Midwest – No. 11 Iowa vs. No. 11 Tennessee

Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: East Region – No. 11 Iowa vs. No. 11 Tennessee

Line: Tennessee -2
Why To Pick Iowa: The Hawkeyes have the ability to keep Tennessee off the boards. The Vols don't do much from the outside and have to live off of second chance points, but they might not get too many chances against the ninth-best rebounding team in the nation. Iowa moves the ball far, far better than Tennessee and should get more open chances.
Why To Pick Tennessee: Iowa appeared to have played its way out of the tournament after losing six of its final seven games – and it's not like all the misery came against the Big Ten's killers. The Hawkeyes can score, but they've gone dead-cold lately. Iowa is great on the boards, but Tennessee is better.
The Pick: Iowa 77-75. The Hawkeyes might be playing like dog meat, but they make fewer mistakes than Tennessee and are better on the free throw line – that will be the difference in a tight game.

Iowa Hawkeyes
Head coach: Fran McCaffery Record: 20-12 Conference: Big Ten

What You Need To Know: The Hawkeyes can put a lot of points on the board in a hurry, but they struggle on the defensive side leading to a late-season slump. Head coach Fran McCaffery's team can be disruptive when it concentrates on D, but that doesn't happen often enough to make Iowa fans comfortable. The Hawkeyes do rebound well and move the ball with efficiency, and they've excelled despite having just one go-to scorer. Roy Devyn Marble is a take-charge guard who can score inside and out, and he's unselfish with the ball with the ability to find his teammates on the floor. Aaron White and Mike Gesell provide support both inside and out, and forward Melsahn Basabe can be a force on the glass when he's assertive.
Strengths: Scoring, Rebounding, Assists
Weaknesses: Three Point Shooting, Scoring Defense, Consistency
How Far Will They Go?: They'll get past Tennessee in an ugly game, but they're too flaky to win two in a row.

Tennessee Volunteers
Head coach: Cuonzo Martin Record: 21-12 Conference: SEC

What You Need To Know: There's something to be said for getting hot at the right time, and Tennessee has been rolling since mid-February. Cuonzo Martin has his team defending well and hitting the glass hard, creating a hungry Vols squad that's itching for respect. The Vols bring a 1-2 punch of guard Jordan McRae and forward Jarnell Stokes to the floor, and their games mesh to force opponents to guard a full 94 feet. McRae is a slasher who also can drain the long three-pointer, and his ability to get to the line takes its toll. Stokes is more of a banger inside, and he averaged a double-double this year by working harder than most. Jeronne Maymon balances the floor and helps on the glass without trying to do too much with the basketball. Inconsistency beyond the top three has been an issue this year, but the Vols are tough when focused.
Strengths: Rebounding, Blocked Shots, Scoring Defense
Weaknesses: Steals, Scoring, Shooting
How Far Will They Go?: They could sneak their way into the second weekend if everything breaks right on offense, or they could get bounced right away by a woeful Iowa team. Expect the latter.