Tennessee vs. Purdue: Picks, predictions for March Madness Sweet 16 matchup

first_imgSN’s MARCH MADNESS HQLive NCAA bracket | Live scoreboard | Full TV schedule​Here is more on what should be a thrilling Sweet 16 matchup between two schools trying to break through.   No. 2 Tennessee  Coach: Rick Barnes (32 years, four at Tennessee)Overall record: 31-5 Scoring leader: Grant Williams (18.8 ppg)Rebounding leader: Williams (7.5 rpg)Assists leader: Jordan Bone (5.9 rpg)Famous non-athlete alum: Logan Marshall-GreenNo. 3 Purdue  Coach: Matt Painter (15 years, 14 at Purdue) Overall record: 25-9  Scoring leader: Carsen Edwards (23.6 ppg)Rebounding leader: Nojel Eastern (5.6 rpg)Assists leader: Ryan Cline (3.4 apg)Famous non-athlete alum: Herman CainBest individual matchup Nojel Eastern vs. Admiral Schofield. At least we think this is going to be the matchup. Both teams have some choices in the back court. Who will the Vols put on Edwards? Will Schofield see any time on the Purdue guard? The matchup that could materialize here is between Eastern, Purdue’s leading rebounder, and Schofield, who can pull defenders out with the 3-point shot.MORE SWEET 16 PREVIEWSUNC-AUB | UK-UH | MSU-LSU | ZAGS-FSU | UVA-UO | | UM-TT | DUKE-VTMost eye-popping stat 19.32. That’s how many shots per game Edwards takes for Purdue. He’s going to get his shots, and he averaged 34 points per game on the first weekend of the tournament.  Tennessee wins if …  They put a full game together. The Vols gave back a 25-point lead against Iowa, and that can’t happen against a better Big Ten team. Colgate and Iowa combined to shoot 22 of 50 behind the arc against Tennessee, and the Vols managed to hold off big second-half comebacks. Grant Williams will have to stay out of foul trouble, too.   No. 2-seed Tennessee meets 3-seed Purdue in the South Region semifinal on Thursday in Louisville. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:29 p.m. ET.Tennessee is seeking its first Final Four appearance in school history. The Volunteers made their only Elite Eight appearance in 2010. Purdue, meanwhile, is trying to break a string of five Sweet 16 losses under coach Matt Painter. The Boilermakers have not reached the Final Four since 1980. Purdue wins if …  They get enough help around Edwards. Cline will have chances to knock down 3s, and 7-3 center Matt Haarms shot 72 percent from the field in the first weekend. Purdue was clicking at every level against Villanova, and they can slow down Tennessee like Iowa did in the second half.MORE: Ranking Sweet 16 teams’ chances of winning it allSweet 16 pick Tennessee. It will be another nail-biter for Vols fans, but the wild weekend in Columbus will galvanize this team. Tennessee survives another fantastic performance from Edwards to advance to the Elite Eight.last_img read more