The Volunteers started out the season as one of the favorites to win it all, then the offense became inconsistent and what followed was an up-and-down season for the Vols. Florida Atlantic won 33 games this season and a lot of those games were against inferior talent, but the first-round win over Memphis showed that this team is for real.
Tennessee is set to put the heat on the Owls.
Duke was clearly more talented than Tennessee, boasting major-league players and plenty of athletes – yet they couldn’t handle Tennessee’s physical style in their 65-52 defeat.
Tennessee is unbeatable at defending threes – it ranks No. 1 in the nation in three-point defense – and forces teams to play at its pace. Plus, Tennessee boasts plenty of talent and playmakers to boot.
Florida Atlantic, who usually dominates on the boards, may face a tough day in terms of rebounding margin.
FAU didn’t face off against many formidable teams, but was outrebounded by 13 in its win against Florida and had a rebounding margin of -9 against Ole Miss in their 13-point loss.
The Owls may have 33 wins, and they’ve certainly been tested.
Yes, they had Fairleigh Dickinson to contend with in the second round – we can speak freely here – and yet managed to contain all that energy. Additionally, they managed to push past an active Memphis team which imploded late.
This team has an incredibly deep roster that gets points from everywhere. It loves to shoot threes, it’s great on the move and that bench provides energy for a team that does a lot on the boards.
Johnell Davis, lead the Owls in the second round as his 29 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and five steals against FDU showed that there’s enough size to compete and the style suits him perfectly.
Tennessee won’t let Florida Atlantic have its way with them when it comes to making this a track meet.
These two teams have not played this season.
The Owls boast a strong group of sophomores who know how to move quickly. Conversely, the Voles boast an array of tough-guy seniors that will intimidate opponents from the get-go.
Florida Atlantic may have some runs when they can generate transition points, but those threes will always be challenged hard and the offensive rebounds won’t be there to make up for any missed shots.
Tennessee has allowed fewer than 60 points in five of its last seven games. Although they may not be that airtight, Tennessee ranks towards the top in scoring defense.
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