After a 37-36 loss to Georgetown last Friday, Tennessee has shifted focus from defense to offense.
Senior guard Skylar McBee said the team's inability to break a zone and make plays meant a lot of practice on both Sunday and Monday. He said he felt the defense played well, but what matters are the points on the board.
"I think just because fans want to see points, they want a game to be 110-109 rather than 37-36," McBee said. "I thought both teams played really good defense and that's part of it. Some nights the shots just aren't falling."
Sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes said he wasn't sure how many teams would chose to run a zone on the Volunteers in upcoming game, but he said now the team expects it. He said they'll continue to work on offense until they feel confident.
"I feel like every day we work on it we should get better at it," Stokes said.
"I think you just have to be brave to drive into the zone and trust yourself and trust your instincts to pass the ball," he said. "That's the key to being in the zone is being brave enough to drive the ball."
Stokes said he thought the team was a little timid about getting the ball inside. He said head coach Cuonzo Martin's emphasis on defense won't lessen, he'll just add more focus on offense as well.
"Of course we're gonna work on defense, but Coach (Martin) really stressed zone and just moving the ball a lot," Stokes said.
"He feels like we've been doing good in defense but now it's time to pick up our offensive production," Stokes said.
Martin said it's important that the team learn from their game against Georgetown.
"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."
He said he's not nervous about the team's future this season. He's confident in the program.
"That will never change with me," Martin said. "We're six games into a long season."
McBee said the team will work for a win, no matter how ugly it is, and learn how to improve with practice.
"I think we recognize things we did wrong and we see ways to improve that and see things that we need to do to get better and in order to be more successful," McBee said.