Not a very Golden outlook for Vols

Point guard likely to miss Arkansas game with hamstring injury

Vanderbilt guard Kyle Fuller (11) calls to teammates as Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) defends in the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Vanderbilt guard Kyle Fuller (11) calls to teammates as Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) defends in the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin answers questions about individuals on his team


Tennessee won't be at full force for 40 minutes of hell.

In preparing to face the up-and-down, stop-till-you-drop style of Arkansas on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 4 p.m.), Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin received results of an MRI on junior guard Trae Golden's injured right hamstring.

The good news, Martin said, is that it's only a strain and not a tear.

The bad news, Martin also said, is that Golden is "very doubtful" for the meeting with Arkansas.

"There are three things: a pull, a strain, a tear," Martin added. "How much difference there is between a strain and tear, I don't know, but when it came back, the MRI said it's a strain."

Golden's official status is "day-to-day."

The injury occurred late in the first half of Tennessee's 58-57 win over Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

Golden is not expected to join the Vols (11-8, 3-4 SEC) on their trip to Fayetteville. He is averaging 10.0 points and 3.9 assists per game for the Vols.

"It's tough for our team," Martin said. "I thought he had really been assertive (lately) with the ball. So it's tough for our team, but more importantly, it's tough for Trae. He wants to be out there. He's upset about it. But we have to keep moving."

Martin wasn't ready to project a return for Golden, saying fans could "possible see him (next) Wednesday" against Georgia. He was on crutches Thursday at the afternoon practice and received treatment from associate director of sports medicine Chad Newman.

Returning to the Road: Still winless on the road with the calendar flipping to February, the Vols are heading to Bud Walton Arena, where Arkansas is 11-1 this season.

The Razorbacks (12-7, 3-3), who rank 13th nationally in scoring at 78.3 point per game, most recently beat Mississippi State 96-70 at Walton Arena. That was followed, though, by a 75-54 loss at South Carolina.

UT is 0-5 on the road this season and 3-13 overall under Martin.

"I think the next phase is obviously winning games on the road," Martin said. "When you're fighting for the top spot and you're fighting for leverage in the league, you've got to be able to win games on the road."

And the other next step: Against Vanderbilt, the Vols looked comfortable holding an 11-point lead with 8 minutes, 24 seconds remaining.

Two and a half minutes later, it was tied.

Martin said Thursday his team must improve "staying with what works." Against the Commodores, defensive lapses and a series of bumbled offensive possessions erased the UT lead. The advantage had been built on the back of defensive stops and offensive execution.

"There's a reason you got that (lead), so now you have to take it from 11 or 12 to 15 or 20," Martin said. "That's the next step."

Golden Out, Lopez In: Walk-on point guard and Knoxville native Brandon Lopez said Thursday he's ready to see a bump in minutes. After playing 10 second-half minutes against Vanderbilt, there will be more to come Saturday.

"There's no hesitancy about putting him on the floor, because he'll be ready to play," Martin said.

Lopez, a product of Austin-East High School, played 10 minutes as a freshman. He's earned 62 minutes this year, but didn't play in the five games prior to Vanderbilt.

"My mindset has always been the same whether I'm playing one minute or no minutes or 40 minutes," Lopez said. "You stay focused because you never know when your time is going to come."

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at

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Comments » 14

GreeneVol writes:

Call those Voodoo guys at S.W.A.T.S.

Sir_Spanky writes:

Can't get over there and start going dumb or you'll get lit up.

brod writes:

who knows how this is going to work out. it might be just what the team needed.

BigBadVol writes:

I like Lopez. I believe he is a much better player than people on here think. At times during the Vandy game he looked good driving into the defense. We will see.

lomas98 writes:

This will be a tough test for Mr. Lopez. Arkansas is much better at home than on the road and they will pressure him full court. We are not the best team handling pressure with Golden in there, so to think we will do better with Lopez is a reach. With both of these teams at 3-4 this is a pretty big game as far as end of season position. We only play them once and beating these teams that are equal with us just will help with tiebreakers. With the exception of FL and Ole Miss, the rest of the conference is very mediocre.

johnlg00 writes:

While it is no doubt a setback not to have Golden for this game, the more Lopez plays, the more the game will slow down for him. The game is often a blur for a kid who hasn't played much. Playing decent defense is mostly a matter of effort and reaction, so it is easier for some players to do OK on defense even without a lot experience. Playing good offense means recognizing opportunities and being mentally ready to take advantage of them. An open shot is an open shot, no matter what the level of the competition is, though it is harder to GET open at each higher level of competition. Lopez doesn't have to be a double-figure scorer to help this team as long as he can maintain a steady handle under pressure, play good defense, and be ready to take advantage of any offensive opportunities he DOES get.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Hogs are extremely tough at Walton..I can't remember the last time we won there. The hogs play the kind of defense that gives us fits!!Lots of in your face hand slapping,reaching in and hand checking!!Stealing a win on the road will be a HUGE confidence builder..Turnovers;cold shooting and a 8 minute scoreless drought will get us run out of the gym..Going to take a lot more than a good game on defense to win this one..Gonna have to shoot lights out and hope the Refs don't let Hogs get away with all those reach in fouls..Have heard that Lopez is a good outside shooter..Martin needs to give Lopez the green light on open shots

Lizardgrad89 writes:

I think your basketball team has found it's play style. Build a big first half lead, choke it away, then prey the opponent misses a game winning shot.

Hey, it's worked two games in a row. Never argue with success.

underthehill writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

I think your basketball team has found it's play style. Build a big first half lead, choke it away, then prey the opponent misses a game winning shot.

Hey, it's worked two games in a row. Never argue with success.

Worked when we had Dane Bradshaw too ..didn't it..remember when the big lizards were supposed to be invincible..and the Ole Smoky boys took em out behind the barn...

ccantrell#227456 writes:

Oh dang. Now we want have the opportunity to watch Trae drive to the rim against the big guys and have his shot SWATTED away, or him missing the front end of a one and one with the game on the line, or him bricking a 3 point shot at the end of the game, or seeing his opponents blow by him on the defensive end of the court.

Now I'm not sure what to look for with this team.

fabiofive148 writes:

Lopez looks pretty good.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

I wanted to post "Bruuuuuuuuce."

But I remembered that Bruce lied to the NCAA, and Hamilton/Cheek (Hamilcheek) strung him up to be hosed. He was the scapegoat for UT's screwups under Hamilcheek, and Sive down in Birmingham@the SEC was in league with those two blackhearts.

So UT cannot have Bruce back, because Hamilton, Hart, Cheek, Kiffen, Dooley and Jones are all far, far too pure to have Bruuuuuuuce's name listed with theirs on rosters, much less associate with him. And they are all toooooo competent, too, to have an old nincompoop like Bruuuuuuuucccccceeeeee.
And we all know that at places like UT, where the track record indicates the Men's Athletics Department is perrrrrrfect; that nobody need to ever forgive anybody who repents. So Brrrrruuuuuuuucccccceeeee will wind up in Memphis in late 2014.

THEN we will be happy.

And clean, nice, good guy Coach Martin will continue his sterling recruiting, along with his top-tier coaching staff...including one coach who dresses like Boxo the Clown.

I'd holler "Go Vols"...but heaving and hollering do not go well together.

The most inspiring words I've read lately came from the Governor, who says the stadiium must be filled. That implies that accountability will be returned to UT Sports.

When that happens, Jones will join Dooley and Kiffen, and a top tier coach will show. UT could do a lot worse than invite Fulmer and Bruuuucccceeeee back.

Hexx...they have and are doing a lot worse, at this very moment in almost all men's sports.

UT may not have two seasons to give Jones, with the financials in the shape they are in. If Jones does not go strong this fall; I say bring Fulmer back, or go get a huge hire. Same in basketball and all other sports.

Otherwise, the Athletics Department could be forced to file for bankruptcy, if some creditor goes after it, since parts of it are a free-standing unit, tied only by name to the University.

Maybe we can get Obama to coach; he would print more victories. Thennnnn we will be okay.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

GOLLY!! Volsthruruthru??? talkin 'bout off topic.

Personally I like Lopez. But we do need Golden not only to get better but to get better if you get my meanin'!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to MOD_4_MY_DAY_JOB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

????no players?? HUBBS! MAYMON These two alone will be great for any team in America!

Then consider a healthy Golden(we hope) A better McRae, Richardson, Makan, Moore, Reese. All of whom can play.

AND dare I say STOKES will be back one more. It could happen. Plus we may have a scholly or two to give away to some young prodigy.

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