The Tennessee Volunteers played their way into this game against the UMass Minutemen in the NCAA Tournament Second Round. The game is scheduled for a 2:45 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. Currently the odds for the game have Tennessee as a mild favorite in this contest.
Tennessee has an advantage heading into this contest. They had to play their way into the NCAA Tournament, beating Xavier in Dayton, Ohio just the other day. That game went into overtime and the Vols were able to pull away, advancing to this round against the sixth-seeded UMass Minutemen.
UMass won 24 games this season and they have a team with a lot of length and athleticism. They've averaged better than 76 points per game this season and shot the ball pretty well at 46 percent. Chaz Williams is the offensive leader at better than 15 points per contest and he hands out seven assists per game. Tennessee is going to want to slow this game down and play in a half-court style where they can dictate the pace of play and get their bigs involved.
The Vols connected for better than 33.5 points per game in the paint this year. They rebounded the ball defensively better than any team in the SEC this season, which includes both Kentucky and Florida. When their opponents can't knock down shots, the Vols make sure they don't get any second chance opportunities.
Jordan McRae averages nearly 19 points per game while Jarnell Stokes tosses in nearly 15 and Jeronne Maymon adds 10. The trio also rebounds the ball for a combined 22.1 boards per contest. Other teams just do not get more than one look at the rim.
UMass can succeed in this game if they force Tennessee to play an uptempo style of game and get them running. But we don't see that happening. The Vols have been playing very well, finding a way to get into the NCAA Tournament and making the most of it so far. We like Josh Richardson, who came up big for Tennessee in the team's first win, to have a major impact on this game.
Free Pick: Tennessee 61, UMass 55
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