Vandy's Stallings stands up for Tennessee's Martin

February 28, 2014
Vandy's Stallings stands up for Tennessee's Martin
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Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin calls out to his players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Tennessee won 75-68. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings says ''it's absolutely a joke'' that Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin is facing questions about job security in his third season.

Tennessee (17-11, 8-7 SEC) could miss the NCAA tournament for a third straight year and that has led to a drop in attendance, criticism from some fans on talk radio and an online fan petition to bring back Bruce Pearl, who preceded Martin.

Stallings said Thursday that ''hopefully the powers that be over at Tennessee will tune those idiots out and give the guy the kind of time he deserves to do the job he needs to do.''

Vanderbilt (15-12, 7-8) plays at Tennessee on Saturday.

Stallings and Martin are both former Purdue players and assistants, though they weren't there at the same time.