The game ended hours ago and I am still trying to catch my breath. At points in the first half the game it seemed like the Hawkeyes were going to lose by 25-30. Then they brought the margin down to five at halftime, wow.
The team came out in the second half firing, hustling, crashing the boards and snagging rebounds, getting scorching hot from 3. We all know that this Iowa team has points in them, it just takes them deciding that they want to play basketball to hit that potential.
When Iowa is hitting its stride, it can play with just about anyone in the country and it is going to have to ride every last bit of momentum in order to play with Tennessee.
Tennessee, while not shown in its record, is a team that is up and down in its performances. In the first round, the Volunteers played 15-seed Colgate which was coming off a Patriot League championship. Colgate had no wins versus major conference opposition, going winless against upper-echelon teams.
All of that being said, the Volunteers only managed to squeak out a seven-point win against the team. Tennessee is a team that, when firing on all cylinders, can outplay anyone in the country, and while not as often, it sometimes takes a while to wake up and play basketball.
Now, onto the matchup itself. This is a very bleak matchup for the Hawkeyes. Tennessee is a beast of a team. With an offensive monster in Admiral Schofield, this is a high-flying and high-scoring offense.
If the Hawks have any chance to win this game, they’re going to have to keep a solid defensive posture, hit from 3, clear out the paint and bring that field goal percentage up.
Iowa can not afford to have a start like it did against Cincinnati, where the Hawkeyes were ice cold from the field, going down double-digit points. The key factor in this matchup is going to be the turnover battle.
Iowa was somehow able to survive losing horribly on the turnover margin last game. If the Hawkeyes turn the ball over like they did against the Bearcats, this will be a 20 or 30-point thrashing.
As much as I want to pick with my heart and predict the upset by my Hawkeyes, I have this game going 82-68 for the Volunteers.
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