Jordan McRae, Jarnell Stokes help Tennessee throw out the history books at Alabama

McRae shoots, Stokes bullies UT to a road win

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) tips the shot of Alabama guard Retin Obasohan (32) during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tennessee won 76-59. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Photo by Vasha Hunt

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) tips the shot of Alabama guard Retin Obasohan (32) during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tennessee won 76-59. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Jordan McRae knew the history.

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Comments » 22

ORboy writes:

A great win tonight for the Vols. I couldn't help but notice late in the second half they had a close up shot of the Bama coach's face. He looked worried. And I suspect it was for more than just that game.

slov writes:

Liked the zone look. A good night in Bama.

wilk58 writes:

Good game. Second half was one of the best halves I've seen them play. CM cut rotation down. 1-3-1 I liked that. Keep it up!

Buttcrackhead writes:

Got to hand it to them, they played well. Liked the intensity though the whole game. Good defense and Stokes plays like that they will win a lot of games. On the flip side, they need to play like this every night.. And why does it always take Martin's teams til February to finally start playing like a team ready for the NCAA...???

underthehill writes:

in response to ORboy:

A great win tonight for the Vols. I couldn't help but notice late in the second half they had a close up shot of the Bama coach's face. He looked worried. And I suspect it was for more than just that game.

I saw the same thing..I also saw a very low level of talent on the bama team..I thought they fought hard..but Releford was the only SEC caliber player I saw..a friend of mine said bama had to kick off some talented players and just didn't have much left..

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Great win!
Anytime you stomp the mullets in their home it is SWEET!
Fantastic effort and intensity.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ORboy:

A great win tonight for the Vols. I couldn't help but notice late in the second half they had a close up shot of the Bama coach's face. He looked worried. And I suspect it was for more than just that game.

I didn't actually see that sideline shot, but I would surely understand if Grant was feeling a little pressure right now. When he first came to Bama from VCU, I thought he would be one of the great young coaches in the league. Now, though, after not making the NCAAs in any year, I wonder how much longer he can last. Too bad in a way; he seems like a real high-class guy.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

I saw the same thing..I also saw a very low level of talent on the bama team..I thought they fought hard..but Releford was the only SEC caliber player I saw..a friend of mine said bama had to kick off some talented players and just didn't have much left..

Grant has a well-justified reputation as a guy who doesn't put up with foolishness on his team. He has always been willing to sit or even dismiss anybody who got out of line off the court. This has been good for his reputation of insisting on doing things right, but it does seem to have hurt them in regard to numbers and talent.

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I didn't actually see that sideline shot, but I would surely understand if Grant was feeling a little pressure right now. When he first came to Bama from VCU, I thought he would be one of the great young coaches in the league. Now, though, after not making the NCAAs in any year, I wonder how much longer he can last. Too bad in a way; he seems like a real high-class guy.

Heard on a sports show Grant has a contract for 1.9 mil per year thru 2019..the buyout may cause him to get a chance to turn it around..

RoadTrip writes:

You would think an experienced, upper classmen led team would keep their focus and intensity like they did yesterday in every game. However, that has not been the case so far. Hopefully it will for the rest of the season since they are heading down the stretch.

The zone was a nice touch and helps the players keep their minds in the game. The full court, transition style also helps to keep them focused and in rhythm. Getting Richardson to knock down shots early in the game is important, not just for scoring, but to force the opponent to adjust their D in his direction. This frees Jordy and Stokes to do their thing.

Now, let's hope they and Zo remember it each game the rest of the way.

no1djkb#278630 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

You would think an experienced, upper classmen led team would keep their focus and intensity like they did yesterday in every game. However, that has not been the case so far. Hopefully it will for the rest of the season since they are heading down the stretch.

The zone was a nice touch and helps the players keep their minds in the game. The full court, transition style also helps to keep them focused and in rhythm. Getting Richardson to knock down shots early in the game is important, not just for scoring, but to force the opponent to adjust their D in his direction. This frees Jordy and Stokes to do their thing.

Now, let's hope they and Zo remember it each game the rest of the way.

You know I had started to think it was more on the coach then the players but when I see what they can do if they follow the game plan you have to put a lot of it on the players. These are Juniors and Seniors and a coach should not have to ask them to be focused every game. You would want to think those guys would want to play their best every game. The only thing I wish Coach would have done is start Thompson earlier in the year but I can understand why you would want to give a senior a chance to play considering he may never play organized basketball again, well not on this level anyway. I know coach Martin could care less what I say but I owe him an apology. I think he is a really good coach and I like how discipline his team plays when they follow his game plan. I also like how he pulled his star player and told him to get his head in the game. I don't think I have ever seen him do that.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I didn't actually see that sideline shot, but I would surely understand if Grant was feeling a little pressure right now. When he first came to Bama from VCU, I thought he would be one of the great young coaches in the league. Now, though, after not making the NCAAs in any year, I wonder how much longer he can last. Too bad in a way; he seems like a real high-class guy.

He is a high class guy and I believe he's made 1 trip to the NCAA Tourney.

murrayvol writes:

in response to no1djkb#278630:

You know I had started to think it was more on the coach then the players but when I see what they can do if they follow the game plan you have to put a lot of it on the players. These are Juniors and Seniors and a coach should not have to ask them to be focused every game. You would want to think those guys would want to play their best every game. The only thing I wish Coach would have done is start Thompson earlier in the year but I can understand why you would want to give a senior a chance to play considering he may never play organized basketball again, well not on this level anyway. I know coach Martin could care less what I say but I owe him an apology. I think he is a really good coach and I like how discipline his team plays when they follow his game plan. I also like how he pulled his star player and told him to get his head in the game. I don't think I have ever seen him do that.

With all respect I still see no game plan other than making shots against the zone. When we make them, we're a very good team. And if we don't you get Florida.

The Vols have "turned many corners" in the past 3 years. I'll withold judgement until FU comes to town. If we compete (not necessarily win), then I'll be convinced.

UT4prez writes:

in response to murrayvol:

With all respect I still see no game plan other than making shots against the zone. When we make them, we're a very good team. And if we don't you get Florida.

The Vols have "turned many corners" in the past 3 years. I'll withold judgement until FU comes to town. If we compete (not necessarily win), then I'll be convinced.

I understand you holding back your enthusiasm. I am as well. Been burned too many times by Martin's teams. However, there is a difference in this team. I do see a game plan. They are attacking the zone with strategy and I assume that is a result of Martin's coaching. They are making shots because of this approach leading to more quality shots.

murrayvol writes:

in response to UT4prez:

I understand you holding back your enthusiasm. I am as well. Been burned too many times by Martin's teams. However, there is a difference in this team. I do see a game plan. They are attacking the zone with strategy and I assume that is a result of Martin's coaching. They are making shots because of this approach leading to more quality shots.

I really hope you're right and we're seeing a trend and not an uptick.

no1djkb#278630 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

I really hope you're right and we're seeing a trend and not an uptick.

Well murrayvol you could see it yesterday. The beginning of the second half, Alabama was getting to the rim a lot and he went zone which surprised Alabama and what even surprised me even more was the guys doing well in the zone defense. They completely caught Alabama by surprise. There is a game plan, the guys just have to execute it. It seems to me Martin is listening to what people are saying. Maybe not us per say:) but someone is in his ear. I have to go back to the McRae pulling. He was rushing shots at first and Martin pulled out and let him know it was not going to be tolerated. A good leader listens to people under them. Lets hope he has a good group of coaches that will help him along the way. I really want this team to do well. It's funny I really liked Pearl's teams but they seemed to play out of control a lot. When this team plays like the are suppose to, I think this team could be better than any of those teams we saw. Its just in opinion. Not trying to disrespect anyone.

fannotsheep writes:

Much needed road win, but against a bad team. Alabama has a good coach but he did the right thing and has few good players right now. He will be OK because they don't care that much as long as Saban is playing for SEC and national championships on a regular basis.

If Tennessee football gets well soon the basketball team will fade to the background for most fans, which is unfortunate. I hope they keep getting better and make me eat my words. Everyone who has read my posts knows who I wish was on UT's bench and that's no knock on Martin. I wish him the best.

I will always wonder what heights this program might have reached under Pearl had things not gone so wrong. I think he would have adjusted to coaching elite talent and … oh well, it no longer matters.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Heard on a sports show Grant has a contract for 1.9 mil per year thru 2019..the buyout may cause him to get a chance to turn it around..

I had not heard that. I guess since Bama football is doing so well, they think it is worthwhile to get all they can out of a guy who classes up the place in other ways as well as he does. He has had some good players, but not enough of them at the same time.

I see a lot of parallels between him and Martin <duh!> but not merely because of their age, coaching experience, and ethnicity. There are many such parallels but I'll just mention a couple. Both seem dedicated to the student-athlete ideal--quaint as that notion can seem these days--both project rather stoic exteriors, and both are strict on the players' conduct. In both cases, their ultimate longevity will be determined by the rate of ON-court success they have, however much they have improved the OFF-court image of their teams.

My feeling is that UT may well be more anxious to see more improvement sooner to the degree that they might not be as forgiving of Martin as Bama has been of Grant for not making the NCAAs in a few years. On the other hand, Hart would not be anxious to cough up another buyout after this season, and may choose to ride it out with Martin anyway.

I hope all this will be rendered moot in Martin's case by a stirring Vol drive to the SEC championship and/or the NCAAs. The odds remain greatly against them, but DANG! what a story it would be if they could pull it off.

Nothing Martin can do, short of winning a national championship--maybe!--will satisfy the "fringe element" cited elsewhere, but there is still a window of opportunity for him to win back the ones not particularly opposed to him personally.

Another thing is that the talent level of next year's team will be lower, though not as MUCH lower as some seem to think. Is it more likely that Martin will be able to bring about sufficient improvement in himself--and in the guys that he recruited--to win with them, or that a new coach could come in and do as well or better with that material? If Martin can win with that bunch, he would be a FAR better coach than some think he is, and such an achievement might enable him to bring in some better talent.

Apologies to all for droning on. You know, old retired guy, rainy day, awful head and chest cold, hard to sleep because hard to breathe...man's gotta do something!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

With all respect I still see no game plan other than making shots against the zone. When we make them, we're a very good team. And if we don't you get Florida.

The Vols have "turned many corners" in the past 3 years. I'll withold judgement until FU comes to town. If we compete (not necessarily win), then I'll be convinced.

Oh, come on, murray! The Vols have run set patterns and plays to get the majority of their shots in the half-court for the whole conference season so far! I would be happy to diagram them for you if we met. No question the A&M and Florida losses were bummers, but, seriously, you don't see evidence they are TRYING to the right things more and better these days? That's way beyond merely making shots; they are GETTING MAKEABLE shots nearly every time down. Getting those shots IS the game plan devised by the coaching staff. Actually MAKING them may be a sometime thing for almost any team, but it says not much either way about the quality of coaching.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

I understand you holding back your enthusiasm. I am as well. Been burned too many times by Martin's teams. However, there is a difference in this team. I do see a game plan. They are attacking the zone with strategy and I assume that is a result of Martin's coaching. They are making shots because of this approach leading to more quality shots.

Thank you for saying what I pretty much did in far fewer words! It is a shame for all concerned that the Vols have taken this long to jell, and one may well wonder why Martin's teams seem to have that pattern, but most know that any of Martin's teams were better by the end of the year than three-fourths of the teams that made the NCAAs that year. Of course, the fact that they didn't really make any positive statements on their behalf in the SEC tourney was probably the ultimate reason they didn't get in, and that is another gap in Martin's resume that I would like to see filled in.

BTW, I originally used another metaphor in the last phrase above that got me a wrist-slap from the site-nanny. I had to read it a half-dozen times before I could figure out what tripped their trigger. You would howl if I could tell you what it was! "Robot logic" run amok!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to no1djkb#278630:

Well murrayvol you could see it yesterday. The beginning of the second half, Alabama was getting to the rim a lot and he went zone which surprised Alabama and what even surprised me even more was the guys doing well in the zone defense. They completely caught Alabama by surprise. There is a game plan, the guys just have to execute it. It seems to me Martin is listening to what people are saying. Maybe not us per say:) but someone is in his ear. I have to go back to the McRae pulling. He was rushing shots at first and Martin pulled out and let him know it was not going to be tolerated. A good leader listens to people under them. Lets hope he has a good group of coaches that will help him along the way. I really want this team to do well. It's funny I really liked Pearl's teams but they seemed to play out of control a lot. When this team plays like the are suppose to, I think this team could be better than any of those teams we saw. Its just in opinion. Not trying to disrespect anyone.

Well said; agree with all. If they can keep up a decent level of concentration and just do what they are being taught, they will be fine. I also believe the staff has been brainstorming. They are likely in touch with all sorts of peers and counterparts all across the country. They seem to have actually analyzed their talent and figured out how to use them. Now they need to continue the trend of improvement and--FOR GOODNESS SAKES!--figure that out QUICKER next year, if there IS a next year! That is as much as I will rant about this staff because I do think they have made some important steps.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to fannotsheep:

Much needed road win, but against a bad team. Alabama has a good coach but he did the right thing and has few good players right now. He will be OK because they don't care that much as long as Saban is playing for SEC and national championships on a regular basis.

If Tennessee football gets well soon the basketball team will fade to the background for most fans, which is unfortunate. I hope they keep getting better and make me eat my words. Everyone who has read my posts knows who I wish was on UT's bench and that's no knock on Martin. I wish him the best.

I will always wonder what heights this program might have reached under Pearl had things not gone so wrong. I think he would have adjusted to coaching elite talent and … oh well, it no longer matters.

Very nice post. Some interesting insights here. It is indeed possible both to miss Pearl and to respect Martin. I'm sure most of us will always wonder what Pearl could have done here and appreciate nearly all of what he actually did here. I would be surprised if basketball were allowed to slide if football gets respectable again. They do still have that giant building to fill, and these days that clearly takes a winning program.

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