Coach Cuonzo Martin earns Vols' respect

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum says he would "run through a wall" for Volunteers coach Cuonzo Martin.

When Tatum found himself in a six-game shooting slump he kept playing tough defense, so coach Martin saw no reason to remove him from the starting lineup.

Martin's even-keel attitude and consistent approach to discipline has all the Vols echoing Tatum's sentiments.

Behind the coach's leadership, Tennessee (14-13, 6-6) has worked its way into a four-way tie for fourth in the Southeastern Conference after being picked at the beginning of the season to finish 11th in the league.

Though the Vols' chances of making the NCAA tournament for a seventh straight season appear to be gone, they're still happy with where Martin has taken them.

Tennessee hosts Mississippi (15-11, 5-7) on Wednesday night.

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