Mike Strange: This UT team still has fans, including Frank Martin

Mike Strange
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin makes a face at his players from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Tennessee at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Lau)

Photo by Adam Lau, © Knoxville News Sentinel

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin makes a face at his players from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Tennessee at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Lau)

Tennessee’s basketball team has devoted fans in spite of itself.

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Comments » 10

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

He like a lot of fans and tv analysts in college BB also don't understand the constant criticism and racism undertones that surrounds Coach Martin and his team.
SC's Coach Martin has been last in the SEC the last two years and doesn't deal with anything like the Vol malcontents.
However, he didn't follow someone that had a few good years but had his last two as busts including 19-15 the year he got caught cheating and fired.
While CCM has run a clean program with players not seen on police blotters his predecessor had players embarrass UT numerous times.
Understandable while other coaches and fans respect Coach Martin and the Vols.

Plasticman85 writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

He like a lot of fans and tv analysts in college BB also don't understand the constant criticism and racism undertones that surrounds Coach Martin and his team.
SC's Coach Martin has been last in the SEC the last two years and doesn't deal with anything like the Vol malcontents.
However, he didn't follow someone that had a few good years but had his last two as busts including 19-15 the year he got caught cheating and fired.
While CCM has run a clean program with players not seen on police blotters his predecessor had players embarrass UT numerous times.
Understandable while other coaches and fans respect Coach Martin and the Vols.

Horrible comparison. USC has not had any success in basketball since Frank McGuire teams of the 70's. It's ridiculous to make this a "racial" issue. The Vols were coming off their best 6 years in the history of their program before CCM has continued to bring us mediocre basketball and NIT bids. If he can't get to the tourney with this group and a weak SEC, he is obviously not the coach we need. Sure, his players behave off the court but I don't purchase season tix and go to the games because we have well-behaved players and coaches.

GoVolsinKY writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

Horrible comparison. USC has not had any success in basketball since Frank McGuire teams of the 70's. It's ridiculous to make this a "racial" issue. The Vols were coming off their best 6 years in the history of their program before CCM has continued to bring us mediocre basketball and NIT bids. If he can't get to the tourney with this group and a weak SEC, he is obviously not the coach we need. Sure, his players behave off the court but I don't purchase season tix and go to the games because we have well-behaved players and coaches.

Excellent point! I live here in Louisville (UT fan though) and the same was mentioned when UL hired Petrino back. Questioned his character and such. However, they had Kragthorpe and he was a nice guy and the players and so on and he destroyed what Petrino had the first time. Winning brings fans. Period!

johnlg00 writes:

South Carolina had one of the better teams in the SEC for several years in the 90's and 00's under Dave Odom, so it's not like people over there don't know if the ball is blown up or stuffed.

This has been a crazy season so far. The Vols are just one of literally dozens of teams that are capable of beating each other almost at random. Hard to imagine that all the coaches in the country just lost control of their teams at the same time--three- and four-game losing streaks for Wisconsin and Ohio State, for example, not to mention ongoing craziness in the SEC, as shown by some examples Mike provided.

Come to the games or not; feel positive about Martin or not; just don't be TOO definite about how you feel about the team until the season is over.

murrayvol writes:

Another account of this game offered that "when Tennessee shoots the ball well they're hard to beat". Well, duh. When Florida shoots the ball well they're dang near impossible to beat.

Problems arise when the shots don't fall as in no Plan B. I'm still looking for an offensive game plan that gets shots in the paint for Stokes and Maymon where at least fouls can occur if they don't make them.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

South Carolina had one of the better teams in the SEC for several years in the 90's and 00's under Dave Odom, so it's not like people over there don't know if the ball is blown up or stuffed.

This has been a crazy season so far. The Vols are just one of literally dozens of teams that are capable of beating each other almost at random. Hard to imagine that all the coaches in the country just lost control of their teams at the same time--three- and four-game losing streaks for Wisconsin and Ohio State, for example, not to mention ongoing craziness in the SEC, as shown by some examples Mike provided.

Come to the games or not; feel positive about Martin or not; just don't be TOO definite about how you feel about the team until the season is over.

You're right john. This has been a crazy season so far. I don't expect that to change.

Which team will show up Tuesday? Dunno.

OrangePride writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

He like a lot of fans and tv analysts in college BB also don't understand the constant criticism and racism undertones that surrounds Coach Martin and his team.
SC's Coach Martin has been last in the SEC the last two years and doesn't deal with anything like the Vol malcontents.
However, he didn't follow someone that had a few good years but had his last two as busts including 19-15 the year he got caught cheating and fired.
While CCM has run a clean program with players not seen on police blotters his predecessor had players embarrass UT numerous times.
Understandable while other coaches and fans respect Coach Martin and the Vols.

You keep bringing up that 19-15 last year as I guess some indicator that Pearl wasn't as good as people think or he was slipping...whatever. But the fact is that Pearl was suspended for 10 games and there were a TON of distractions swirling around that entire season. So, I wouldn't put so much emphasis on that unPearl-like season. But a few BIG donors are pretty much on record saying this University best not bring the man back. That's more the issue than the 19-15 record in my view. Besides, CMM, whether you or everyone else likes him or not, is not quite done yet. IF a win or statement game is made against Florida, we take care of unfinished business with Vandy, and make a good show in the tournament, I don't see Hart pulling the plug...nor should he if that's how we finish. I, like many others, am bitterly unhappy, but I just have to see how we finish.

iluvols#1417400 writes:

yes, wait til the season is over. let's hope it's LATER than sooner.
Go Vols, finish STRONG !!

ScotsIrishAmerican writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

He like a lot of fans and tv analysts in college BB also don't understand the constant criticism and racism undertones that surrounds Coach Martin and his team.
SC's Coach Martin has been last in the SEC the last two years and doesn't deal with anything like the Vol malcontents.
However, he didn't follow someone that had a few good years but had his last two as busts including 19-15 the year he got caught cheating and fired.
While CCM has run a clean program with players not seen on police blotters his predecessor had players embarrass UT numerous times.
Understandable while other coaches and fans respect Coach Martin and the Vols.

"had his last two as busts." Really? You consider the Elite Eight appearance in 2010 a bust?

fannotsheep writes:

If Bruce Pearl was black I would still have loved watching his teams play, would still have thought he was unfairly targeted and punished way too harshly. Would have thought that he was shoved under the bus by Hamilton and would still want him back as my coach.

If Martin was white I would still respect him as a person and as a coach who tries to lead his team the right way. I would still say that he needs to get to the NCAA tourney with this team because he has underachieved with the talent he has had for each season, has not seemed to adjust his coaching strategy at half time and fails to put a team on the court that seems to have a clue on offense. He also has a low rated class coming in next year and he loses too many home games to inferior teams (Texas A&M for instance).

By the way, most coaches of losing teams like South Carolina are extremely complimentary of the opposing teams and coaches because the alternative is to say we suck so much that we got blown out by a team that also sucks.

The Vols played well Saturday but they beat the worst team in a mediocre conference. They should have beaten A&M by at least 10 points. They should have been able to figure out how to beat a Vandy team with just 7 players. I never played organized basketball but I think I could have figured out a better plan in Nashville than the one that produced another loss to another inferior opponent.

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