Head Coach: Bruce Pearl
Seed: No. 2 East Region
Tennessee is 0-4 in regional semifinal games; Rick Pitino is 7-0. The Vols are led by Chris Lofton, who averages 15.5 points. A dangerous three-point shooter, Lofton struggled with his outside shooting in the first two round of the NCAA Tournament, failing to reach double-figures against both American and Butler.
The Vols use a three-guard lineup and like to pressure full court on defense and fire away from the perimeter on offense. 6-2 guard JaJuan Smith is UT's other big perimeter gun. He's averaging 17.8 points over the past games, while making 19-43 three's. While Lofton and Smith are dangerous scorers, UT has struggled with their point guard play recently, so much so that Bruce Pearl inserted 6-6 J.P. Prince into the starting lineup, instead of Ramar Smith, at the point for the first time all season in the NCAA first round. But that experiment didn't quite pan out, as Prince had six turnovers against Butler and was benched during the overtime session. UT committed 20 turnovers in their win over Butler.
Inside, the Vols rely on 6'9 Wayne Chism and 6'7 Tyler Smith. Smith, an athletic slashing forward, averages 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds, while Chism adds nearly 10 and 6 per game. 6'7 Duke Crews is the Vols top front court reserve.
Despite the talents of Chism, Crews and Smith, Tennessee is a perimeter-oriented team. The Vols average 9 three's per game (22nd nationally), 18 assists (4th nationally) and score 83 points per contest (5th nationally). Lofton, a second-team All-American, ranks third in NCAA history in career three-pointers made.
The Vols have been well tested this season, having played one of the nation's toughest schedules. UT is 3-2 against teams seeded 1-4 in the NCAA Tournament, having defeated No. 1 Memphis, No. 3 Xavier and split two games against No. 4 Vanderbilt. UT lost to No. 2 Texas.
Keys to the Game
Protect the basketball: Tennessee forces 18 turnovers a game, and averages 9.2 steals. Louisville will need to do a good taking care of the basketball and limiting silly mistakes and turnovers as the Vols are averaging nearly 22 points per game this season off turnovers.
Shot Selection: The number one key for Louisville is to take good shots. When the Cardinals don't force the action offensively and avoid taking challenged shots they win. Louisville needs to make Tennessee work defensively.
Pressure D: Tennessee has a tendency to commit turnovers, 20 against Butler. The Vols can get hot from the perimeter and can shoot down teams if Lofton and Smith heat up. Louisville needs to apply pressure on the Volunteers suspect ball-handlers and get out on Tennessee's perimeter shooters. Louisville can't forget this fact either, Lofton' range knows no bounds. He will fire at will and can drain 3's from way downtown.
The Series – Louisville vs. Tennessee
Sweet 16: Breaking down Tennessee
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