Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tennessee Dominates Ohio and is into the Sweet 16

This Cinderella had enough. The great Ohio perimeter shooting that took the Bobcats through the MAC Tournament as a ninth seed and blew out Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament was shut down by the Tennessee Vols. Tennessee won 83-68 and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years.

You have to credit the great defense of Bobby Maze, Scotty Hopson, and J.P. Price. Ohio guards Armon Bassett and D.J. Coleman lit up Georgetown in the first round, but the Vols were ready on the defensive end and stifled their attack and did not let Cinderella work her magic again.

The Vols did a fantastic job of defending ball screens, which the Bobcats use to try and get their shooters open. Instead, they were harassed by the long arms of Hopson, Maze, and Prince. Bassett, who had scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games, made only two of 10 field-goal tries and scored seven points. Cooper had 16 points but made just five of 13 shots.

Tennessee did have prior experience in defending quick players out on the perimeter this season. South Carolina's Devan Downey (the conference's leading scorer) made just nine of 38 shots in two losses to the Vols.

The Bobcats were no match for Tennessee in the paint either. Every time Tennessee got the ball down low, something good happened. Credit does have to go to the Bobcats who tried to claw their way back into the game behind Tommy Freeman who had 23 points and cut the Tennessee lead to five with a three with 13 minutes left in the game. Tennessee was able to break through Ohio's press for some quick and easy points and they never looked back.

Tennessee did not play a perfect game by any means. They have to cut down on some of the turnovers. Tennessee had 16 turnovers and many of them could have been avoided. Most of them came on very sloppy and lazy passes. If Tennessee wants to advance past either Georgia Tech or Ohio State, they will have to be more careful with the ball.

Still, it is great to see the Vols back in the Sweet 16!

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