2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: No. 6 UMass Minutemen vs. No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers

By Taylor Sturm
Tennessee Iowa
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers trailed for almost 75 percent of their First Four game with the Iowa Hawkeyes in Dayton, Ohio, but prevailed in overtime 78-65. By winning against the Hawkeyes, the Vols will move on to face the No. 6 seeded UMass Minutemen on Mar. 21 in Raleigh, NC.

UMass finished the regular season in disappointing fashion after starting 16-1. Chaz Williams, who has averaged over 15 points per game in the last three seasons, leads this team in scoring, but the real workhorse is the team’s second leading scorer and top rebounder, Cady Lalanne. The Minutemen fell to the George Washington Colonials in the Atlantic 10 tournament and will be looking for redemption in their opening round 2014 NCAA Tournament game.

What to Watch For

The game between the Minutemen and the Volunteers will come down to whoever can win the match-up between Lalanne and Jarnell Stokes. Stokes is an elite college basketball player who will have a lot of success against UMass because of his size. Expect a very physical game that might come down to how well both teams shoot the three ball.

Prediction

UMass is a good team, but I don’t think there’s a hotter team in college basketball right now than Tennessee. With the threat of Jordan McRae and one of the best defenders in college basketball in Josh Richardson, the Minutemen are going to struggle to get into a rhythm. If the Vols can hit a couple threes early, they should easily advance to the round of 32.

Tennessee 68, UMass 60

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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