The Battle 4 Atlantis will come to a close today in the Bahamas. Villanova and Northern Iowa will play for the championship, while the rest of the field will get a shot to strengthen their NCAA Tournament resumes.
After finishing off their shocking upset of No. 2 Arizona the day before, N.C. State fell to Northern Iowa 64-60. The Wolfpack shot just 33 percent from the field and only 61 percent from the free throw stripe. Those two shortcomings have placed them in the battle for 3rd place against the Tennessee Volunteers.
The Vols looked like they had their contest in control against the 5th ranked Villanova Wildcats, but a ‘Nova surge to open the 2nd period ultimately did Tennessee in.
This is another matchup that will test Tennessee’s defense. N.C. State is averaging 90 points per game to this point. In fact, they hung 90 on Arizona, who most feel will compete for the national title this year.
The Wolfpack are led by guards Allerik Freeman, Torin Dorn and forward Lennard Freeman, who each are averaging over 14 points per game. Omer Yurtseven will present a big time size advantage, standing in at 7-0, 245 pounds. He pulled down 13 rebounds against Northern Iowa.
Even with that being said, the Vols might still have the rebounding advantage here. At least that’s what the numbers tell us. Tennessee is averaging 45 boards per game, while N.C. State checks in with 34. Tennessee’s work on the boards — particularly on the offensive end — has been impressive to this point. The Volunteers added 16 against Villanova and 20 against Purdue. We’ll see if that trend continues.
Tennessee and N.C. State do have a common opponent this year in Presbyterian. The Vols put the Blue Hose away early, never looking back. The Wolfpack actually trailed Presbyterian early in the 2nd half before pulling away late.
These are two teams that should be in the postseason mix, so this game could end up mattering quite a bit come March.
TV: ESPN 2
Tip off: 2:30 est
Radio: Vol Network
Odds: None posted