John Adams: UT schedule about to take favorable turn

A schedule can play tricks on you. It's important to remember that in tracking the downward course of Tennessee's basketball team.

A four-game losing streak and a 0-3 start in SEC play might suggest the Vols are falling so fast they won't even warrant NIT-bubble status by the 20th game.

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not touting the Vols as "a team you don't want to face in March," just pointing out the obvious. Their 0-3 record has been distorted by a schedule that sent them on the road in two of their first three games and also included a home game against surprisingly capable Ole Miss.

UT fans should remember from football season how misleading a taxing early schedule could be.

The 2012 football schedule forced the Vols to play their first five conference games against nationally ranked opponents. Based on that 0-5 start, you might have assumed the worse: the team would be lucky to beat anyone above Kentucky, wouldn't qualify for a bowl and would leave athletic director Dave Hart searching for a new coach.

On second thought, maybe that's a bad example.

Here's a better one. In 1997-98, coach Jerry Green's first Tennessee team lost five of its first six SEC games, including one each to Kentucky and Florida, while providing compelling evidence that it was headed for a sixth consecutive losing season.

The early evidence proved deceptive. The Vols regained their footing when the schedule took a softer turn and won 20 games for the first time in 13 years, qualifying for the NCAA tournament in the process.

The schedule isn't a cure-all, though. Inept teams often maintain their ineptitude regardless of the rise and fall in competition.

But not all losing streaks are alike. UT's current team could have beaten Alabama last week and played well throughout much of Tuesday night's 75-65 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Only the 92-74 defeat at home against a hot Ole Miss team was alarming.

UT will have a rematch against the Rebels next week in Oxford, Miss. Aside from that, the next few weeks of schedule are much more inviting, starting with Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Bulldogs are 2-1 in the SEC (compliments victories over Georgia and South Carolina) but 7-8 overall.

Four of UT's next eight games will be against teams who have won one SEC game combined. So there's an opportunity for Tennessee to change its conference course.

And prove that an 0-3 start says more about its schedule than its ability.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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

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Comments » 34

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

The schedule does take an easier turn, but with the Vols right now, I'd just worry about the next opponent. Hopefully they'll win their next game, and then they can concentrate on the very next game after that. Nothing long-term with these guys. Forget the records and play each game like it's for a tournament title.

lomas98 writes:

Agree the schedule is about to become a little easier, but e teams we play will see an opportunity as well. Although the schedule is perceived easier, it still won't cure the inconsistent point guard play, poor perimeter shooting, and disappointing frontline play. After 15 games that is what we are. A lot of the turnovers are just being careless with the ball and some are just self induced. Maybe the quality of opponents mean they won't capitalize. Regardless, this is an opportunity for this team to get some wins and more importantly, confidence.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

There were some good things happening in the Kentucky game. It will get better. Now, here's the best college football story of the year. What is going on with Lane Kiffin?
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-d...

thevoice writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

There were some good things happening in the Kentucky game. It will get better. Now, here's the best college football story of the year. What is going on with Lane Kiffin?
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-d...

Of USC's year 2013 14 recruits, 6 are 5-stars, 8 are 4-stars. Maybe we can get a few, including 5-star Ramsey from Nashville.

born2ride writes:

Dooley and Green are not good examples. There is no way to sugarcoat an 0-3 start.

Rumblefish writes:

Face it...if Cuonzo Martin could coach well enough to win games...he would. He isn't b/c he can't.

There were some VERY winnable games that Tennessee found a way to lose.

McBrick??? Stokes??? Golden??? All getting worse by the game.

Cut the string now, and take Cheek with you. Jury is still out on Hart. But I sure don't trust the guy. Talk about a bad hair dye job. Good lord.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

There were some good things happening in the Kentucky game. It will get better. Now, here's the best college football story of the year. What is going on with Lane Kiffin?
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-d...

You read the story a couple of days ago about Kiffin pulling the scholarship from one of their early enrollee recruits 3 DAYS before he was to set foot on campus??? The kid graduated early to take part in spring practice and Kiffin pulled this garbage. Unreal.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-d...

woodwr#217203 writes:

I thought he meant football against a new Oregon Head Coach.

y2church#372759 writes:

^ Me too.

Church

Sir_Spanky writes:

Football, basketball, tiddlywinks, whatever, lots of folks on the payroll, but the University Of Tennessee Athletic Department is not getting it done.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

NIT, book it.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

All we need is for two more players to show up and try to win. A few more stops and a few more buckets. Richardson has taken a turn for the worse but it was just a fluke I hope. McRae is not a fluke I hope again. Hall is clumsy sometimes. I can say that 'cause I'm am his superior at clumsiness...well everyone's really. McBee has earned the title "McBrick" some trolls have pinned him. Golden ???? I didn't get him last season and I don't get him this year either.

Honestly though I saw a lot of bad in this UK game I also saw a lot of good. I still think we can win 20. I didn't actually think that as surely when we first lost Maymon. I especially feel good about our youngsters...Moore and Reese. I don't know what's with Chievous.

We hung with a team that had the best of the best in recruiting. If they stay on till next year look out for UK. Maybe another title for the recruit glutton Cal.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

NIT, book it.

little zz troll, book it

rbwtn writes:

Yes the schedule is becoming easier now let's compareand see how the Vols do.

rbwtn writes:

Yes the schedule is becoming easier now let's compare and see how the Vols do.

HooRay_Vol writes:

Nice article John!

Where are the Adams bashers now?????

murrayvol writes:

in response to HooRay_Vol:

Nice article John!

Where are the Adams bashers now?????

Not up yet.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Good story John and very valid..Was thinking the same thing while watching Bama/MSU game last night..So far our competition has a combined record of 7 and 2. The gators opened with GA and Auburn..I think USC opened with the 3 worst teams in the SEC and still lost..Bama game should have been a win but they have 2 very good guards in Steele and Releford; and Cooper is pretty deadly as a 3 point scorer which makes Bama far from a push over..We catch a break with MSU who has been hammered with graduations and injuries but Jalen Steele (who should be wearing orange) is back..MSU plays a strange 1--3--1 zone defense that could give us problems

brod writes:

kns and vols fans always look to the past for silver lining in defeats. that was then and this is now. what has happened before will not happen again. one team's problems won't be the same as another teams. this team must find their way through their own issues. coaching and players both.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to decades_vol:

The schedule does take an easier turn, but with the Vols right now, I'd just worry about the next opponent. Hopefully they'll win their next game, and then they can concentrate on the very next game after that. Nothing long-term with these guys. Forget the records and play each game like it's for a tournament title.

That should be the attitude for every team in every game. Every coach in the world would say the same thing. Just like a golfer who hooks a drive into the woods, you have to forget about a bad shot and concentrate on hitting the next one right. Birdie or triple bogey, each hole is past history; the final score is still in doubt; the only thing you can control is how you hit THIS shot.

underthehill writes:

I hope the schedule is not the only thing to take a favorable turn..I hope the young guys get far more time on the floor and make the most of it..

BearGapVol73 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

NIT, book it.

I am not sure that they can make the NIT.

wigmeister writes:

Other teams are looking at us and licking their chops, saying we are finally an easy game. They will have to prove they are better than their record. I hope they do. Still think we should have beaten Kentucky! Only front court player that is playing tough D and rebounding regularly is Yemi. Hope he can cut down on the fouls and stay in the game longer. Jarnell has to realize his 5 star recruiting days are over. Man up and become a beast like Maymon. Maymon wouldn't let himself get pushed around, and would dish the ball if double and triple teamed. If Stokes finally does that, the other boys better lift their game up and score.

JimmyJoe writes:

I don't see it folks. They play down to their competition. Every game they play will be a toss up and they can't win a toss up game. I'm thinking somewere in the 4 and 12 or less range which would put them around what... 12 and 16 or so going into the SEC tournament? They may win five or six... But how I don't know...

jjk writes:

Tuesday was disappointing because that was a very winnable game against a Kentucky team that is one of Cal's worst since he's been there. They don't have much chemistry like last year's team did. Cuonzo better get these guys playing, or Hart may start sniffing around early. I like Cuonzo a lot, but this is inexcusable.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

figures johnboy a looser himself would be pointing out a loosing streak...ROTFLMMFAO

brokendownoldvol writes:

SEC is awful this yr. and Martin isn't even competitive with four 4 stars and a 5 star all with experience. Sad.

8inarow writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

NIT, book it.

Womens NIT, maybe...

GatorHater1998 writes:

Happy snow day!!!

johnlg00 writes:

Everybody is tired of the losing. I'm pretty sure the coaches and players are more tired of it than anybody else, since they have the biggest investment in the outcome. They will either figure out how to turn it around this year or they won't. Unless Martin completely loses the allegiance of the team, and I have seen no signs that that is happening yet, he will be back next year with most of these same guys and at least one possible "impact" newcomer. If he can't get it done then, we may indeed have to let him go.

However, I don't see how all the piling on we have seen from people who claim to be fans is going to help either now or for the future. Everybody's opinion is equal on the internet, but some opinions are more helpful and useful than others. Just in case any of the team or any future prospects were actually reading this board, ask yourself how you would look at the opinion you were about to post if it were directed at YOU. Would you find it encouraging or would you conclude that the writer was a clueless, classless jerk who you wouldn't want to have anything to do with? There is of course a narrow but navigable line between total acceptance and total rejection, but not many fans seem to be willing or able to find it in times like these.

KVCrockett writes:

Good story John, did I just say that? Yes I did. I might complain about a bad story, but I dont mind praising a good one. GO VOLS!

FanNotSheep writes:

They need to lose the radio promo about being picked to finish 11th in the SEC last year and finishing 2nd. Last year is over, they didn't make the NCAA and they played poorly in the NIT.

Right now the Vols are 14th in the SEC. They have one scorer, two guys that play defense and two guys that should be solid at worst (Stokes and Golden) who for some reason seem to get worse by the minute.

So let's lose the "we're awesome" attitude, even on the promos that were shot before this season began unraveling. Cuonzo got off to a good start, won lots of games no one expected him to win his first year, and managed to sign Stokes, no small accomplishment. But the SEC is down and we are at the bottom. Stokes doesn't look like he's been coached up. The only way the Vols make the NCAA is to win nearly all their remaining games or win the SEC Tournament. And the way they've played so far this season they would probably embarrass themselves in the Big Dance if they did manage to get in.

Hate to be a pessimist but my orange colored glasses don't seem to help anymore.

Volfan14 writes:

I don't know if an easier schedule will help the Vols that much as they seem sluggish and without leadership. Jordan McRae has done a tremendous job picking up the slack, especially since Cuonzo has started McBee over McRae and much better players since day one and the coach doesn't seem to know when to call a timeout or how to regroup the team when they are faltering. I have no ideal why McBee would be on the floor and definately would never start him. Cuonzo stated after a recent game that any guard on the floor should be able to handle the ball and bring it up the court, but you never see McBee bringing it up the court and if he gets trapped; instant turnover! I would grade Cuonzo on how he plays McBee and how McBee performs. So far, FAIL.

jmaples54 writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

figures johnboy a looser himself would be pointing out a loosing streak...ROTFLMMFAO

if you hadn't been smoking so much back in school, maybe you wouldv'e learned how to spell. you are truly the "loser."

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