top of page


By: Dallas Bowlin

Senior Staff Writer/Editor/Host

The All Vol Call In Show

As the NCAA Tournament progresses to its final stages, the Tennessee Volunteers emerge as one of the remaining eight teams. The last time the vibrant Pantone PMS 151 graced the Elite Eight stage was on March 28th, 2010, when the Volunteers fell short of reaching the program's first Final Four, facing the Michigan State Spartans. This Easter Sunday presents an opportunity for the Vols to rectify past disappointments against a familiar opponent, the Purdue Boilermakers.

Typically, these "scouting reports" don't hone in on one singular player, but rather on the opponent as a whole. However, it would be remiss of me not to take a moment to discuss how Tennessee can both defend and attack Zach Edey, Purdue's seven-foot-four anchor on both ends of the court.

In the initial matchup between these two squads, Purdue clinched a 71-67 victory. Zach Edey showcased his prowess, tallying 23 points on seven of ten shooting from the field and an impressive nine of 17 from the free-throw line. The Volunteers, though, managed to limit Edey to 10 rebounds, a feat worthy of recognition considering Edey's dominance on the boards.

Tennessee's optimal defensive strategy against Edey is relatively straightforward: maintain a defensive presence between him and the rim. By restricting his clean looks at the basket and employing guards to “dig down” and interrupt his ball handling, Tennessee can potentially limit Edey's impact. However, caution must be exercised as leaving Purdue's guards unattended poses its risks, given their three-point proficiency this season.

Offensively, the Vols must attempt to draw Edey out of the paint. This means playing around the free-throw line/ free-throw line extended, with players like Aidoo and Awaka, with Aidoo potentially even attempting shots from beyond the arc. Creating space in the paint opens up driving opportunities for players like Knecht and Zeigler.

Turning to the broader team dynamics, in their previous encounter, the Boilermakers attempted a staggering 48 free throws. To advance, Tennessee must find a way to defend without fouling. According to EvanMiya's Key Metrics Report, Purdue's success correlates significantly with their ability to minimize fouls. When Purdue commits fewer than 16 fouls and their opponent fouls 19 times or more, they boast an impressive record of 16-1 for the season.

Moreover, Purdue's proficiency from beyond the arc warrants attention. When at least 35.4% of their shots come from three-point range, the Boilermakers boast a formidable record of 17-1. Limiting their three-point attempts could prove advantageous for Tennessee.

Additionally, controlling the pace of the game is crucial when facing Purdue. While they typically favor a slower tempo, Purdue has demonstrated better performance in games with a faster pace. Their record stands at 17-2 when there are at least 69 possessions, compared to 15-2 when possessions are fewer.

Strategically, forcing Purdue into mid-range shots could disrupt their offensive flow. They shoot 37.6% from mid-range, just one percent above the Division I average.

Despite the predictions of EvanMiya's Matchup Predictor, which has Tennessee falling short in a 75-71 outcome, it's worth considering Tobe Awaka's  "starving dogs fight better” Quote.  With determination and execution, the Volunteers are more than capable of upsetting the odds.

Photo | Tennessee Athletics

Graphic | Dallas Bowlin

Stats | CBBAnayltics, EvanMiya, and ESPN.


bottom of page