Iowa-TN Preview

Iowa end a seven-year NCAA Tournament drought Wednesday when it takes on Tennessee on Dayton. Hawkeye Insider takes you inside the match-up and lets you know what to expect.

What: 11-seeds Iowa and Tennessee meet in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

When, Where: Tip-off is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. central time Wednesday at the University of Dayton (Ohio) Arena.

TV: TruTV.

Stakes: The winner advances to Friday's second round where it will meet sixth-seeded UMass in Raleigh, NC. The loser's season ends.

Records, Rankings: The Hawkeyes are 20-12 overall after a 9-9 regular season in the Big Ten. Tennessee brings a 21-12 mark into the action following an 11-7 SEC campaign. Neither team is ranked.

Last Time Out: Iowa dropped a 67-62 decision to underdog Northwestern in the first-round of the Big Ten Tournament last Thursday. No. 1 overall seed, Florida, knocked off the Volunteers, 56-49, Saturday in the SEC Tournament semifinals.

Previous Meetings: Iowa holds a 2-1 lead with Tennessee winning the last matchup, 80-68, in December of 2000.

Betting Line: Tennessee opened as a three-point choice in some locations. The game had moved to a pick'em, or the Hawkeyes one-point favorites, as of Tuesday morning.

Tennessee Notes:

-The Vols won five games in a row before falling to Florida in their conference tournament semifinals.

-Tennessee's last four opponents have averaged 47.4 points per game.

-CBSsports.com ranks the Vols schedule as the 20th hardest in the nation.

-Tennessee played nine games against 2014 NCAA Tournament teams. It owns a 2-7 record in those contests with wins against Virginia and Xavier.

-The Vols rank 18th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.7).

-Tennessee junior Jarnell Stokes has recorded 37 double-doubles (19 this season) in 83 career games.

-The Vols have held 52 of their last 62 opponents under 70 points.

-Three Tennessee players have NCAA Tournament experience.

Iowa Notes:

-The Hawkeyes have won 20 games in back to back seasons for the first time since '04-05 and '05-06.

-Fran McCaffery is one of only 12 coaches to lead four different programs to the NCAA Tournament.

-Iowa posted a 4-8 record in 12 games against eight teams that are in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Among the NCAA teams, Iowa was 1-0 against Nebraska and Xavier, 1-1 vs. Michigan and Ohio State, 0-1 vs. Iowa State and Villanova and 0-2 vs. Michigan State and Wisconsin.

-Fran McCaffery coached against Tennessee in 2008 when he was the coach at Siena. McCaffery's Siena Saints lost, 78-64, to Tennessee in the first round of the Old Spice Classic in Florida.

-Iowa and Tennessee played two common opponents this year. Iowa defeated Xavier (77-74 in overtime) and UTEP (89-53) in the Bahamas. Tennessee lost to UTEP (78-70) and split two meetings with Xavier. The Volunteers lost to the Muskateers (67-63) in the season opener in Cincinnati, but beat Xavier (64-49) in the Bahamas at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

-Iowa has previously played 15 of the other 18 teams in the Midwest Bracket, but has never played Manhattan, Massachusetts or Wofford.

-No current Hawkeye player has played in the NCAA Tournament.

-Iowa is participating in the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd time. The Hawkeyes hold an overall record of 27-24 in the tournament. Iowa has advanced to at least the Round of 32 in 10 of its last 12 tournament appearances.

-Iowa has nearly made (647) more free throws than its opponents have attempted (656).

The Skinny: It's a classic contrast of styles when Iowa meets Tennessee on Wednesday night. The Hawkeyes are averaging 82.0 points per game this season while the Volunteers are giving up just 61.1.

Iowa has struggled against teams wanting to play in the half-court through much of a stretch that has seen it lose six of its last seven games. It's at its best in transition.

Tennessee's opponents have shot just 40.8 percent from the floor this season. The Volunteers average 4.8 blocked shots a contest and protect the paint well.

Iowa should strive for dribble penetration to loosen the Vol defense. The Hawkeyes may need to hit mid-range shots and buckets from behind the arc, however, rather than forcing it into the teeth of a strong Tennessee team at the rim.

On the other end, the Vols feature slashers and interior players that like to get all the way to the basket. Much like Iowa, they'd rather not rely on questionable outside shooting. They're shooting 33.6 percent (189-563) from three-point land.

Prediction: I'm going to be tired driving from Iowa City to Dayton Wednesday morning and then having to cover a late game that night.

Oh, you wanted my thoughts on the game. Sorry.

Let's see. Iowa has lost six of seven games while Tennessee has won five of six with the only loss coming by seven points to No. 1 Florida. That doesn't bode well for the Hawkeyes…on the surface.

If you dig deeper into the Vols' recent success, you'll find that the five wins came against teams that missed the NCAA Tournament. In addition, the shaky SEC sent just three programs to The Dance. It's also a unit that lost twice to Texas A&M and in the Battle for Atlantis to a UTEP squad Iowa destroyed in that event.

The Hawkeyes have a real good chance to advance in the field for the first time since beating Creighton in '01. I think they will.

Score: Iowa 65, Tennessee 61


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