Statement not made, Vols must sustain winning streak

Game at Missouri key with tournament chances slipping away

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) is double-teamed by Florida forward Will Yeguete (15) and Florida guard/forward DeVon Walker (25), from left, during the second half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) is double-teamed by Florida forward Will Yeguete (15) and Florida guard/forward DeVon Walker (25), from left, during the second half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

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Comments » 17

rockypop writes:

Here's what I don't get. Outside of Kentucky, the only team in the SEC to have any potential NBA draft picks in the first two rounds is Tennessee. And they have two - Stokes and McRae. Even though they both are projected to be second round picks, it still means they are considered to be among the top 60 players in the world.

It's frustrating as a fan to not see improvement in the way the go-to guys play. McRae is a great free-lancer who can't seem to get in the flow of creating a team offense. And, Stokes is always looking for his shot every time he touches the ball. He always puts it on the floor, doesn't look to kick it out, and often looses it to a double team. I put this on Martin, who is probably facing pressure to let Stokes do his thing because of what he promised him in order to get him to UT.

So, if Martin can't figure out how to win with these guys - plus Maymon (even though he's compromised), then look out next year. But, having said that, maybe things will improve if they have to play as a team. One can only hope, because Martin will be back.

Golferdocvol writes:

rockypop : Do you know something we don't know? How can you keep a coach that has not gone to the Big Dance 3 years in a row, especially with this talent.

housetohouse2000#313556 writes:

There is no scenario where Martin gets fired after this season, whether he squeaks into the NCAA tourney by the skin of his teeth or settles for the NIT again. It's just a little too soon to give up on the coach, especially one who by all accounts is a great guy who runs a clean program. Now next year with both stars gone there's is a chance of not even making the NIT, and a much stronger case could be made then. Plus it is my understanding even if UT boldly decides to try to get Bruce Pearl back (unlikely), the soonest he is out from under the NCAA sanctions and available would be next year.

Plasticman85 writes:

So we do the same thing we did in football with Dooley and keep Martin another year? We all agree Dooley should have been fired after losing at KY in 2011. If Martin can't get to the big dance with this group of players, it ain't gonna happen. It's time to cut bait and bring back Bruce Pearl to re- energize this fan base and this program. Don't wait another year as AL or GA will gladly take him this year if we don't!

murrayvol writes:

Players, coaches, fans, all want to put a positive spin on our situation. It's getting harder.

irishcoffee writes:

BP is out of the penalty box in August.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rockypop:

Here's what I don't get. Outside of Kentucky, the only team in the SEC to have any potential NBA draft picks in the first two rounds is Tennessee. And they have two - Stokes and McRae. Even though they both are projected to be second round picks, it still means they are considered to be among the top 60 players in the world.

It's frustrating as a fan to not see improvement in the way the go-to guys play. McRae is a great free-lancer who can't seem to get in the flow of creating a team offense. And, Stokes is always looking for his shot every time he touches the ball. He always puts it on the floor, doesn't look to kick it out, and often looses it to a double team. I put this on Martin, who is probably facing pressure to let Stokes do his thing because of what he promised him in order to get him to UT.

So, if Martin can't figure out how to win with these guys - plus Maymon (even though he's compromised), then look out next year. But, having said that, maybe things will improve if they have to play as a team. One can only hope, because Martin will be back.

I agree with much of this, but I think your view of Stokes' game might be a little out of date. While he still does a bit too much of what you say, he has gotten a lot better at making his own move AND passing, both out to the perimeter and to cutters. He has had more than one assist numerous times and would have more if Maymon didn't get capped or turn it over so often. He has shown two different types of hook shot, gotten better at pivoting to positions of advantage, and has stuck a few perimeter jumpers. At least until his mini-slump in the Florida game, he was one of the best FT shooters on the team, and the Vols as a team are second in the SEC. I look at those things and think that Martin may not be as bad at developing players as some others may think.

rockypop writes:

in response to Golferdocvol:

rockypop : Do you know something we don't know? How can you keep a coach that has not gone to the Big Dance 3 years in a row, especially with this talent.

All I know is based on common sense. I don't think UT has yet another coaching buy-out in their plans for the immediate future. If they do fire Martin, they're going to be paying for two head football and basketball coaches at the same time. That's on top of just paying off Fulmer. Anyway, like it or not, Martin deserves at least a year with all his own players.

Goodgriefcharliebrown writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

So we do the same thing we did in football with Dooley and keep Martin another year? We all agree Dooley should have been fired after losing at KY in 2011. If Martin can't get to the big dance with this group of players, it ain't gonna happen. It's time to cut bait and bring back Bruce Pearl to re- energize this fan base and this program. Don't wait another year as AL or GA will gladly take him this year if we don't!

Coach Cheater, what a résumé builder. That's the way you spell it Strange. What a sorry example of proper language. You're worse than Dizzy Dean for butchering words. Get a dictionary or for god's sake let someone proof your drivel.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rockypop:

All I know is based on common sense. I don't think UT has yet another coaching buy-out in their plans for the immediate future. If they do fire Martin, they're going to be paying for two head football and basketball coaches at the same time. That's on top of just paying off Fulmer. Anyway, like it or not, Martin deserves at least a year with all his own players.

I think you are probably right unless the team just folds up completely down the stretch. They showed enough fight against Florida that I don't that will happen. Making the tournament next year, unless Stokes returns and/or they get a transfer who can actually produce on the court and/or one or more of the unheralded freshmen really blows up, looks like a miracle right now.

But you never know. Ndiaye, Reese, and Chievous might improve as much as Richardson did this year. We might all be loving a healthy Hubbs. Richardson, Moore, Davis, and Thompson should improve. If Martin goes much over .500 with that team, most people would be amazed, and he might even get another year out of it. You know, we often forget that John Wooden was at UCLA for FIFTEEN YEARS before he even won a conference championship. Nobody gets that kind of time these days, of course, and I am surely not comparing Martin to Wooden as the legend he became, but it does show that a coach is not necessarily defined by what he does in his first half-dozen years in charge of a program, which I think Martin has yet to finish.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Goodgriefcharliebrown:

Coach Cheater, what a résumé builder. That's the way you spell it Strange. What a sorry example of proper language. You're worse than Dizzy Dean for butchering words. Get a dictionary or for god's sake let someone proof your drivel.

I guess I'm language-impaired, too, because this didn't make a lick of sense to me. Would you care to interpret for the benefit of us unenlightened ones? If you were referring to someone spelling "resume" without the accent marks, I don't have them on my computer, either, so that seems like a pretty trivial thing to rip somebody for.

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I agree with much of this, but I think your view of Stokes' game might be a little out of date. While he still does a bit too much of what you say, he has gotten a lot better at making his own move AND passing, both out to the perimeter and to cutters. He has had more than one assist numerous times and would have more if Maymon didn't get capped or turn it over so often. He has shown two different types of hook shot, gotten better at pivoting to positions of advantage, and has stuck a few perimeter jumpers. At least until his mini-slump in the Florida game, he was one of the best FT shooters on the team, and the Vols as a team are second in the SEC. I look at those things and think that Martin may not be as bad at developing players as some others may think.

Re: Stokes..he is in the process of becoming a man on the basketball floor..the kind of man who can dominate rebounding stats..he soundly outplayed and intimidated Ky on their home floor..check his stats in the UT-Fla game..no big man in the SEC comes close to Stokes ..one on one..in rebounding..he did more than his share to win the Fla game..I hope he decides to come back for another year..he is still young and his parents may influence him to get his degree before going pro..but he is a first rounder if he enters the draft..McRae..not ready for the NBA..not physical enough and takes too many contested low percentage shots..since he is a 50% 3 point shooter when open he may get a chance..but not a high draft choice...I think Martin will be the Vols coach next year only because UT does not want another buyout..the only thing I see that could change that is attendance or projected attendance..

johndavid writes:

in response to rockypop:

All I know is based on common sense. I don't think UT has yet another coaching buy-out in their plans for the immediate future. If they do fire Martin, they're going to be paying for two head football and basketball coaches at the same time. That's on top of just paying off Fulmer. Anyway, like it or not, Martin deserves at least a year with all his own players.

Why does he deserve a chance with his own players, they are not nearly as good as the ones he's had for 3 years. He has no chance to go to the tournament in his 4th year.

johndavid writes:

SO many people are still talking about going to the big dance! How can that be? About 9 days and 2 losses ago virtually everyone on here said we couldn't lose anymore or only just one more! Of course alot of people on here said that 4 or 5 losses ago (bracketology novices I guess). I SAID 8 weeks ago, 7 , 6 ETC... and again last week that we needed 11 conference wins and a wins in the tournament or 12-6 in conference would guarantee us in. (based on simple RPI projections) I would love to hear back from all those people now . Of course if we win out or lose just one more we are in! NOBODY SAID THAT WAS POSSIBLE LAST WEEK ON HERE. EVERYONE SAID 2 MORE LOSSES AND WE ARE OUT AND THEY (YOU GUYS) WERE TALKING ABOUT THE WHOLE SEASON. GO BACK and look it up. ANYBODY think we would not make it winning out or losing one more?

AMAZING the difference a week makes in people's opinions. I guess I'M not crazy after all . UNLESS they win out and get snubbed.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johndavid:

SO many people are still talking about going to the big dance! How can that be? About 9 days and 2 losses ago virtually everyone on here said we couldn't lose anymore or only just one more! Of course alot of people on here said that 4 or 5 losses ago (bracketology novices I guess). I SAID 8 weeks ago, 7 , 6 ETC... and again last week that we needed 11 conference wins and a wins in the tournament or 12-6 in conference would guarantee us in. (based on simple RPI projections) I would love to hear back from all those people now . Of course if we win out or lose just one more we are in! NOBODY SAID THAT WAS POSSIBLE LAST WEEK ON HERE. EVERYONE SAID 2 MORE LOSSES AND WE ARE OUT AND THEY (YOU GUYS) WERE TALKING ABOUT THE WHOLE SEASON. GO BACK and look it up. ANYBODY think we would not make it winning out or losing one more?

AMAZING the difference a week makes in people's opinions. I guess I'M not crazy after all . UNLESS they win out and get snubbed.

Look, the reason we keep harping on the idea that the Vols can "settle" for any particular number of wins and still be in is based on the fact that they HAVE finished strong both of the previous years, last year winning 9 of their last 10, IIRC, and they were snubbed. Most of those bracketologist projections are if the season ended today or projecting out a certain number of wins and if dozens of other teams in the mix perform to a certain level.

I'm trying to say further that we don't know, and most likely Joe Lunardi doesn't know, exactly what criteria the selection committee will use this year. Some years in the past they have given extra weight to a team's record in their last 10 games. Some teams from multi-bid conferences need to win a conference tourney game or two. They have given extra consideration to a team that got an injured star back in time for the finishing drive to the post-season. And so on. If the Vols have somewhat shaky statistical qualifications, they could be displaced by a team that fit one of those somewhat subjective criteria. They vary slightly each year and straight math is only one factor, though a highly important one. It's not that I or anybody else knows how many it would take, it's just that we have seen what can happen to the Vols when the selection committee gets down to the hard cases. A conference record of 11-7 MIGHT get them in; a record of, say, 14-4 would have made it virtually impossible for the committee to leave them OUT.

UT4prez writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Look, the reason we keep harping on the idea that the Vols can "settle" for any particular number of wins and still be in is based on the fact that they HAVE finished strong both of the previous years, last year winning 9 of their last 10, IIRC, and they were snubbed. Most of those bracketologist projections are if the season ended today or projecting out a certain number of wins and if dozens of other teams in the mix perform to a certain level.

I'm trying to say further that we don't know, and most likely Joe Lunardi doesn't know, exactly what criteria the selection committee will use this year. Some years in the past they have given extra weight to a team's record in their last 10 games. Some teams from multi-bid conferences need to win a conference tourney game or two. They have given extra consideration to a team that got an injured star back in time for the finishing drive to the post-season. And so on. If the Vols have somewhat shaky statistical qualifications, they could be displaced by a team that fit one of those somewhat subjective criteria. They vary slightly each year and straight math is only one factor, though a highly important one. It's not that I or anybody else knows how many it would take, it's just that we have seen what can happen to the Vols when the selection committee gets down to the hard cases. A conference record of 11-7 MIGHT get them in; a record of, say, 14-4 would have made it virtually impossible for the committee to leave them OUT.

He is right John. I remember some pretty strange comments from some folks. I don't recall who and certainly know it wasn't you. You're as level-headed as anyone on here.

I say who cares though? Who cares what was said a couple weeks ago or month ago. I only care about what happens going forward. I predict 4-3 to close. What's your call?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

He is right John. I remember some pretty strange comments from some folks. I don't recall who and certainly know it wasn't you. You're as level-headed as anyone on here.

I say who cares though? Who cares what was said a couple weeks ago or month ago. I only care about what happens going forward. I predict 4-3 to close. What's your call?

Of course you are right. Sometimes all this trying to predict what a bunch of teenage ball players and another bunch of bald-headed old men will do that affect one's favorite team can drive anybody crazy! The only thing that matters to me is today's game. No matter how they do going forward, the season isn't over until it is over. We will see what happens and make our judgment then.

As for your prediction, I surely HOPE they go better than 4-3 to finish. That would leave them with a 10-8 record, and probably out of the running for the double-bye in the SEC tourney. They would then, IMHO, have to win at least two games to stay firmly on the bubble, if that expression makes any sense! I don't know how I would feel about another NIT invite.

Well, maybe I do know--I would be really annoyed, after what I have expected from this team all year. The guys have shown twice now that they have no regard for the NIT, nor do the fans. I would rather they would just turn down an NIT bid than put on another no-show like they did the last two years.

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