South Region 2019 March Madness Preview and Pick
Purdue and Tennessee are slated to take the KFC Yum Center court at 7:29 p.m. ET for a Thursday, March 28, date in the 2019 Sweet-16 event from the South Region. The Boilermakers (25-9) are making their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and third Sweet 16 in a row. While the Volunteers have not advanced this far in recent “Dance” affairs the Volunteers (31-5) are in their sixth Sweet 16 since 2000.
The highest scoring squad in this Big 10 versus SEC event will meet the winner of the Virginia vs. Oregon affair. The Volunteers opened as minus-one point favorites with a over-under at 146.5.
(651) No. 3 Seed Purdue Boilermakers vs (652) No. 2 Seed Tennessee Volunteers
The most overrated storyline of the Round-of-32 was the supposed dominating performance of the Boilermakers over defending “Dance” champions Villanova. The Boilermakers issued an 87-61 beatdown to the Wildcats behind arguably the most impressive individual player performance from last weekend’s campus personnel. All America guard Carsen Edwards scored 42 points on 9-of-16 shooting from three-point range.
The Boilermakers jumped out to a 19-point first half lead. They engineered the early run with 53.7 percent shooting from the field. Overall the guard-laden Purdue squad connected on 16 triples. The backcourt accounted for the majority of the team’s 19 assists. However, the Boilermakers rebounding edge (18 more than Nova) was ultimately the different maker in the contest. Not Edwards’ 40-plus points.
The Vols experienced a roller-coaster ride in their Round-of-32 overtime victory over Iowa. Tennessee blew a 25-point first-half lead against the Hawkeyes. This is the second straight year in which Rick Barnes’ troupe melted in second-round action.
Tennessee were the victims of a Sister Jean prayer last March. The Vols fell to a Clayton Custer jumper with 3.6 seconds left, allowing the 11th-seeded Loyola beat Tennessee 63-62 in a South Region second-round game.
Tennessee learned and grew with each passing game this season. When the Vol’s where the No. 1 ranked team in the country they took everyone’s best shot for two weeks before falling to then-No. 5 Kentucky. Before being positioned at the top of the college basketball mountain in early February the team’s last stint at No. 1 was in 2008. The Vols were battle tested in that two week mid-February stretch with a closely contested contest against a much less talented Vanderbilt squad. They went on to handle business for the next six games extending their school-record winning streak to 19-games.
In yet another building block to competing for a spot in the Final Four the Vols used the talents of their three-headed monster to grab a walk-in-the-park 25 point lead over the over-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes. After surviving and advancing with Saturday’s overtime victory the one constant will be that Grant Williams, Jordan Bone and Admiral Schofield will not just be all-in for 40-minutes they will not show the mercy they did in their scare vs Big 10 Iowa. Rather they will dominate the one-man Edwards) scoring show of the Boilermakers.
The Boilermakers took advantage of their ability to control the glass versus a middling Villanova team. Purdue was a Top-20 adjusted rebounding team in adjusted metrics against a middle of the road Nova squad overall. Purdue does not have this edge versus Tennessee who rank in the Top-50 of college hoops in adjusted rebounding efficiency.