reese has looked good from his first game, and Moore might be the most improved player (other than JM)on the team. Tennessee fought hard for 40 minutes. That's about all I've got right now. On to the next game!

Scoon writes:

in response to MR_VOL:

Here is the problem. Vol nation had experienced much success in Men's Basketball with Bruce and have come to expect, even demand success. After a person once experiences success, it is much harder to accept little to no success.

It is like driving a Ford Escort most of your life [DeVoe, Houston, Green, O'Neil, Peterson], then hitting the lottery and driving a Mercedes 550 [BRUCE] for a few years, then losing all your money and having to bring the old Ford Escort back into service [Martin]. It is an automatic recipe for disappointments, anger, and regrets!

B3 [BRING BACK BRUCE]

Correction: B5 [BRING BACK BBQ BRUCE]

johnlg00 writes:

in response to hikerdude:

Apparently some coaches do it a lot better than others. Compare Pearl and Martin for example. BBB

Well, again, there seems to be some selective memory here. How much did Scotty Hopson improve from his freshman year to his junior year? Don't you remember how much everybody complained that Pearl had no true PG? How nobody could shoot free throws or make an outside shot? How they had prolonged scoring droughts? Got beat too often by inferior teams? I do, and I think some others do as well. Pearl had his strong points and his weak points as a coach, just as they all do. Pearl's overall record was better than Martin's so far, but to say that he was a better coach in every way than Martin is a bit excessive, IMHO. The bottom line for any coach over time has to be, of course, whether he wins enough, and I would agree that Martin probably needs to pick up the pace a bit if he is to stick around. I just disagree with the idea, as some suggest, that rehiring Pearl would be the answer to THIS team's particular problems or necessarily for the program's long-term prospects, either.

golfman1975 writes:

in response to smokeygrowl:

YEAH THE YOUNG VOLS PLAYED WELL MCBEE SR STOKES SO KENNY HALL SR MCRAE JR TRAE GOLDEN JR SOME OF THE YOUNG VOLS WHO PLAYED WELL.

Thanks for your positive input.....

You can shut up now.

UTVolWarrior98 writes:

Richardson's choke airball sums up our bball team in a nutshell. When under pressure and blessed with a golden opportunity to win try and win the game, not only does he airball the first, but also misses the 2nd. PATHETIC WEAK BUNCH OF TULIPS!!!

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