Tennessee basketball is enjoying a little success -- at least, short term success.
The Vols (14-10, 6-6, SEC) have won their last three games, and head coach Cuonzo Martin said the team's progress has been good to see after really working in practice to get the team to where it needs to be.
"As a coaching staff, you go back to the drawing board and figure out the best case scenario for the team to be successful," Martin said.
With a few out of town wins under their belt, Martin said the team has improved in playing to their full potential.
"We're not at the level we need to be, but we're making progress," Martin said.
One change the team worked through was moving senior forward Kenny Hall to a new position.
"Kenny's still good at the power forward position, but he's better at a center position because he can move, he can play, he's used to that," Martin said. "At the end of the day you have to be able to defend us on the other end. It's putting bodies on guys, it's keeping pressure on the ball."
Martin said he prefers a fast-paced team, but along with that comes the responsibility of playing smart and keeping plays within the boundaries. He's said that he has seen the team making a turn in the right direction.
"You have to make good decisions when you run. You can't just all of a sudden run down the court and turn the ball over," Martin said. "You have to be able to make decisions with the basketball and if you have three or four guys that can handle the ball in transition and actually make a decision, that's a tough team to defend."
The coach said that the three game winning streak has brought the team to a new level of confidence as well.
"It's amazing what confidence can do for you. It's the same team. we haven't changed anything outside of tweaks here and there, but the system's still the same," he said.
"You have to give guys a level of confidence," he continued. "You can't beat guys up and make them feel uncomfortable, make practice where they hate coming to practice, that's part of it. You lost some games and you learn from them. I think our problems were things we could correct. It's not a case where we were outmanned and the other team was that much better."
Junior guard Jordan McRae said it is just a matter of remembering that they could make the changes they wanted to see.
"We just kept reminding ourselves that theres a chance to turn things around," McRae said. "We've been there before and there's always a chance to turn things around."
He added that the streak will mean a continued ability for the team to play at their full potential and that the gauge of a true basketball player is how well they play when their shots aren't falling, especially when the team is counting on them.
"Your guys have to be the guys they're supposed to be," Martin said. "You have to compete, you have to work hard. You have to take care of yourself. You have to play. These guys understand what they want to do and how to be successful and continue to work hard, but also remember how they got to this point."
With that, Martin is confident the Vols can pull off a win.
"If we play the way we're capable of playing, we'll be fine," he said. "Everything else will take care of itself."
That said, March is around the corner. Martin said the NCAA tournament is in their minds, but it's not their main focus.
"We talk about the NCAA tournament ... but I don't say, 'let's win this many games in a row,'" Martin said. "The most important thing is this next game that we play."