Mike Strange: Another NCAA near-miss ups the ante for Cuonzo Martin, Vols in 2014

Mike Strange
Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin shouts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Alabama at the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 15, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin shouts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Alabama at the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 15, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Did Tennessee deserve to make the NCAA tournament?

See the results »

View previous polls »

So Tennessee’s men were rejected Sunday, told their body of work from a Nov. 9 tipoff through Friday’s SEC tournament exit wasn’t good enough.

For coach Cuonzo Martin, it hurts to see the disappointment in his players’ faces. They invested so much and came so close.

He hates it for the fans, too. They were a big help in big games at Thompson-Boling Arena this winter. Given football’s malaise, the fans wanted this NCAA tournament bid in the worst way.

As for himself, Martin is a professional, and a well paid one. He’ll soldier on. Without skipping a beat Sunday night, he plunged into getting his team over the letdown hump and ready to face Mercer in the NIT on Wednesday night.

But the reality is, this one hurt.

A head basketball coach in a power conference is measured on several factors.

Putting butts in the seats is critical. Apathy is a program killer.

Competing for conference championships is another. Everybody likes trophies.

Avoiding visits from the NCAA compliance folks is strongly suggested. Ask Bruce Pearl.

Then there’s the NCAA tournament. You’re either in it or you’re nowhere.

That’s the harsh reality of the sport. Out of 347 Division I teams, 68 make the Big Dance. You’d better be one of them.

By all accounts, Tennessee was a near-miss in Martin’s second season. The Vols were also close-but-no-cigar in his first season.

The upshot is that he will go into his third season with increased pressure to deliver a celebration on Selection Sunday.

Had the Vols’ name been called Sunday, it would have been a load off Martin’s professional back. Even an opening-round loss is preferable to not being invited — or even, in general, to NIT success.

South Carolina won back-to-back NIT titles in 2005-06. Any given March, you’re more likely to hear how the Gamecocks haven’t won an NCAA tournament game since 1973.

It’s important to note that, Big Dance or no, UT basketball is in better shape than the majority of its SEC brethren.

By 2011, Pearl’s run of six straight tournaments was the envy of the conference, at least south of Lexington and north of Gainesville.

LSU and Mississippi State have missed four straight years. Proud Arkansas hasn’t been since 2008. South Carolina last went in 2004, Auburn in 2003. Ole Miss’ bid into this year’s tournament broke a 10-year drought.

Martin’s two-year SEC regular-season record of 21-13 is commendable, especially under the circumstances of his first two rosters. Jeronne Maymon’s presence surely would have pushed the Vols into this bracket.

There were also plenty of butts in the seats this season. And mouths eating popcorn. Apathy is not an issue.

But sooner or later, you have to be part of the big event. Buzz Peterson never was in his four years (2002-05) between Jerry Green and Pearl. The apathy caught up with him.

As UT fans look to 2013-14, they should like what they see. Maymon will be back. Recruit Robert Hubbs is eagerly anticipated.

When the first 2014 mock bracket appears — if it hasn’t already — Tennessee should be in it.

But when the real 2014 bracket is unveiled a year from now, the Vols better be in that one, too.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at Strangemike44.

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 72

budd#207344 writes:

Good article. I think CCM is the right coach but he will have all the tools and it will be a tough season if they start out like the last two years. I have seen some great wins this year but the players need to realize they cannot just play in spurts.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Mike, I'd take Bruce back in a heartbeat. NCAA baggage and all.

Zero question.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

I think what sings as well to this fan:

The SEC just takes it, rather than at least putting up a symbolic fight by turning down the NIT bids en masse.

chipmurphy461 writes:

emailnodata

I 100% agree with you

claiborneh writes:

68 teams, the softest possible bubble, and many buts and opportunities-this team did not have it. Martin teaches a boring, uninspiring brand of basketball that Keady could not win a championship with in 25 seasons at Purdue. Coaching is the difference. There is too much equal talent, and talented teams that will be one and done in this year's tournament. We can, yet again, talk about the hope of "next year" or use whichever positive spin of choice, but I did not enjoy following this brand of basketball the past two seasons, and I do not believe Martin is the coach capable of leading this program to a championship. I feel that if we had Louisville's or Duke's talent on the floor, we would have underachieved.

eb502us#225637 writes:

Martin is in over his head, plain and simple.

Only way he will consistently make the dance is if he recruits elite talent and so far (sans Stokes), that hasn't happened. Time is a tickin.

Sir_Spanky writes:

This staff has difficulty adjusting to things during a game. What Alabama did to them with the high ball screen is an example. It's March. You either know how to deal with it, or you don't.

tomkats3242 writes:

Nothing will change next year. There are no five star recruits coming and they won't as long as Martin is there. Wake up Hart. If you want to go to the dance than hire a coach, not someone from the community colleges. Enough, bring on Football. There should not be a NIT. The Dance is for winners and UT did not win.

jt45 writes:

One more season with more talent on the floor before I make any judgement remarks about our current staff. Everyone saw what this group can do when they are hitting on all cylinders, the problem is the inconsistent play from them. The fact that the committee selected several Cinderella teams to play for those last bids reeks of politics and media sensationalism. This is one of those years where the entire field is much closer than the stats.

I liked CBP also but he will never be rehired at UT and thinking otherwise is a waste of time.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

This staff has difficulty adjusting to things during a game. What Alabama did to them with the high ball screen is an example. It's March. You either know how to deal with it, or you don't.

I would agree..Martin and every other SEC coach knows how to defend that but for whatever reason it did not happen..Martin needs to turn his attention to offense if he hopes to keep a job..Nothing makes up for a little sloppy defense better than a consistent 74 PPG offense..Ive been critical of CCM's inability to break all these zone defenses that cost us so many games but after watching the Gators get totally stuffed by Ole Miss's zone it looks like Donovan doesn't have any answers either..The Gators played it just like we did the nancy boy Bama zone with even worse results

HooRay_Vol writes:

I'm so proud of this team (and coach Martin). I thought they would have been slightly better than a .500 team this year. They overacheieved!

vol98champ writes:

I don't know how I feel about the future, but I do know that I am tired of boring SEC basketball. Florida looked exactly like UT yesterday when the 3's quit falling. Surely there is someone out there that can penetrate and dish to someone who can hit 40% of threes. Did anyone see Southwind against Dyer County? I quit watching after about 12 minutes, but from what I saw Southwind could give the SEC a run for their money.

rbwtn writes:

The coach we should have is waiting at ESPN for his job back.

RockVegas writes:

I love my Tennessee Volunteers but they have to play hard and win all year long,not just every now and again.I remember they played a few games when their total was around 38 points come on now,if you play great Defense is one thing but you have to score the basketball.I like CCM but he should go out and get a true point guard too. T.Golden was a guy who scored baskets in high school. You have to have a point guard to win on any level,and I know people think he should have it down by now,but that's a position you have to master just like quarterback in football.I think we should have beeen in but I understand why we didn't make it,this team plays up and down too much.Maybe next years team will be healthy and can bring in a point guard,and a pure shooter.If we had got in and got blowed out the first game people would have said we should have stayed home,you know?.....GBO.

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to emailnodata:

I think what sings as well to this fan:

The SEC just takes it, rather than at least putting up a symbolic fight by turning down the NIT bids en masse.

Please don't shoot the messenger on this reply, because I don't necessarily disagree with your thoughts on boycotting the NIT. Apparently there is an agreement between schools and conferences with the NIT that if any school doesn't want to partcipate in the NIT, they have to let them know BEFORE the starts. To date, no one has ever taken the NIT up on that option. Crazy, right? The only possible explanation I can see for this is because the NIT has to put together their field in such a hurry after the NCAA announces theirs. Still, it seems like a school should have an option anyway without any repercussions...whatever they might be(?).

Oenoboy writes:

Bruce Pearl will not be the coach of UT Basketball ever again. Why is it so hard for some of you to realize that very simple truth?

Move on. You people remind me of someone who can't get over being dumped by their high school sweetheart...10 years later.

hikerdude writes:

As long as Cuonzo is the coach, we'll be a 19-11 or 20-10 team. We may make it to the NCAA tornament once in a while, but most times we'll be in the NIT. He gets a lot of effort from his players but he apparently has no ability to make game time adjustments.

UTKin1992 writes:

in response to hikerdude:

As long as Cuonzo is the coach, we'll be a 19-11 or 20-10 team. We may make it to the NCAA tornament once in a while, but most times we'll be in the NIT. He gets a lot of effort from his players but he apparently has no ability to make game time adjustments.

Exactly. Martin is not the answer...never was.

Also, on a side note, I'm glad to see my alma mater playing so well in other sports: Tennis team got hammered by UF, Softball got edged by UF, Baseball got destroyed by UA, then the basketball team falls flat for 2nd year in a row and misses the NCAA tourney.

Great job Hart! I thinks it time to have a come to Jesus meeting with the head coaches.

IPOrange writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Mike, I'd take Bruce back in a heartbeat. NCAA baggage and all.

Zero question.

He's banned. Similarly, you can't have Gen. Neyland back...because he's dead.

johnlg00 writes:

I understand the frustration many fans are feeling right now, but it is premature to say now that CCM will NEVER get it done. Last year, both Golden and Maymon played hurt in the last month of the season. Maymon especially was basically playing on one leg at the end. He was clearly not the same player who put 32 points and 18 rebounds on Duke the previous November. This year, we saw that he was not only a stat-stuffer whose loss would have seriously damaged the prospects of many good teams, he was the emotional and spiritual leader who could have perhaps gotten a little more out of his fairly talented but rather moody key partners. I had read that Maymon was actually practicing with the team by the end of January, but that it was too late to bring him back by then. Who knows, if he had been available in the last month and a half of THIS season, the Vols might have won a couple of those late games that they lost and they would be preparing for the Big Dance now. BUT Maymon's eligibility would have been used up, and the Vols' chances of making the NCAAs next year would have taken a serious blow.

I agree with Mike that next year is key for CCM. He really does need to show more game-planning sophistication and he needs to make SURE that the guys work in a concentrated way on some of their individual weaknesses. I would REALLY like to see some of the Vols go to some of the specialized skills camps to hone their games. If the frustration of not making the NCAAs by narrow margins for two straight years doesn't drive these guys to improve themselves in the offseason, I don't know what will. The Vols should be one of the two or three most talented, experienced teams in the SEC next year. If that doesn't translate into a consistent top-20 ranking and at least a Sweet 16, then all the doubts about CCM will gain a lot more traction.

Until then, just cool it and see how it works out. And for all of you who complain about his recruiting, do you REALLY think all this carping is HELPING his ability to recruit? If it keeps up, the only possible conclusion to draw is that you don't WANT Martin to succeed, which is a really odd attitude for a real "fan".

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to IPOrange:

He's banned. Similarly, you can't have Gen. Neyland back...because he's dead.

Pearl has a 3-year "show-cause" in place. That's not a ban.

Yes, Neyland is dead. Good luck in finding any of my posts asking for his return.

Don't let facts get in your way, however.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I understand the frustration many fans are feeling right now, but it is premature to say now that CCM will NEVER get it done. Last year, both Golden and Maymon played hurt in the last month of the season. Maymon especially was basically playing on one leg at the end. He was clearly not the same player who put 32 points and 18 rebounds on Duke the previous November. This year, we saw that he was not only a stat-stuffer whose loss would have seriously damaged the prospects of many good teams, he was the emotional and spiritual leader who could have perhaps gotten a little more out of his fairly talented but rather moody key partners. I had read that Maymon was actually practicing with the team by the end of January, but that it was too late to bring him back by then. Who knows, if he had been available in the last month and a half of THIS season, the Vols might have won a couple of those late games that they lost and they would be preparing for the Big Dance now. BUT Maymon's eligibility would have been used up, and the Vols' chances of making the NCAAs next year would have taken a serious blow.

I agree with Mike that next year is key for CCM. He really does need to show more game-planning sophistication and he needs to make SURE that the guys work in a concentrated way on some of their individual weaknesses. I would REALLY like to see some of the Vols go to some of the specialized skills camps to hone their games. If the frustration of not making the NCAAs by narrow margins for two straight years doesn't drive these guys to improve themselves in the offseason, I don't know what will. The Vols should be one of the two or three most talented, experienced teams in the SEC next year. If that doesn't translate into a consistent top-20 ranking and at least a Sweet 16, then all the doubts about CCM will gain a lot more traction.

Until then, just cool it and see how it works out. And for all of you who complain about his recruiting, do you REALLY think all this carping is HELPING his ability to recruit? If it keeps up, the only possible conclusion to draw is that you don't WANT Martin to succeed, which is a really odd attitude for a real "fan".

John, you are too kind to give these nega-vols that much credit..UT played their tails off with limited bench help and players playing out of position. They totally over-achieved IMO, and for that, CCM should be given a pat on the back. I remember they had fallen to 11&10 and yet recovered and won 9 out of the last 11 games..That's good coaching if I've ever seen it, especially with the limited talent UT has.

claiborneh writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I understand the frustration many fans are feeling right now, but it is premature to say now that CCM will NEVER get it done. Last year, both Golden and Maymon played hurt in the last month of the season. Maymon especially was basically playing on one leg at the end. He was clearly not the same player who put 32 points and 18 rebounds on Duke the previous November. This year, we saw that he was not only a stat-stuffer whose loss would have seriously damaged the prospects of many good teams, he was the emotional and spiritual leader who could have perhaps gotten a little more out of his fairly talented but rather moody key partners. I had read that Maymon was actually practicing with the team by the end of January, but that it was too late to bring him back by then. Who knows, if he had been available in the last month and a half of THIS season, the Vols might have won a couple of those late games that they lost and they would be preparing for the Big Dance now. BUT Maymon's eligibility would have been used up, and the Vols' chances of making the NCAAs next year would have taken a serious blow.

I agree with Mike that next year is key for CCM. He really does need to show more game-planning sophistication and he needs to make SURE that the guys work in a concentrated way on some of their individual weaknesses. I would REALLY like to see some of the Vols go to some of the specialized skills camps to hone their games. If the frustration of not making the NCAAs by narrow margins for two straight years doesn't drive these guys to improve themselves in the offseason, I don't know what will. The Vols should be one of the two or three most talented, experienced teams in the SEC next year. If that doesn't translate into a consistent top-20 ranking and at least a Sweet 16, then all the doubts about CCM will gain a lot more traction.

Until then, just cool it and see how it works out. And for all of you who complain about his recruiting, do you REALLY think all this carping is HELPING his ability to recruit? If it keeps up, the only possible conclusion to draw is that you don't WANT Martin to succeed, which is a really odd attitude for a real "fan".

Stop the trite "real fan" response. It has already been said thousands of times previously. You made that conclusion . Nobody said carping about his recruiting, or any other negative opinion or analysis is "helpful," it's just passionate fans making honest assessment. Just like Dooley did not have great recruiting results. So the logic is "true fans" don't say anything- rah rah ree Martin and Dooley are great recruiters. Or don't let out the secret they can't recruit will because prospects will be turned away by the negativity? What is your point?
I don't think one player can be the sole reason a team misses the tournament two years in a row, The Maymon excuse has already been regurgitated endlessly. There are so many talented teams, coaching without a doubt is going to be the difference between the teams that advance and the one and dones. Martin has exhibited many flaws that can't help lead passionate fans to compare to Pearl. Martin leads me to believe he is not as good as Pearl in many ways, and his boring uninspiring brand of basketball is not one I would bet has much of a chance to win a championship no matter what talent was on the floor.

claiborneh writes:

in response to jt45:

One more season with more talent on the floor before I make any judgement remarks about our current staff. Everyone saw what this group can do when they are hitting on all cylinders, the problem is the inconsistent play from them. The fact that the committee selected several Cinderella teams to play for those last bids reeks of politics and media sensationalism. This is one of those years where the entire field is much closer than the stats.

I liked CBP also but he will never be rehired at UT and thinking otherwise is a waste of time.

There were 68 teams and he softest possible bubble. The reason this team did not get in is because they did not get in.

claiborneh writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

John, you are too kind to give these nega-vols that much credit..UT played their tails off with limited bench help and players playing out of position. They totally over-achieved IMO, and for that, CCM should be given a pat on the back. I remember they had fallen to 11&10 and yet recovered and won 9 out of the last 11 games..That's good coaching if I've ever seen it, especially with the limited talent UT has.

So Martin should be given a pat on the back for players playing out of position, and falling to 11& 10, and for limited talent?

claiborneh writes:

in response to Oenoboy:

Bruce Pearl will not be the coach of UT Basketball ever again. Why is it so hard for some of you to realize that very simple truth?

Move on. You people remind me of someone who can't get over being dumped by their high school sweetheart...10 years later.

People state that Pearl will not be coach again as if this is fact or "simple truth," but provide no basis of facts or evidence.
Can Pearl work for ESPN? Yes
Can Pearl coach after is show cause is up? Yes
Could he coach again at UT? Yes
Will he? Not yet known

calvolfromkingsport writes:

Andy Kennedy has been coaching Ole Miss for 5 or 6 years. He goes out and gets an @$$hole who ensures that there should be no young kids in the arena when he plays and Ole Miss finally makes the NCAA tourney as a 12 seed. I would rather follow CCM and his boys in the NIT than settle for a tourney bid that for at least one game will show off coach Kennedy's Mississippi win at any cost mentality. Lol...I heard a commentator for the radio broadcast yesterday speculated how many oars in the water MH is capable of having.

claiborneh writes:

in response to calvolfromkingsport:

Andy Kennedy has been coaching Ole Miss for 5 or 6 years. He goes out and gets an @$$hole who ensures that there should be no young kids in the arena when he plays and Ole Miss finally makes the NCAA tourney as a 12 seed. I would rather follow CCM and his boys in the NIT than settle for a tourney bid that for at least one game will show off coach Kennedy's Mississippi win at any cost mentality. Lol...I heard a commentator for the radio broadcast yesterday speculated how many oars in the water MH is capable of having.

Yes, but people watch because of the passion, and disregard the immaturity and nonsense, because he is a fireball. Lime Pearl was. Unlike the listless Coach "Eyore on Valium" Martin.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

The "reason" UT and Bmaa did not get in over the Sisters of the Blind??

Follow the money. In the Selection Committee's mind, the possible Cinderella appeal of some quirky-sounding mid-major over some dog-a## power-conference slug is huge.

Add that together with the immense dislike of the "bigs" by many of the talking heads, and you've got an easy recipe to slap a team such as UT.

It bothers me more for those kids than it does anything else. UT is certainly one of the top 68 teams in college basketball. They are capable of beating anything up to maybe a top 10 team...

but the system doesn't work that way. for these kids, tow years in a row, they've been told "hey, almost, but we had to put so and so in because, well because".

That, folks, is a f-ed up system. In America, eventually, we try to correct f-ed systems. Sometimes. Maybe. Eventually.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to claiborneh:

So Martin should be given a pat on the back for players playing out of position, and falling to 11& 10, and for limited talent?

Yeah, you twisted the statement to make a point, but anyone with any sense knows TG is not a real PG..He is all we've got compared to Richardson and other bench riders. In retrospect I stand behind my statement that CCM did a decent job with what he had..They're not that talented, sorry..

beartn#223846 writes:

I understand liking what Pearl did for the program. However, he will never be hired back. He knowingly broke a rule, then lied to the NCAA about it. Yes, I want to win, but not at all costs. We will see how Martin does next year. If Stokes and McRae both stay (and I think it would be a mistake for either of them to go, since I don't think either will go in the first round), Maymon is healthy, and Hubbs can shoot better than our outside shooters this year, we should be a pretty good team.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

As for Bruce coming back...

how could you not relish the fun of David Climer, John Adams, and ESPN all having their panties in a wad all at the same moment??

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Nothing will change next year. There are no five star recruits coming and they won't as long as Martin is there. Wake up Hart. If you want to go to the dance than hire a coach, not someone from the community colleges. Enough, bring on Football. There should not be a NIT. The Dance is for winners and UT did not win.

Actually there is a 5-star recruit coming in. Kentucky had 5 of them on their roster and they aren't going to the dance either. When you take over a program that has NCAA sanctions hanging over it's head it takes a while
to build your roster. 2 five star recruits in 2 years under those circumstances isn't too bad.

givehim6 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Mike, I'd take Bruce back in a heartbeat. NCAA baggage and all.

Zero question.

Funny back when BP first got fire I told people they would be wantimg him back in a few years, you would have thought I'd just kicked puppy the hate I got. I think BP's time will come again.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to cheetah-vol:

Please don't shoot the messenger on this reply, because I don't necessarily disagree with your thoughts on boycotting the NIT. Apparently there is an agreement between schools and conferences with the NIT that if any school doesn't want to partcipate in the NIT, they have to let them know BEFORE the starts. To date, no one has ever taken the NIT up on that option. Crazy, right? The only possible explanation I can see for this is because the NIT has to put together their field in such a hurry after the NCAA announces theirs. Still, it seems like a school should have an option anyway without any repercussions...whatever they might be(?).

Interesting post, thanks.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to emailnodata:

The "reason" UT and Bmaa did not get in over the Sisters of the Blind??

Follow the money. In the Selection Committee's mind, the possible Cinderella appeal of some quirky-sounding mid-major over some dog-a## power-conference slug is huge.

Add that together with the immense dislike of the "bigs" by many of the talking heads, and you've got an easy recipe to slap a team such as UT.

It bothers me more for those kids than it does anything else. UT is certainly one of the top 68 teams in college basketball. They are capable of beating anything up to maybe a top 10 team...

but the system doesn't work that way. for these kids, tow years in a row, they've been told "hey, almost, but we had to put so and so in because, well because".

That, folks, is a f-ed up system. In America, eventually, we try to correct f-ed systems. Sometimes. Maybe. Eventually.

More likely the NCAA had diversity training and will bend over backwards to let the mid-majors and minor-majors have a chance over the dregs of the so called power conferences. Nobody outside the top 30 has a chance of winning it all, and I think only once has a double digit seed made it to the final four, so what does it matter to the NCAA to leave out #50-#60.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to givehim6:

Funny back when BP first got fire I told people they would be wantimg him back in a few years, you would have thought I'd just kicked puppy the hate I got. I think BP's time will come again.

I dunno, probably not....UT caved at the time; they are not really noted for having balls.

We seem to be going back down the mountain.

CCM = Buzz Peterson.

CCM will get fired, the next coach will be Wade Houston...

We'll just keep journeying back to nowhere.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

More likely the NCAA had diversity training and will bend over backwards to let the mid-majors and minor-majors have a chance over the dregs of the so called power conferences. Nobody outside the top 30 has a chance of winning it all, and I think only once has a double digit seed made it to the final four, so what does it matter to the NCAA to leave out #50-#60.

@cover
Yes, well said.

What the bottom feeders give the tourney are a few upsets to add excitement; all the better if that upset comes from a school no one has ever heard of.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to emailnodata:

I dunno, probably not....UT caved at the time; they are not really noted for having balls.

We seem to be going back down the mountain.

CCM = Buzz Peterson.

CCM will get fired, the next coach will be Wade Houston...

We'll just keep journeying back to nowhere.

UT didn't cave, somebody at UT wanted BP out before the NCAA came to visit in June 2010. Ham, BP and the team knew he was gone in early December 2010.

SummittsCourt writes:

Perspective Time Again.

Remember folks, the Vols played the entire season without jerron Mayman (SP?) - with him this is a 25+ regular season winner and probably win the SEC regular season too.

Except for a few seniors, all should return next season with a pretty good freshman class coming in + Mayman (SP?).

19 wins last year after the turmoil of the Bruce Pearl fiasco and then 20 wins this year without their best player tells me Coach Martin is better than most of you are giving him credit for.

For those of you who think this isn't good enough, there are plenty of 10 win & 15 win teams out there who would swap records with the Vols in a heart beat.

Sure, we all wanted the NCAA tournament bid and I personally think they did enough to get in, but the NIT does offer extra practices and extra games to get ready for next season. Imagine where the football team would be now if they had gone to bowl games the last two years.

Next year, this team will win 30 games at least guaranteed. Copy this post and save it because you heard it from me first. SummittsCourt says at least 30 wins guaranteed next season.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to emailnodata:

@cover
Yes, well said.

What the bottom feeders give the tourney are a few upsets to add excitement; all the better if that upset comes from a school no one has ever heard of.

On the other hand, where would Gonzaga and Butler be if they hadn't been given a chance some 10 or 15 years ago. Mid majors do have an axe worth grinding with the BCS teams that refuse to play them.

totoiv writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Nothing will change next year. There are no five star recruits coming and they won't as long as Martin is there. Wake up Hart. If you want to go to the dance than hire a coach, not someone from the community colleges. Enough, bring on Football. There should not be a NIT. The Dance is for winners and UT did not win.

Hubbs is a 5 Star who is coming to UT next year. He is one of the highest rated basketball players to come to UT. Maymon was a pre-season all SEC pick who will be back after sitting out this year. That is two big improvements. I will agree if he misses the big dance next year we have problems.

overthetop writes:

They made a crazy run at the end of the season to get to the point of even being talked about, but when the chips were down and they absolutley had to win they looked like the same team that started the season. Confused and out of control. Coaching or not?

IBleedOrange444 writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Nothing will change next year. There are no five star recruits coming and they won't as long as Martin is there. Wake up Hart. If you want to go to the dance than hire a coach, not someone from the community colleges. Enough, bring on Football. There should not be a NIT. The Dance is for winners and UT did not win.

Actually, there is a 5-star recruit coming. Robert Hubbs, top 20 player and top 5 SG, has signed his LOI.

IBleedOrange444 writes:

This team will be loaded with veteran talent next season. They need to play like a top 25 team, compete for the SEC title, and be safely in the NCAA tourney come March or Coach Martin will find his seat heating up in a hurry.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to 45ReVOLver:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You try so hard to sound intelligent. Try harder.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to 45ReVOLver:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you are going to use contractions, you need to learn what an apostrophe is. I can't believe the railroad actually hired you to drive trains.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to 45ReVOLver:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Alright naysayer but wipe, show up next year when this team wins 30+ games and eat crow. But like most of the nimrods on this site you will change your surname and say "I told you so"

johnlg00 writes:

in response to claiborneh:

Stop the trite "real fan" response. It has already been said thousands of times previously. You made that conclusion . Nobody said carping about his recruiting, or any other negative opinion or analysis is "helpful," it's just passionate fans making honest assessment. Just like Dooley did not have great recruiting results. So the logic is "true fans" don't say anything- rah rah ree Martin and Dooley are great recruiters. Or don't let out the secret they can't recruit will because prospects will be turned away by the negativity? What is your point?
I don't think one player can be the sole reason a team misses the tournament two years in a row, The Maymon excuse has already been regurgitated endlessly. There are so many talented teams, coaching without a doubt is going to be the difference between the teams that advance and the one and dones. Martin has exhibited many flaws that can't help lead passionate fans to compare to Pearl. Martin leads me to believe he is not as good as Pearl in many ways, and his boring uninspiring brand of basketball is not one I would bet has much of a chance to win a championship no matter what talent was on the floor.

OK, you're right that the "true fan" thing has been overused and may not be an accurate description of everybody who has expressed negative opinions about Martin. I too have stated some negatives about Martin, some of them in the very post you replied to. And I can understand why most people liked Pearl--so did I--and think he should never have been abandoned by the UT administration.

However, Pearl is almost certainly not going to coach at UT ever again, so it makes no sense to put Martin down and try to hasten him out the door to clear the way for Pearl. You may not be doing this, but there surely seems to be some who are. Pearl was a good coach and he was quite successful but he was no miracle-worker. Many of the very same faults people lay at CCM's door were the same as Pearl's, e.g., losing to underdogs, poor FT shooting, poor 3-point shooting, disorganization on offense generally, and lack of a true PG. As for SEC tournament performance, Pearl's teams won one game or none more often than they won two or more, and their Elite Eight year was their only time in the NCAAs to play up to their seed. A disturbing number of his players had off-court troubles. On the plus side, Pearl is a better talker.

I will stipulate that most of us on here are "fans", at least according to our own lights, and are entitled to express our opinions even if others don't accept them. I just think that it is "given" that Martin will be here at least through next season, he should have a full, talented, experienced roster, and will rightly be expected to produce better results than he has so far. In view of all that, if you and some others wish to continue to throw darts and predict failure, you can only expect me and others either to ignore you or throw darts back.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Perspective Time Again.

Remember folks, the Vols played the entire season without jerron Mayman (SP?) - with him this is a 25+ regular season winner and probably win the SEC regular season too.

Except for a few seniors, all should return next season with a pretty good freshman class coming in + Mayman (SP?).

19 wins last year after the turmoil of the Bruce Pearl fiasco and then 20 wins this year without their best player tells me Coach Martin is better than most of you are giving him credit for.

For those of you who think this isn't good enough, there are plenty of 10 win & 15 win teams out there who would swap records with the Vols in a heart beat.

Sure, we all wanted the NCAA tournament bid and I personally think they did enough to get in, but the NIT does offer extra practices and extra games to get ready for next season. Imagine where the football team would be now if they had gone to bowl games the last two years.

Next year, this team will win 30 games at least guaranteed. Copy this post and save it because you heard it from me first. SummittsCourt says at least 30 wins guaranteed next season.

The name is Jeronne Maymon. I admire your optimism. I think the Vols will be much better next year, but predicting 30 wins is a bit of a stretch even for me, though I would love to be wrong. I do think those who think they won't be ANY better next year are TOTALLY wrong, but we will see. If they aren't, then Martin's seat could justifiably be getting warm, and I like the guy.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features