Dec. 3, 2012
HOOPS REPORT: In The Zone
Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin met with the media Monday for the first time since Friday's 37-36 loss at then-20th-ranked Georgetown in the SEC/Big East Challenge. Most of the questions tossed his way Monday had to do with the stifling Georgetown zone that stymied the Volunteers offense and prevented the Big Orange from getting into a scoring rhythm.
"Against any zone, you have to be able to make shots, flash to the middle and get the ball to the post," Martin said. "I thought we could have done a better job of getting the ball to the middle and posting up strong and being aggressive. I didn't think we flashed like we needed to, and I don't think we did a good job with our dribble penetration.
"I thought we were patient running our offense, but we have to get to the middle with penetration. At the end of the day, you have to be able to make plays."
While few teams possess the Hoyas' length and athleticism across the board - four of Georgetown's starters were 6-8 or taller - finding a way to effectively produce points against a zone defense is a problem Tennessee will work to solve.
But with 24 regular-season games remaining on UT's schedule, the ever-steady Martin is nowhere close to pressing the panic button as it relates to his team's offense.
"Not at all. Not from me," Martin responded when asked if there was a sense of panic in the program. "That will never change with me. We're six games into a long season."
When the updated Associated Press top-25 poll was released Monday afternoon, Georgetown had ascended to 15th. Oklahoma State - the team that handed Tennessee its only other loss thus far - landed at No. 24 nationally.
STREAKING ON D
Tennessee's opponents have suffered through three scoreless droughts of at least six minutes this season (Georgetown 6:23, Kennesaw State 6:20, Oakland 6:10).
In addition to keeping the then-20th-ranked Hoyas scoreless for nearly six and a half minutes of game time Friday, the Vols also held Georgetown without a field goal for the final 10:17 of the first half.
All told, in the 40 games Tennessee has played under second-year head coach Cuonzo Martin, the Vols have managed 10 different streaks during which the opponent has failed to score for a span of five minutes or longer. Interestingly, five of those streaks have come during home games, and five occurred away from Rocky Top - in places such as Athens, Memphis and Gainesville.
EMPHASIS OF THE DAY
Monday's "Emphasis of the Day" - daily midcourt talking points spearheaded by head coach Cuonzo Martin prior to each practice - focused on one's level of investment.
If you don't invest very much, then losing doesn't hurt very much and winning isn't very exciting.