March Madness: Tennessee Takes Down Duke

March Madness: Tennessee Takes Down Duke

Duke comes into their second-round matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers as one of the hottest teams in the country. They rolled into the ACC tournament and dominated their first-round opponent, Oral Roberts. But Tennessee took an early lead and never looked back.

Volunteers Get Warm, Stay Warm From the Deep

Tennessee, the East’s fourth seed, delivered a dominant performance in its second-round matchup against Duke in the NCAA tournament. The Volunteers showed a ferocious defensive effort, limited the young Blue Devils’ offensive opportunities, and outplayed them on the boards. Tennessee also had an impressive shooting night, making 42.9% of their three-point attempts en route to a 65-52 victory in Orlando.

While Duke was seventh in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, they made just six of their missed shots, further highlighting the Volunteers’ dominance in the paint.

Despite a slow start on the offensive end, Tennessee took control of the game with a 14-2 run to close the first half. Duke had several chances to take the lead, but the Vols always seemed to have an answer. Playing without point guard Zakai Zeigler for the fifth straight game, Tennessee got critical contributions from Olivier Nkamhoua and Santiago Vescovi, particularly in the second half. Nkamhoua, a senior from Finland, had a standout game, tying his career-high with 27 points. He scored 17 of Tennessee’s final 19 points, and all but four of his points came in the second half.

The win marks Tennessee’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2019. The Vols will face the winner of the second-round game between No. 9 Florida Atlantic and No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson, which will take place on Sunday.

The End of John Scheyer’s First Season At Duke

Jon Scheyer, Duke’s current head coach in his first season at the helm, is a former Duke player and assistant coach who succeeded the legendary Mike Krzyzewski after his retirement. Krzyzewski set a very high standard with five national championships and four other Final Fours, leaving Scheyer with big shoes to fill.

Scheyer’s first year as head coach was a mixed bag, as the team battled injuries throughout the season. Despite some bumps in the road, the Blue Devils finished the season strong by winning the ACC tournament and entered the NCAA Tournament on a roll and with some high expectations.

With a 10-game winning streak entering their second-round NCAA tournament game against Tennessee, Duke looks poised for a deep run. However, they faced a Tennessee team that proved too physically dominant. With a limited rotation, Duke needs more offense to keep up with the Volunteers.

With the season over, Scheyer and his coaching staff will now focus on building the roster for next season. Despite potentially losing some of their current freshmen to the NBA, Duke has a strong incoming recruiting class, ensuring the team will not be short on talent. Duke will undoubtedly look different next season, but the program’s history and success under Krzyzewski and the bright future with Scheyer at the helm will certainly keep the Blue Devils a force to be reckoned with in college basketball.