Last Updated: 2019-03-23
The No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers needed some time to put away the Colgate Raiders in their first round match-up, but the Vols were able to survive and advance. Admiral Schofield hit back-to-back threes late to dash Colgate’s upset bid, and now the Volunteers must avoid being upset by a double-digit seed for the second straight year. Last season, Loyola-Chicago nipped Tennessee by a point in the second round, and the Vols are looking to avoid a similar fate against the No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes.
#2 Tennessee is a sizable favorite going into their South Region Second Round game against #10 Iowa on Sunday, March 24. The Volunteers are an eight-point favorite and the over/under has been set at 155.5, the highest total of the day. This will be the first game on Sunday and is scheduled to tip from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio at 12:10 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast on CBS. The winner will face either Villanova or Purdue in Louisville, Kentucky next week for a spot in the Elite Eight.
How They Got Here
Iowa got the wins it needed to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament by the middle of February. The Hawkeyes were 20-5 at that point, but an ignominious end to the season where they lost six of their last eight led to them being on the No. 10 line. On Friday, they fell behind by as many as 13 against Cincinnati before rallying in he second half to upset the Bearcats. Luka Garza had a big game, going 8-11 from the floor to lead the way with 20 points, and the Hawkeyes went 11-22 from the three-point line.
The Volunteers have been one of the best teams in college basketball all season. For just the second time in their history, they were ranked No. 1, and the Volunteers ended the year as a No. 2 seed for just the second time in their history. Tennessee won 19 straight games at one point this season, and wins over Gonzaga and Kentucky have this team believing they could reach the Final Four for the first time ever. They ended up beating Colgate 77-70 to get here.
Tennessee will need to defend the three-point line better than what we saw from them on Friday. Colgate was able to stick around by hitting 15 of 29 threes, and Jordan Burns torched the defense for 32 points. The Vols allowed opponents to hit just 35 percent of their threes during the regular season, and while that number is above average, it’s much better than we saw from them on Friday.
This team has had no such problems defending the interior. Tennessee has allowed opponents to hit just 44.4 percent of their two-pointers, and that’s a very good sign considering Iowa will be one of the bigger teams they face. Iowa has three big men that can get points down low in Tyler Cook, Luka Garza, and Ryan Kriener.
Iowa must do a better job of protecting the glass. The Hawkeyes allowed a smaller Cincinnati team to outmuscle them on the boards, and the Bearcats grabbed 12 offensive rebounds on Friday. The tables didn’t fully turn for them until Cincinnati’s big man Nysier Brooks fouled out, giving Iowa the advantage on the glass once again.
The Volunteers don’t have a lot of size, but Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield can both grab boards. Williams is one of the best undersized big men in the nation. He is a three-time all-conference selection, and he can beat you on the offensive glass. Williams didn’t have a big day against Colgate, but he should be able to have a great game against Iowa.
Pick: Tennessee -8
I don’t think this one will be close. Tennessee is a senior-laden team that can rebound well despite not having a lot of size, and they should be able to score on an Iowa team that has had some problems defending the interior. I think Grant Williams has a double-double, and Schofield keeps knocking them down from three to bring the Volunteers to the Sweet 16.
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