The SEC’s Undisputed King of February: Cuonzo Martin

By Taylor Sturm
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

In the SEC, there are many great coaches; Billy Donovan, Frank Martin, Kevin Stallings, John Calipari, and Frank Haith are just a few of these names.  However, there is no coach in the entire country better at winning in February than Tennessee Volunteer’s coach Cuonzo Martin.

Martin has coached at Tennessee for two seasons, following the Bruce Pearl BBQ debacle that led to the University letting him go. Tennessee has been an up and down team during Martin’s time, but, for some strange reason, in February his Volunteers take their game play to the next level.

Martin is 13-3 in February at the University of Tennessee, which includes two wins over a Florida team ranked in the top ten both times and a 30-point win over Kentucky. A 13-3 record in one of the toughest leagues in the country is a tough record to achieve in any month, especially when it’s the most crucial month of the season for NCAA Tournament bids.

Both seasons at Tennessee, Martin’s coaching has led to February records that brought the Volunteers from disappointing seasons that seemingly had no hope for the NCAA tournament, to near tournament bids. He has achieved the same results this season – the Volunteers are considered “on the bubble” after winning six of their last seven games.

Tennessee may not make the NCAA tournament this season, but only two total players (who are bench players) will graduate this year, meaning that all of the Volunteers most talented players, including last year All-SEC Forward Jeronne Maymon will return and, with a coach as talented as Martin, Tennessee will continue to rise in the SEC.


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