The drama that’s mostly been missing from the 2019 NCAA Tournament may arrive on Saturday when #3 Purdue Boilermakers (23-8) take on the #2 Tennessee Volunteers (27-4) at KFC Yum! Center in the Sweet 16. The Volunteers opened as narrow 1-point favorites with tip set for 7:29 pm ET.
Purdue Boilermakers Preview
Purdue has cruised through the first two rounds of the tournament completely untested. They rolled an overmatched Old Dominion (61-48) in round one and then obliterated defending champion Villanova (87-61) behind an exquisite 42-point, 6-rebound performance from leading scorer Carsen Edwards.
Edwards went 12/21 from the field, including a seething 9/16 (56.3%) from three. He’s been an effective scorer all year, but has never been that good from deep, shooting just 34.6% from beyond the arc on the season.
That’s not to say the Boilermakers aren’t an effective three-point shooting team, overall. They connect at a solid 37-percent from the three-point line (70th), while averaging 76 PPG (88th) and ranking 5th in offensive efficiency.
Unfortunately, the Purdue defense is not as strong, sitting 26th in efficiency, 114th in defensive rating, and giving up 67 PPG (52nd in the country). For the year, opponents are shooting 42-percent from the field.
The defense will need to be at its best on Saturday facing a Tennessee team that can score points in bunches.
Purdue vs Tennessee Statistical Comparison
|25-9 (4-3 neutral)||Record||31-5 (6-2 neutral)|
|+26.94 (9th)||Overall Efficiency Rating||+26.38 (10th)|
|121.3 (5th)||Offensive Efficiency Rating||122.3 (3rd)|
|94.4 (26th)||Defensive Efficiency Rating||95.9 (33rd)|
|61-48 vs #14 Old Dominion||Round 1 Result||77-70 vs #15 Colgate|
|87-61 vs #6 Villanova||Round 2 Result||83-77 vs #10 Iowa|
Tennessee Volunteers Preview
The Boilermakers will be facing a Tennessee bunch that is elite offensively, currently 8th in offensive rating and 3rd in offensive efficiency. That’s led to the Volunteers scoring 82 points a night, 18th overall, led by All American Grant Williams, who’s averaged nearly 19 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while connecting at an elite 56.5% from the floor.
Like Purdue, the Volunteers aren’t quite as good defensively, but they aren’t terrible, ranked 42nd in defensive rating and 33rd in defensive efficiency while surrendering 68 PPG.
The Volunteers are 37th overall in total rebounding, grabbing 35 RPG. But they haven’t exactly dominated the glass so far against two teams they really should have been able to outmuscle down low. They edged Iowa 35-33 on the boards, and held a 35-31 rebounding advantage over Colgate.
They have also been alarmingly bad at defending the three-point line so far, which led both games to be much closer than they should have been. Iowa and Colgate shot a combined 22/50 from three (44%).
Tennessee looked to have both of its first two games in hand early. They led overmatched Colgate by as many as 16, yet somehow found themselves trailing 54-52 with just over ten minutes to play.
The story arc was even wilder against Iowa. The Vols were up 44-19 at one point, yet needed OT to edge the Hawkeyes.
Admiral Schofield and Williams led the team in scoring, dropping 19 points in the W. It was the second straight stellar performance for Schofield, who had 20 in round one, while it was a necessary bounce-back for the All-American Williams, after posting just 9 points and 5 rebounds in the first round.
For betting purposes, Tennessee has cashed more often than not, going 18-17-1 ATS. But they are bettered by Purdue on that front, with the Boilermakers going 19-14-1 ATS.
See the latest odds, line movement, and game total prediction for Purdue vs Tennessee in the tables above. Best of luck out there.